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12/26/12 - NNHS Newsletter -
Happy Boxing Day!

It's getting bigger and bigger (Boxing Day) because of the gift card
phenomenon. It's a no-brainer as a gift, you just give $50 on a gift
card and then the person can zip out and get what they want.”

- John Winter

Dear Friends and Schoolmates, 

   Let's pretend we all celebrate this day.

BONUS #1 - - Good King Wenceslas - The Irish Rovers

BONUS #2 - - Good King Wenceslas - Choir of Westminster Abbey

BONUS #3 - - Good King Wenceslas - The Skydiggers

BONUS #4 - - Good King Wenceslas - Yorkminster, 1995

BONUS #5 - - Good King Wenceslas - Loreena McKennitt

BONUS #6 - - Good King Wenceslas - Mannheim Steamroller, 1984

BONUS #7 - - Good King Wenceslas - Mormon Tabernacle Choir

HOMEWORK: - How to Celebrate Boxing Day


"Good King Wenceslas" is a popular Christmas carol that tells a story of Good King Wenceslas braving harsh winter weather to give alms to a poor peasant on the Feast of Stephen (the second day of Christmas, December 26). During the journey, his page is about to give up the struggle against the cold weather, but is enabled to continue by following the king's footprints, step for step, through the deep snow. The legend is based on the life of the historical Saint Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia or Svatý Václav in Czech (907–935).

In 1853, English hymnwriter John Mason Neale wrote the "Wenceslas" lyrics, in collaboration with his music editor Thomas Helmore, and the carol first appeared in Carols for Christmas-Tide, 1853.[1][2] Neales' lyrics were set to a tune based on a 13th century spring carol "Tempus adest floridum" ("The time is near for flowering") first published in the 1582 Finnish song collection Piae Cantiones.

Wenceslas was considered a martyr and a saint immediately after his death in the 10th century, when a cult of Wenceslas grew up in Bohemia and in England.[3] Within a few decades of Wenceslas's death four biographies of him were in circulation.[4][5] These hagiographies had a powerful influence on the High Middle Ages conceptualization of the rex justus, or "righteous king"—that is, a monarch whose power stems mainly from his great piety, as well as from his princely vigor.[6]

Referring approvingly to these hagiographies, the chronicler Cosmas of Prague, writing in about the year 1119, states:[7]

But his deeds I think you know better than I could tell you; for, as is read in his Passion, no one doubts that, rising every night from his noble bed, with bare feet and only one chamberlain, he went around to God’s churches and gave alms generously to widows, orphans, those in prison and afflicted by every difficulty, so much so that he was considered, not a prince, but the father of all the wretched.

Several centuries later the legend was claimed as fact by Pope Pius II,[8] who himself also walked ten miles barefoot in the ice and snow as an act of pious thanksgiving.[9]

Although Wenceslas was, during his lifetime, only a duke, Holy Roman Emperor Otto I posthumously "conferred on [Wenceslas] the regal dignity and title" and that is why, in the legend and song, he is referred to as a "king".[10] The usual English spelling of Duke Wenceslas's name, Wenceslaus, is occasionally encountered in later textual variants of the carol, although it was not used by Neale in his version.[11] Wenceslas is not to be confused with King Wenceslaus I of Bohemia (Wenceslaus I Premyslid), who lived more than three centuries later.

The tune is that of "Tempus adest floridum" ("It is time for flowering"), a 13th-century spring carol first published in the Finnish song book Piae Cantiones in 1582. Piae Cantiones is a collection of seventy-four songs compiled by Jaakko Suomalainen, the Protestant headmaster of Turku Cathedral School, and published by Theodoric Petri, a young Catholic printer. The book is a unique document of European songs intended not only for use in church, but also schools, thus making the collection a unique record of secular (as opposed to sacred), children's songs of the late medieval period.[12]

A text beginning substantially the same as the 1582 "Piae" version is also found in the German manuscript collection Carmina Burana as CB 142, where it is substantially more carnal; CB 142 has clerics and virgins playing the "game of Venus" (goddess of love) in the meadows, while in the Piae version they are praising the Lord from the bottom of their hearts.[13][14]

The text of Neale's carol bears no relationship to the words of "Tempus Adest Floridum".[15] In or around 1853, G. J. R. Gordon, Queen Victoria's envoy and minister in Stockholm, gave a rare copy of the 1582 edition of Piae Cantiones to English hymnwriter John Mason Neale, Warden of Sackville College, East Grinstead, Sussex and to the Reverend Thomas Helmore (Vice-Principal of St. Mark's College, Chelsea). The book was entirely unknown in England at that time. Neale translated some of the carols and hymns, and in 1853, he and Helmore published twelve carols in Carols for Christmas-tide (with music from Piae Cantiones). In 1854, they published a dozen more in Carols for Easter-tide and it was in these collections that Neale's original hymn was first published.

John Mason Neale published the carol "Good King Wenceslas" in 1853, although he may have written his carol some time earlier, since he carried on the legend of St. Wenceslas (the basis of this story) in his Deeds of Faith (1849). Neale was known for his devotion to High Church traditions. According to older Czech sources, Neale's lyrics are a translation of a poem by Czech poet Václav Alois Svoboda, written in Czech, German and Latin.[16]

The hymn's lyrics take the form of five eight-line stanzas in four-stress lines. Each stanza has an ABABCDCD rhyme scheme with the even-numbered lines ending in two-syllable (so-called "feminine") rhymes. In the musical setting the usually unstressed final syllables in these two-syllable rhymes (e.g. Stephen/even) are prolonged as two half-notes (British "minims") bulking each of these lines out to the requisite four stresses. Musically speaking, each line comprises two 4/4 measures.

Neale's words are now in the public domain.[17]* MIDI recording of the melody "Tempus Adest Floridum".

Academics tend to be critical of Neale's textual substitution. H. J. L. J. Massé wrote in 1921:

Why, for instance, do we tolerate such impositions as "Good King Wenceslas?" The original was and is an Easter is marked in carol books as "traditional", a delightful word which often conceals ignorance. There is nothing traditional in it as a carol.[18]

A similar sentiment is expressed by the editors (Percy Dearmer, Martin Shaw and Ralph Vaughan Williams) in the 1928 Oxford Book of Carols, which is even more critical of Neale's carol.[19]

This rather confused narrative owes its popularity to the delightful tune, which is that of a Spring carol...Unfortunately Neale in 1853 substituted for the Spring carol this Good King Wenceslas, one of his less happy pieces, which E. Duncan goes so far as to call "doggerel", and Bullen condemns as "poor and commonplace to the last degree". The time has not yet come for a comprehensive book to discard it; but we reprint the tune in its proper setting...not without hope that, with the present wealth of carols for Christmas, Good King Wenceslas may gradually pass into disuse, and the tune be restored to spring-time.[19]

Elizabeth Poston, in the Penguin Book of Christmas Carols, referred to it as the "product of an unnatural marriage between Victorian whimsy and the thirteenth-century dance carol". She goes on to detail how Neale's "ponderous moral doggerel" does not fit the light-hearted dance measure of the original tune, and that if performed in the correct manner "sounds ridiculous to pseudo-religious words"......[20]

   This is far more history than I usually print, but I got such a kick out of it!  Back in 1952,              my mama, the late Maxine Frix Buckley (John Marshall HS - '25) (19 May 1908 - 15 Feb 1999)  gave        my sister, Eleanor (Buckley Nowitzky - '59 - of NC) and me a large pamphlet of Christmas carols, which we both loved. (No, we don't still own it, but I was able to locate one on eBay which has the same inner pages, albeit with a different cover.) This carol was included in it, and I really liked it. Mama apparently did not like this song any more than the above mentioned Ms. Poston did, though for a different reason.  As far as I could ever learn, her main objection to it was the double octave jump in the last three notes - the very thing I thought was so super exciting!

   Similarly she had some aversion to "Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella" which we both adored - no reason, just her policy!  She was the coolest!

   Hey, maybe she would have preferred this version: - Good King Wenceslas - Horrible Histories


    Happy Birthday tomorrow to   Anita Morgan Becker ('66) of VA!

   Happy Birthday this week to:

29 - Roy Tate ('57);

30 -  William Gwynn ('57) AND   Ron Miller ('59) of NC AND (if Plaxo is to be believed)   Carole Althaus Tanenhaus ('65) of MD AND   Joyce Tedder Rossman ('68) of PA AND   Sarah Sarah Stewart Vance ('69) of VA;

31 - Pat Floyd Pride ('62) of VA AND     Susie Overton Jones ('63) of VA AND (again, if Plaxo is to be believed)   David Rosenwasser ('64) of MO;

01 - Gloria Hand Burns ('57) AND   Bill Fitzgerald ('58) of VA!

   Many Happy Returns to You All! 


December 26, 1943 - The German warship Scharnhorst was sunk off of Norway's North Cape after a battle against major Royal Navy forces.

December 26, 1944 - George S. Patton's Third Army broke the encirclement of surrounded U.S. forces at Bastogne, Belgium.


Wednesday, December 26, 1962 - Another boring day in the life of the world, I suppose.....

    From Norm Covert ('61) of MD - 12/25/12 - "DISPATCHES FROM JERUSALEM: Child Eclipses the Star":


Posted: 24 Dec 2012 04:16 PM PST


(Exclusive to The Covert Letter)

Bethlehem Ephrata, Judea, Dec. 25.  – Events in the volatile Middle East took a dramatic turn yesterday. Thousands were near panic, demanding the government provide assurance they were in no danger from a spectacular comet. It appeared to hover above this West Bank town, southwest of Jerusalem.

The event muted recent turmoil in Egypt, Libya and Syria, where the comet also was visible.

Residents sneak look at baby Jesus and Mother Mary in hotel stable, Bethlehem. (Blackhawk Films Lantern Slide)

Media attention also focused on a stable at a two-star hotel near midtown. A child born there last night has become an immediate sensation.

The child, born to newly arrived travelers, has attracted throngs as well as skeptical reports from the Hebrew leadership, who reject a notion that the child fulfils early prophecy.

Reports from Herod the Great’s palace indicate he is fearful that the predictions of the Prophet Micah are about to become reality.  Hebrew scripture quotes Micah as saying a child will be born and “go forth from Me (Jehovah) to be ruler of Israel.”

Herod is said to have summoned key members of a Persian caravan, who arrived in the area recently, to use their influence to determine where this child was to be born. Herod’s press secretary, however, would not confirm the meeting.

Pundits say circumstances of the child’s birth coincide with Holy Writ. Such a Messiah would threaten Herod’s already shaky leadership and influence among the Jewish community. He was designated King of the Jews by Caesar, but has quarreled with the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem.

The city has been intrigued by arrival of the large caravan from settlements on the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers near Baghdad, Iraq. Their astrologers had predicted appearance of the star and embarked on the pilgrimage several weeks ago to find it, we are told.

“Usually such a phenomenon in the heavens is an omen,” said one astronomer. “It is either a comet or the rare convergence of the planets Venus and Saturn.”

Three members of the contingent arrived at the hotel, saying they were stunned when the star appeared as a beacon on their route of travel.

A report from an Oriental astronomer said the star was visible in the entire hemisphere. He called it a comet, a “sui-hsing,” a star with a sweeping tail seen in the celestial Capricorn region.

Magi follow the spectacular star to Bethlehem. (Blackhawk Films, Lantern Slide)

The child, born to parents with roots here, has captured the attention of the predominantly Hebrew community, some of which have ascribed the boy as having a “God-like” aura. Crowds continue to swell outside the hotel’s adjoining stable, bringing presents and food, scrambling for a look at the child and his parents.

Reporters interviewed a group of shepherds, who arrived overnight and were permitted to meet the parents and see the child.

“We are thrilled to be here,” said one, “and surprised that we found ourselves smitten by the child.

“Everything we heard in our pasture seems true,” he continued. “We had settled the flock for the night when a flash of light appeared.”

The teenage shepherd identified the apparition as “glowing.”

“He kept telling us not to be afraid, but that wasn’t easy. I had heard about Angels at Synagogue…I’ve never seen anything to equal it.

“He told us to come here – we could see the star – and said the child came from God and would save the world. We heard voices saying there would be peace on earth and ‘God is Glorious….’”

Fire and rescue officials confirm a mid-wife was called

Shepherds startled by Angel appear above their camp, saying, “Fear not, I bring you tidings of Great Joy…” sending them to Bethlehem to see the child Jesus. (Blackhawk FIlms Lantern Slide)

to the stable last night. It was assumed she assisted in the birth. Concern was expressed that the child might be vulnerable to infection because of the animals and barn environment.

According to the hotel manager, the apparently healthy child was wrapped in clean hotel linen. He was placed in a feeding trough filled with clean straw in an attempt to minimize the threat of contamination.

The manager identified the couple as Joseph-bar-Jacob and Mary of Nazareth. The hotel was full when they arrived after a nearly five-day journey. Nazareth is located in Galilee some 80 miles north, but part of the Syrian prefect, which includes Judea to the Sinai adjacent to Egypt.

The manager’s concern for Mary, who was apparently at full term, led him to offer a portion of the stable for the night.

“I could tell she was in great distress, but I was at a loss what to do because the hotel is full. Many rooms are occupied with travelers willing to share just to have a bed.

“A corner of the stable was cleaned, a makeshift bed made and their donkey shared a large stall,” he continued. “We made them as comfortable as we could.”

They will be allowed to stay until mother and child are permitted to travel again.

The town is jammed with returning natives, come to comply with the newest census order of all cities and towns.

The census demand by Caesar Augustus has the region in an uproar, local travel experts say. Citizens must return to their ancestral homes to verify familial links and comply with taxation decrees.  It is the second such census of Caesar Augustus’ reign.

Rome continues to dominate this area giving local authority to King Herod, whose Hebrew culture offsets the nomadic lifestyle of tribal Arabs. The government is yet to comment on today’s news.

Joseph, who owns a carpentry shop in Nazareth, was quoted saying he was pleased to be in Bethlehem, his childhood home. He said it was an unexpectedly difficult journey.

“We were forced to take a broad detour east to the Jordan River, then south to avoid the dangerous roads in Samaria. We were able to join briefly with some caravans, but mostly stayed to ourselves, stopping only to eat and rest. I was aware that roving gangs might rob us.”

The Persian caravan included hundreds of astrologers and religious zealots, whose beliefs are based on gods with celestial origin. Known as Magi, these men wield significant influence in their world, experts say.

Another view of Magi seeing star shining over Bethlehem. (Blackhawk Films, Lantern Slide)

A spokesman for the Magi said a delegation had been sent to a small hotel where the child was born.

“We believe this child is an omen from the Gods and have arranged for gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to be delivered. We are honored to have been able to meet them.”

The brilliant star appears to be a comet or something similar, they said. It is described as probable fulfillment of prophecy that a spectacular event in the heavens would dramatically alter the world. They cite the expected birth of “One” who will be known as the Messiah.

It is believed the Magi were commissioned by King Herod to identify the location where this “Messiah” is to be born and to report to the Palace when they know. The Persians are believed to be more interested in the phenomenon of the Star than any threats to Herod posed by the child.

 “We are not prepared to give any more public credence to the child’s birth than that which has already been applied to him. We understand the parents will call him Jesus and we don’t reject the notion that he may be the One described in ancient prophecy.

“We have no plans to report back to Herod and have advised the family to leave as soon as practicable for the protection of the child.

 “We will continue to study the Star and expect it to have a huge influence on the future. Other than that we will return home soon. —©2012 Norman M. Covert

   Thank you so much, Norm!

      From Dimples Dinwiddie Prichard ('58) of NC - 12/25/12 - "RE: Adventure with Grandma: Something She Needed":


Thanks for printing my story, have already received at least one compliment ! You are such a sweetheart !


     Thank you again for sharing it with us, Dimples - it's such a charming story !

    From Richard Dawes (NNHS / HHS - '62) of VA - 12/25/12 - "end of the world":

  Ok, Everybody out of the Bunkers

Thanks, Dicky!

     From Me ('65) of NC - 12/25/12:

  An honest man was being tailgated by a stressed out woman on a busy boulevard. Suddenly, the light turned yellow just in front of him. He did the right thing, stopping at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection.

The tailgating woman hit the roof, and the horn, screaming in frustration as she missed her chance to get through the intersection.

As she was still in mid-rant, she heard a tap on her window and looked up into the face of a very serious police officer. The officer ordered her to exit her car with her hands up. He took her to the police station where she was searched, finger-printed, and photographed, and then placed in a holding cell.

After a couple of hours, a policeman approached the cell and opened the door. She was escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer was waiting with her personal effects.

He said, "I'm very sorry for this mistake. You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping off the guy in front of you, and cussing a blue streak at him. I noticed the 'Choose Life' license plate holder, the 'What Would Jesus Do?' bumper sticker, the 'Follow Me to Sunday School' bumper sticker, and the chrome-plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk. Naturally, I assumed you had stolen the car!"


"At this joyous season, may personal discords be forgotten and animosities healed. May enjoyment of the season include remembrance of the needy and afflicted. May our forgiveness reach out to those who have wronged us, even as we hope to be forgiven. May goodness abound in our hearts and love prevail in our homes."

-    Thomas S. Monson (b. 21 Aug 1927)

BONUS CROCHET PATTERNS: - Cat's Ladybug, Beret and Scarf Set - "This is one of the cutest designs you will ever see. With this free crochet pattern you can make a matching crochet ladybug beret and scarf set. 8 ply yarn is used for the cutest look ever." - Cat's Crocodile Stitch Adult Hat - Cari Clement's Colorful Paolo Purse - "This is an easy free crochet bag pattern that you will love to have for yourself. Double crochet and single crochet is used for this pattern. It can hold your hooks or other small items."

BONUS RECIPES: - Crowd Pleasing Vegetable Casserole - "Finding good pot luck recipes for a crowd is a difficult task, especially when you are dealing with picky eaters. With Crowd-Pleasing Vegetable Casserole you'll impress everyone, both kids and adults. You can use your favorite frozen vegetable mix to suit your friends' and family's tastes. Creamy and delicious, it will become a party favorite. Bring it to your next pot luck and watch as it is the first to be eaten." - Better Than Anything Scotcheroos - "Scotcheroos, if you aren't familiar, are like a cousin of the more famous Rice Krispy Treat. Made with chocolate, peanut butter and butterscotch, this recipe for Better Than Anything Scotcheroos is positively addictive. Once you take a bite of this indulgent dessert, you'll find it hard not to have a second or a third piece. That's how you know you've found one of the best dessert bar recipes out there... you just can't stop eating them!" - No Bake Hillbilly Scotcheroos - "No bake cookie recipes are great when you need something for dessert and fast. No Bake Hillbilly Scotheroos are a quick-fix treat that are ready in minutes and also budget friendly. It doesn't get much better than that. Made with chocolate and peanut butter, every bite is absolutely incredible. Share these at your next party and impress all of your guests."

   From Bill Hobbs ('66) of Northern VA AND       From Wayne Stokes ('65) of VA - 12/04/12 - "Live Like Someone Left the Gate Open (#22 in a Series of 23)":

   MORE AWW! How sweet - thank you, Gentlemen!



From - 12/21/12:  
A women’s lib speaker was addressing a large group and said, “Where would man be today if it were not for woman?”

She paused a moment and looked around the room. “I repeat, where would man be today if it were not for woman?”

From the back of the room came a voice, “He’d be in the Garden of Eden eating strawberries.”


1. Thursday, January 3, 2013 - The NNHS Class of 1955 holds Lunch Bunch gatherings on the first Thursday of every month at Steve & John's Steak House on Jefferson Avenue just above Denbigh Boulevard in Newport News at 11:00 AM. The luncheon is not limited to just the Class of '55; if you have friends in that year, go visit with them.

3. Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - The NNHS Class of June 1942 meets at noon on the second Wednesday of every other month for a Dutch treat lunch at the James River Country Club, 1500 Country Club Road. PLEASE JOIN THEM. Give or take a few years makes no difference. Good conversation, food and atmosphere. For details, call Jennings Bryan at 803-7701 for reservations. 

PRAYER ROLL: - updated 12/17/12

BLOG: - updated 03/13/11

Y'all take care of each other!  TYPHOONS FOREVER!  We'll Always Have Buckroe!

                                 Love to all, Carol





Please find a few minutes of your busy schedule to support

Thank you so much!

Carol Buckley Harty
7020 Lure Court
Fayetteville, NC 28311-9309


1. Visit the main page (, scroll halfway down, and click on the Pay Pal Donate Button (;

2. Go to, log in, select "Send Money (Services) to; or

3. Just mail it directly to my home. Thanks!    

Good King Wenceslas

Words by John Mason Neale (24 Jan 1818 - 06 Aug 1866), 1853

Music - Scandinavian, from Piae Cantiones, 1582

Good King Wenceslas looked out
On the feast of Stephen
When the snow lay round about
Deep and crisp and even
Brightly shone the moon that night
Though the frost was cruel
When a poor man came in sight
Gath'ring winter fuel

"Hither, page, and stand by me
If thou know'st it, telling
Yonder peasant, who is he?
Where and what his dwelling?"
"Sire, he lives a good league hence
Underneath the mountain
Right against the forest fence
By Saint Agnes' fountain."

"Bring me flesh and bring me wine
Bring me pine logs hither
Thou and I will see him dine
When we bear him thither."
Page and monarch forth they went
Forth they went together
Through the rude wind's wild lament
And the bitter weather

"Sire, the night is darker now
And the wind blows stronger
Fails my heart, I know not how,
I can go no longer."
"Mark my footsteps, my good page
Tread thou in them boldly
Thou shalt find the winter's rage
Freeze thy blood less coldly."

In his master's steps he trod
Where the snow lay dinted
Heat was in the very sod
Which the Saint had printed
Therefore, Christian men, be sure
Wealth or rank possessing
Ye who now will bless the poor
Shall yourselves find blessing

"Good King Wenceslas" midi courtesy of - 12/26/09

"Good King Wenceslas" lyrics courtesy of - 12/26/09

"Happy Boxing Day" Title Image courtesy of - 12/26/09

Red Leaf Divider Line clip art courtesy of - 11/14/05

John Marshall High School's Justice Scale clip art courtesy of Cheryl White Wilson (JMHS - '64) of VA - 10/13/05 (replaced 02/23/09)
Thanks, Cheryl!

Laughing Jester Smiley clip art courtesy of Bill Hobbs ('66) of Northern VA - 10/06/09
Thanks, Bill!

Animated Tiny Birthday Cake clip art courtesy of Sarah Puckett Kressaty ('65) of VA - 08/31/05
Thanks, Sarah Sugah!

Army Seal clip art courtesy of Al Farber ('64) of GA - 05/24/06 (still missing...)
Thanks, Al!
Replaced by Norm Covert ('61) of MD - 02/09/09
Thanks, Norm!

Marine Corps Seal clip art courtesy of the late Herbert Hice of MI - one of my Famous Marines who served in the South Pacific during WWII.
Thanks again, Herbie!!

Animated Laughing Kitten courtesy of Joyce Lawrence Cahoon of VA - 07/29/08
Thanks, Joyce!

Navy Seal clip art courtesy of - 05/29/06

Back to NNHS Newsletters - 2012

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