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Winter Wonderland: Revealed

As the holidays rapidly approach one has little choice but to be bombarded with endless reminders that it is, in fact, the holiday season. One unfortunate part of this is having to hear Christmas Carols. I actually don't mind Christmas Carols that much on their own. I prefer Christmas Carols recorded before 1980 because after that they all took a steep nose dive and became Casio Keyboard generated schlock. I rather enjoy the velvet soft renditions by people like Dean Martin and Bing Crosby.

One song that I have always liked is the song Winter Wonderland. Maybe it's the fact that it's really just a song about Winter and not Christmas in particular. I enjoy that it's very non-denominational and doesn't mention the baby Jesus in every line that gets me. It just makes me think about Winter time, drinking hot apple cider, frostbite... the things we take for granted.

I'm used to the Dean Martin version but the other day I heard the version by the Carpenters. Something about Karen Carpenter's voice made me pay extra attention to the lyrics and what I heard shocked me. Maybe I'm imagining things but there were certain things that became very clear about the song when hearing it sung by a woman. When Dean Martin sings it I just sit back and enjoy the song but when Karen Carpenter sings it, while doing quite a lovely rendition I might add, the true nature of the song's dark lyrics become evident.

sleigh bells ring
are you listening
in the lane
snow is glistening
a beautiful sight
we're happy tonight
walking in a winter wonderland

It starts out harmlessly enough with this first verse. As long as the snow is glistening naturally and not because of someone urinating on it.

Gone away is the bluebird
here to stay is a new bird
He sings a love song
as we go along
walking in a winter wonderland

I understand that some species of bird have been known to fly south for the winter. What I don't understand is this new bird that is being mentioned. It's a vagueness that cannot be forgiven by a dues-paying member of the Audobon Society such as myself.

In the meadow we can build a snowman
Then pretend that he is Parson Brown

Okay building a snowman is pretty standard winter fare... but who is this Parson Brown? There are many possibilities as I see if from my minimal Google research.

  1. Parson refers to a particular type or shade of the color brown. The fact that no evidence to support this theory came up in my Google search didn't change my mind. It could be.
    Likelihood: 18%

  2. Parson Brown is a person. I imagine Parson Brown being a heart throb from early Hollywood. He isn't. There is no evidence to support this theory either but it would be a lot cooler if there was. Can't you imagine some teenage girls in the 1940's lusting after Parson Brown? They'd have framed 8x10's and they would inhale dreamily as they clutched them to their breast and looking skyward.
    Likelihood: 94%

  3. Parson Brown is a parson whose name is "Brown". Not bloody likely... what kinda Christmas song would that be?
    Likelihood: 1%

  4. Parson Brown is a person whose name is "Parson". Getting warmer.
    Likelihood: 81%

  5. There is a type of orange known as the Parson Brown. It is unlikely that this is what they are referring to. Even though they are just playing a game of "pretend" that's still a stretch of the imagination. Why would you make an entire snowman to pretend that it's an orange when you could do a lot less work making one ball and spray-painting it orange?
    Likelihood: -11%

  6. I hate to admit it but I actually asked Jeeves. He said that Parson Brown was an investment firm. I think he was lying.
    Likelihood: 4%
He'll say: Are you married?
we'll say: No man
But you can do the job
when you're in town

Okay so the snowman is obviously a person now. This is the part that only became weird to me when I heard a woman sing it. The girl in our story is now pretending that the snowman is asking her if she's married. The girl answers, "No man." When she is telling the truth or not it is still fairly creepy. What's even worse is that she continues to say: "But you can do the job when you're in town." Do the job? Yikes. It's hard to not think that this is sexual. The snowman made the first move but this girl's overly flirtatious response is the real shocker. The girl implies that the snowman (Parson Brown) can act like her spouse when he's in town. That means they are going to do the things that a married couple would do (i.e. paying bills, sex, fighting, etc.) when he's in town. Yowser. Golly.

Later on
we'll conspire
as we dream by the fire
To face unafraid
the plans that we've made
walking in a winter wonderland

Now I don't mean to be cynical but this sounds rather devious. Here's what I imagine this to mean:

Parson Brown was married. Things in his marriage weren't going that great and he and his wife were growing distant. This is when he met Karen Carpenter. The two of them fell madly in love and began having an affair with one another. Parson Brown and his wife are naturally very wealthy so Parson does not want to engage in a costly divorce. Instead he and Karen make a plan. They will bump off Parson's wife and make it look accidental. It probably involves drugging her, putting her in a car and then pushing it off a cliff. The thing is that their sordid affair has made them so drunk with love that they are actually "unafraid" of what could happen to them if they go through with these plans. This song makes the transition from heartwarming to sexual to downright disturbing with the greatest of ease.

In the meadow we can build a snowman
and pretend that he's a circus clown
We'll have lots of fun with mister snowman
until the alligators knock him down

The final chapter in this sordid little tales ends like a scene from Fear and Loathing Las Vegas. Now this crazy woman is building a snowman and pretending that he's a circus clown. And what's up with the alligators? I'd be willing to wager that any area of the world with enough snow to build a snowman will generally have a pretty low alligator population. This can only be the ramblings inspired by a heroin induced hallucination.

The song ends harmlessly enough talking about eskimos and such. I hope everything worked out well for this poor crazy drug addicted woman and I hope she cleans up her act in time for the holidays.

Happy Holidays!

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