with a mighty heave tossed the massive chunk of lumber
onto the bed of glowing embers.
Encouraged by a fresh supply of fuel
the blaze quickly sprang to life.
as flames devoured the wood.
The room was bathed in a cheery glow as
soothing warmth radiated to Dell rats gathered 'round.
Comforting crackles, pops and hisses from the fire
blended with the sound of familiar tunes
playing on the jukebox.
recall the colder months, especially the
December holiday season.
jumper cables, chains, sand and ice scraper, Mr. Ettline
was Johnny on the spot when a Dell rat encountered
car problems. Armed with his trusty shovel,
John wasted no time clearing the front steps
and the walkway connecting the house to the barn.
preparing treats to warm the tummy.
My favorite cold weather order was a plate of
sizzling French fries and a steaming mug of cocoa.
down there, too, with the fireplace burning
and records that kept turning.
or more alive than the Shady Dell!
Dell will remain open for business through the holidays
and I loaded into the jukebox the Dell's
two most popular Christmas classics.
covered the walls with vintage seasonal soda pop ads.
The two holiday songs I'd like you to hear
were released back-to-back on the same 45,
one of many two-siders to enjoy popularity at the Dell.
Both sides of the platter were enduring seasonal favorites.
at Christmas time 1957. Every December thereafter
the song magically showed up in the Dell’s
dance hall jukebox just in time
to engender a festive holiday mood.
"Jingle Bell Rock" - Bobby Helms (December 1957)
as square. Instead, the gang eagerly got into the spirit of the proceedings and made it their own.
The record’s B-side, a nursery school ditty entitled
"Captain Santa Claus," produced an extraordinary response at the Dell. The beginning of the song consists of a series
of bizarre and instantly recognizable sound effects.
Naming that tune in seconds flat, the Dell crowd would
erupt in gleeful, childlike laughter and jubilant rats would
leap to their feet, head out on the dance floor
and skip around the room hand-in-hand
like merry little elves. At the Dell, even the
coolest kids were capable of letting their hair down
and acting silly, particularly during Christmas break
when Bobby Helms was serenading us.
"Captain Santa Claus" - Bobby Helms (December 1957)
a Shady little Christmas!