I feel lonesome in November and around the holidays
So I like to open up my house to the orphans and the strays
And folks who need some friendship as we head into winter
So we had 'em over for Thanksgiving dinner.

We had a couple hoboes who'd just got out of jail
Along with Jimmie Rodgers, Buddy Holly, Nathan Hale
And Ishmael had come in from sailing on the seas
And a chain gang and a bunch of refugees.

And in came James Joyce, through the Dublin snow,
Judy Garland, Bessie Smith, and Marilyn Monroe,
And the Russian royal family evicted from their palace,
And James Dean and Maria Callas.

And up the steps came Scott Fitzgerald looking for the gin
And then Franz Kafka, Norma Desmond, and the King walked in
Elvis looked exhausted, his face was deathly white,
He was humming "Are You Lonesome Tonight?"

All the busted promises and all the broken dreams,
Virginia Woolf, Bix Beiderbecke, and a dozen Red Sox teams,
And Miss Havisham was dreaming of her wedding day,
And in walked a line of men in gray.

Success is counted sweetest by those who ne'er succeed,
And to comprehend a nectar requires sorest need,
So said Emily Dickinson and she would know, I guess.
It takes a sad man to find true happiness.

Good night Buddy Holly ---- long may you fly
Sweet dreams Judy Garland ---- you'll be happy by and by
Good luck Miss Havisham ---- may your fiancee arrive---
And don't you know it's good to be alive.

© Garrison Keillor 2002