Friday, December 16, 2011

Silent Night

At Twin Rocks Trading Post, Priscilla has hung the colored lights and assembled the faux tree. The Christmas cards have flowed out, and the responses are flooding back in. To say we are in the holiday spirit would be an understatement; we are like kids at FAO Schwarz.

With party after party beginning to crowd our schedules and holiday candy at every turn, Barry and I are beginning to look like Frosty the Snowman and the Pillsbury Doughboy. Priscilla just giggles, afraid to poke us in the ribs lest she puncture our distended hides and cause a rapid deflation.

At the risk of overdosing on holiday cheer, thus requiring sugar detoxification and family counseling, last weekend Jana, Kira, Grange and I traveled to Albuquerque for what Jana’s family refers to as “Thanksmas”. As one might guess, Thanksmas is an annual affair that occurs between Thanksgiving and Christmas. For the Kennedys, two holiday celebrations came up one short, so they invented another. The party generally combines of the best elements from both festivals; eating copious amounts of food, talking until you are hoarse and a “Yankee Swap”.

As it happens, I love the holiday season and am crazy about Christmas carols. Consequentially, once the Simpson family SUV got within range of an Albuquerque radio signal, I found an all carol all the time station. Now, I am no Ella Fitzgerald, but I can surely belt out a serviceable Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, and when it comes to Jingle Bell Rock there is no holding me back.

Kira and Grange were patient for a time, but after a few songs, they began to demand I give them equal time for head-banger music. I, however, was adamant, no screamer was going to interrupt Little Drummer Boy while I had control of the knob. They argued, somewhat convincingly, that I was in fact out of control.

As Bing Crosby crooned White Christmas, I was transported back to the spring of 1979. At the time Craig and I were in school and on the wrestling team at Weber State College. Our roommate, Rob Wurm, was a talented wrestler from northern California who loved country music. He had developed a good style on the guitar and could sing well enough to enchant the young ladies. I was envious, but, aside from the more obvious handicaps, was irretrievably tone deaf.

At the time a South Korean all star team was touring the western United States and Weber State was on their agenda. The afternoon before the competition, Rob and I were assigned to entertain two team members. Deciding to take them to Salt Lake City for a few hours, we shoehorned them into the back of Rob’s well worn Datsun 240z and caught the freeway south. Despite being shoved into such a small space, the Koreans were in good spirits and spontaneously began singing in their native tongue.

It was not long before they asked Rob and me to sing for them. While that was not a problem for Rob, finding a song I would not annihilate was a real challenge. Thinking of the holidays not long past, I suggested White Christmas. In my musical ignorance I believed our guests would not recognize the tune. I had, of course, failed to realize the song was universal. After bursting out in laughter at the thought of Rob and me singing Christmas carols at that time of the year, the Koreans joined in and we caroled all the way to Salt Lake City.

From that point forward White Christmas has been a reminder to me that no matter what our differences we are all the same and whatever our beliefs we can celebrate the holiday spirit all year long.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

With warm regards,
Steve, Barry and The Team

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