The Eleventh Day of Christmas

On the eleventh day of Christmas…..

1200px-Dr._Elmo_(Grandma_Got_Run_Over_by_a_Reindeer)_with_John_Pinette_12-11-_106

This was not one of my selections. My Mama was not a fan of this song, especially after she became a grandmother, so yeah. Not on my list of favorites. I’d still rather not upset my Mama even now. “Dr. Elmo (Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer) with John Pinette 12-11- 106” by PamWendell – Own work. Licensed under CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

I think of the eleven songs I love the most during this holiday season.

1–“Nothing But a Child” by Steve Earle
My Daddy loved Steve Earle, so of course I do too, but this song is very, very special.

2–“Do They Know It’s Christmas?” by Band Aid
This song makes me tear up every single time. “Throw your arms around the world…..” Yes. Let’s. I think we could all use a hug.

3–“All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey
It is nigh unto impossible to be in a bad mood when this song is playing. Pretty sure you will find yourself dancing. At least tapping a toe or something.

4–“Christmas Time’s a Coming” by Bill Monroe
Bluegrass. You just can’t go wrong with that. I love this song.

5–“White Christmas” by Bing Crosby
I loved the song years before I ever saw the movie, but after seeing the movie, OH YES. What a great movie–and song.

6–“Mele Kalikimaka” by Bing Crosby
A great song and everything, but then there’s “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” making it an awesome song. Who hasn’t dreamed about a pool in the middle of winter? (Well, some in Georgia this past Christmas actually did get in their pools, but that’s another story.)

7–“Sleigh Ride” by Johnny Mathis
Another happy song. My finger tends to dance along and direct the band to this one. (And also the medley of this song with “Jingle Bells” in “Sleepless in Seattle”–loved it. “Harses, harses, harses, harses, harses…..”)

8–“Dominick the Donkey” by Lou Monte
It’s just fun, y’all. All the children (young and OLD) like to make the donkey sounds.

9–“Baby It’s Cold Outside” by Pearl Bailey and Hot Lips Page
This is my favorite version of this song. Yes, I’ve heard all the issues with regards to the song. I still love it. I’ve tried not to, but every since I saw Thora Birch and Lauren Bacall sing it together in “All I Want for Christmas,” I’ve found it delightful.

10–“Last Christmas” by George Michael
Other artists have recorded this, and we have discussed this at great lengths in our home. Other artists “speak” the lyrics. I think George Michael is the only one who actually sings the words. But mostly, I chose this one to make my Cousin smile. Because I love her, and because I know she will miss George over this next year. (or maybe not)

11–“Twelve Days of Christmas” by Straight No Chaser
Seriously, this version right here. If you’ve never seen it, treat yourself. Great entertainment, and I laugh out loud every time I watch it.  Check it out here.

Okay y’all, as I was composing this list, I realized there are a whole lot more than eleven Christmas songs I love.  I really, really love holiday music, and tonight I’m thankful for the music services where I can play this music that brings me joy whenever I want.  I’m not ready for the season to be over yet.

May you all have all the music you love to listen to and lift your spirits.

Love to all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Third Day of Christmas

On the third day of Christmas…..

img_1120

Sweet ornaments made by my sweet friend that remind of the way the sounds of the season resonate with my soul and what a treasure friendships are.

Tonight I sat listening to the carols being played and sung by people who have come to be a part of my family.  As they sang and played the guitar and the flute and the drum box, I was, once again, moved to tears in the midst of “Silent Night.”  As I wondered why, the image of women singing this to themselves in the midst of waiting for news from the war came to my mind and heart.  I wondered what it was like for my Granny singing this back then.  Or my great-grandmother before her.

And then it hit me what a precious thing it is that they did.  They sang these same carols that I sang as a child and sang tonight.  The same ones, I’d venture a guess, that my grandchildren will sing along to one day.

Then I thought about three different Christmases and how dear they all are and how they connect me to my story–

Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Future.

And for all of the new ways of doing things like tracking Santa with an app on our phones or sending Christmas cards through email or social media or going to the movies on Christmas day–all of which are wonderful in their own way–the old traditions that connect us to those who have gone before us are truly beautiful.  Decorating the Christmas tree, making homemade Christmas ornaments, baking cookies and other treats, singing Christmas carols, caroling, making time to visit with family and friends, reading the Christmas story together, sitting out milk and cookies for Santa…..

priceless.

Tonight I’m thankful for the traditions that have and will last through all three Christmases.  It is a good feeling to be a part of something that has come before and will last long after I leave this world.

Silent night, Holy Night…..

Love to all.

Delta Dawn and Earworms

Isn’t it interesting to hear songs now that you once sang out loud as a child?  Does it ever make you cringe that you sang it, not knowing what the lyrics meant?

So many songs from all those years ago I can still remember the lyrics to.  One of my favorite radio stations is the 80’s one.  (It makes Cooter crazy, which gets quite comical at times.)  When I hear one of the songs from way back when, and the lyrics all come flooding back without me even thinking, it amazes me.  And sometimes is a little embarrassing.

And then there are the times one comes along and gets stuck.  In my head.  All day long.  I think they call them earworms now, but back then, we’d just walk around complaining, “I have a song STUCK IN MY HEAD, and I can’t get it out.”

I don’t know how old I was when Daddy came up with the solution, but it seems like it’s been a part of our story for as long as I can remember.

“Sing Delta Dawn.  It will break up that song stuck in your head.”

And he was right.

Tonight I was thinking about that, and trying to remember who sang it originally.  After realizing it was not Helen Reddy, I remembered it was a very, very young Tanya Tucker.  I finally decided to look it up, and the cool thing is they both sang it.  (My memory is a little better than I thought, which is very encouraging after the week I’ve had.)  Tanya Tucker had a top ten country hit with it in 1972, and then Helen Reddy had a #1 hit with it in 1973.  And here’s what I found out that I had never known–Bette Midler also recorded it, and she planned to release it, but Helen Reddy’s version came out two days earlier.

Wow.

Bette Midler?  Delta Dawn?

Fascinating, but the truth is I couldn’t get through a whole stanza of her version.  VERY different, and just not the Delta Dawn I grew up with.

Except now I’m afraid the little bit I listened to of her version is my newest ear worm.

“Daddy, what happens if I sing ‘Delta Dawn’ and get rid of the song stuck in my head, but then Delta Dawn gets stuck in there?”

I don’t remember his exact answer, but I think it had something to do with it being a good song, so it would be okay, or it would eventually fade or something like that.

And so now, I guess I’ll do just that.  Go to sleep with a very slow version of ‘Delta Dawn’ in my head.  Unless Tanya and Helen can help me out.

What do you do to get rid of your earworms?

Tonight I’m thankful for this memory of my Daddy that made me smile.  I wonder what he’d think of Bette Midler’s version, but I’m pretty sure I already know.

May we all have a day of only the really good songs getting stuck…..

Love to all.

 

 

Click here for the link to the YouTube video of Helen Reddy’s version

Here for Tanya Tucker’s version

and finally, here for the Bette Midler one

IMG_0361

His Heart Was Full to Bustin’

This morning when I took Miss Sophie out for her morning sniff’n’smell, the sky was overcast, a dark grey, with heavy clouds just ready to let all the rain fall down upon us.  It was still out as well–nothing moving, reminiscent of a cold, winter morning–only it wasn’t cold or winter.  But neither was it very hot or summery feeling–for a Georgia morning in August, we’ll take it.

Because the air was still, it was very, very quiet.  So quiet that I could hear the songs of the insects and birds quite clearly.  It was so peaceful, I almost felt completely alone in that moment–well, me, Miss Sophie, and the One who painted it all.

Peace.

As we turned back towards the house, I heard a sound that was out of place.  It was neither bird nor bug.  I couldn’t place it until I turned around and saw in the distance a man walking along with energy and purpose.  He had on headphones, and he was singing along to whatever he was listening to.  I couldn’t understand the words as they were of a language I didn’t recognize, but my soul understood the meaning.  I’m pretty sure he was singing worshipfully, as his voice was filled with awe and joy.

A sacred moment.

Miss Sophie and I quietly made our way back home, not wanting to intrude on his morning, but so thankful he’d intruded on ours.  I want to be like that, so filled with praises and joy, that I can’t do anything but burst out in song and enthusiasm–thankful for all I’ve been given, no matter who is around.  I want to be so in love with this life that I can’t be still–or quiet.

I’m working on it, y’all.

Tonight I’m thankful for a holy moment bursting into this quiet morning.  For a song that broke through the language barrier and the one who sang it, I give thanks.

May we all find something that fills us up and overflows our hearts with joy and love and wonder.

Love to all.

Turn That Music Down!

This morning Cooter took his math and headed to his room.

Where he started playing one of his CD’s.

At full volume.

And, for the first time with this boy child, I heard myself hollering, “Turn that music down!”

For the love.

He’s eight, y’all.

He really needs to rein it in.  What do I have to look forward to when he’s fifteen if he peaks now?

He says the music helps him do his math quicker.  As I walked in to make sure he heard me over the music, he looked at me and said, “See I’m already done with one page.  It does make me work quicker.  My brain works better with music.”

Oh me.

It’s been one of those kinds of days.  The ones where time is passing by so quickly I feel as though I am on a Merry Go Round, watching the world continuing to go on around me.  And in some respects, without me.

When did the little guy whom I cuddled his first night on this earth and promised all the good things to turn into this music loving, dancing, singing, Star Wars expert, silly joke loving, mischievous, passionate little man?

I don’t even know, y’all.

But I’m going need for time and my children to slow down.

Wishing you all a moment to step off the Merry Go Round or roller coaster or log flumes and just be.  Still.  In the moment.  Stay there for as long as you can.  Because I’m learning we can’t stop it from passing–but maybe in appreciating each moment a little more, we can slow time’s passing down.

Love to all.

Payphone–the Song and the Questions

This evening on the way home, this song came on the radio.  My little guy can read the title and artist of songs from way back where he sits in the vehicle.  When he saw this one, the conversation that ensued–well, I suppose I should have been prepared for it to come up eventually, but I was not.

IMG_9211

Nevertheless, it made me laugh.

Cooter (as soon as the name came on the screen): What’s a payphone?

Huh.  Now why didn’t I see that one coming?  So obvious, right?

Me:  Well, what do you think it sounds like it is?

Cooter: A phone.  You have to pay to use.

Me:  Yes.  Exactly.

Cooter:  How long could you talk when you paid?

Me (using words I haven’t used in a long time): Well, it depends if you were calling long-distance or not.

Cooter:  What’s long distance?

Ha.  Yep.  Here we go. He can be a question machine sometimes.  

Me: It’s when you call someone outside your calling area.

Cooter: So how long could you talk when you called long distance?

Me:  You know, I’m not really sure.  Not for very long anyway.  And you had to stand in one place when you were talking on a payphone.  There was no walking around.  No going wherever you wanted while you were talking.

And that’s when it hit me.  How far we have come.  How very, very far. My children have no idea what it’s like to have to plan a call around when you had time to sit in one place.  They live in a world of smart and smarter phones and devices and asking for wifi passwords, for goodness’ sake.

I remember calling my folks from a payphone at the movie theater to ask if we could see a second movie before coming home.  I remember calling from one to let them know we had arrived safely at our destination.  I remember scrounging for quarters to make a call, and then hearing the dreaded voice telling me how much time I had left in the conversation. No such thing as unlimited minutes back then.

Tonight I’m thankful for a world where communication is so much easier.  And yet it frightens me as well.  With great privilege comes great responsibility.  With all this communicating at my children’s fingertips, there’s also great potential for miscommunication.  I hope they strive to rise above that, and that they use all this potential for interaction for the good.  Of their relationships, community, and our world.

Interesting that a trip down Memory Lane can come simply from the chance playing of a song on the radio.

Love to all.

“Pay phone”. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pay_phone.jpg#/media/File:Pay_phone.jpg

Musical Memories

Over the weekend I got an email from the Georgia National Fair sharing what their musical acts this year will be.  One of the bands listed was the Marshall Tucker Band.  I told my children, “Yeah.  Cap enjoyed their music.”

And then I started laughing.

When I was growing up, we always tried to get Daddy the perfect gift.  For his birthday.  Father’s Day.  Christmas.  And it was always a challenge.  One year we knew he had said something about really liking the music of one particular group.  Between us children and Mama, all we could come up with was the name started with M.

We looked and searched and listened to the radio. (This was pre-Google by the way.) And then, after hearing the latest hits, we knew.

Thank goodness.

Men At Work.

Of the “Who Can It Be Now?” and “Land Down Under” fame.

Ahem.

Daddy was very gracious about it.  He even liked the music on that cassette tape.

But no–I’m not sure how it eventually came out, but it was the Marshall Tucker Band he’d originally mentioned.

Now if you’ve heard music from both, you understand just how gracious he was.

Because they are very different.

I love this memory for so many reasons.

Another trip down Memory Lane happened when Aub was playing music for Cooter to help him focus on his lessons yesterday.  They are both trying to convince me he learns better when music is playing.  I don’t know.  I thought so at one point, but when some songs come on, he jumps up and starts singing and dancing and yeah.  I’m thinking not so conducive to the learning in those moments.

When I heard the beginning notes yesterday, I knew.  And I went back in time almost 38 years.

My brother was a baby.  Daddy had just taken him out for his first ride in Daddy’s old pickup truck.  Mama was cooking supper, listening to the radio, when the song came on.

“Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” by Willie Nelson.

She knew what a big moment this was for Daddy and my brother and when the lyrics played, I think she let out something somewhere between a laugh and a cry.

“Don’t let ’em pick guitars and ride in old trucks

Make ’em be doctors and lawyers and such…..”

She knew it was all over then.

And the song always made her smile.

The two big concerts this Fall at the Fair are going to be Alabama and Rascal Flatts.  Aub said she thought she wanted to go to both–that was a proud moment for this Mama with eclectic musical taste–“but I think I should probably go see Alabama.  I mean, who knows how much longer they will be playing…..”

“I thought they’d already done a Farewell Tour,” we both said at the same time.  And then we laughed together.

I love how music is such a part of our memories and our lives.

Tonight I’m thankful for a Daddy who was gracious and never ceased to amaze me with his “outside the box” appreciation of music.  I think I know where I got my eclectic taste from.   Daddy really enjoyed old country, but over the years “You Are” by Lionel Richie, “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper, “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler, “Reason to Believe” by Rod Stewart, and even “Karma Chameleon” by Boy George and Culture Club, for goodness’ sake, were added to his list of favorites.  This doesn’t even include the alternative musicians he listened to and enjoyed.

He used to say anytime he heard “You Are” by Lionel Richie, “I don’t know if he did or not, but he should’ve gotten an award for that one.”  And my Daddy was not one to repeat himself unless it was really important.

Tonight I’m also thankful for parents who surrounded us with music of all kinds and recognized the value of listening beyond the sheer pleasure of it.  I am thrilled that my children have inherited a rich musical legacy of listening to all types of music and that they are able to develop their own tastes.

Wishing you all a day filled with music you love, with one or two new ones to try on for size thrown in there as well.

Love to all.

The album cover I remember from growing up.

The album cover I remember from growing up.