“Christmas Eve was a night of song that wrapped itself about you like a shawl. But it warmed more than your body. It warmed your heart…filled it, too, with melody that would last forever.”

Today is as close to winter as we’ve gotten. I felt the cold when I went out front to get the papers. The wind is strong enough to blow the chimes in my backyard. It is jacket weather.

Every year my mother took my sister and me to a play at Christmas then out to dinner. One year it was Death of a Salesman with Brian Dennehy who had won a Tony for the role. We joked with my mother afterwards about such an uplifting Christmas play. I have kept the tradition. Today my sister and I have a play, Christmas on the Air, and a dinner reservation afterwards. We’ll exchange gifts but save them to open at Christmas. I made her favorite fudge last night. She doesn’t have to wait until Christmas to munch on that.

Yesterday would have been the last school day before Christmas. That was always cause for excitement, but Christmas Eve, five long days away, was the magical day for us. I never thought I’d survive the wait. Every day dragged on and on. I’d go outside to play if the weather was good. I’d ride my bike or take the sled if we had snow. I’d watch for the mailman who came twice a day at Christmas bringing all those cards. My mother would let me open a couple, and if I were really lucky, they’d be a card for me usually from my aunt.

At night I’d sit and look at the tree. All the lights and ornaments were mesmerizing. I’d watch whatever Christmas programs were on TV. On weekdays I’d watch Santa in his workshop. He was also in countdown mode until his big night.

My mother played her Christmas albums on the hifi when she’d cook or work around the house. My favorites were the albums with lots of singers. We had Guy Lombardo, Andy Williams and Bing, the album where he is wearing a Santa cap. We also had albums from Grants who put out a new one every year and one from Goodyear. I have no idea the history of the last one.

Okay, I’m starting the countdown: five days until Christmas Eve.

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22 Comments on ““Christmas Eve was a night of song that wrapped itself about you like a shawl. But it warmed more than your body. It warmed your heart…filled it, too, with melody that would last forever.””

  1. Bob Says:

    Yesterday morning was the first time the temperature almost got down to freezing. Most of the leaves have turned brown and have fallen off the trees. The official winter solstice will be Monday night and I can’t wait for longer daylight hours.

    Christians are very lucky because there is so much great Christmas music. My favorite is the Christmas Song by Mel Torme. Some how the thought of chestnuts roasting on an open fire evokes memories of Christmas time in NYC with street vendors roasting them on the sidewalk over an open fire. I don’t like the taste or texture of them but I like the song. Mel wrote it on a hot Juky day in Los Angeles to help him feel cooler. My other favorite is Grandma got run over by a reindeer.

    • Kat Says:

      Bob,
      I love knowing we have an added minute of daylight, but it seems to take so long. We haven’t gotten as low as freezing yet, and we won’t this week as Christmas will be close to 60˚.

      I’m with you on the Mel Torme. That’s such a beautiful song and it weaves a lovely picture of Christmas. I always make a chestnut dish for Christmas ( though not this year), but I use chestnut puree or canned chestnuts.

      You and I totally differ on the Grandma song.

      • flyboybob Says:

        Every once in a while you have to let a little crazy fun in with the seriousness of the holiday. I think it’s a big hit in the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas where folks marry their first cousins on a regular basis. 🙂

      • olof1 Says:

        The sun will rise at 8:53am up here in the north on Tuesday and set at 3:16pm and it will be the same on Wednesday. After that the sun actually will rise one minute later in the morning but thankfully set one minute later too. We’ll have a few days before it finally starts turning the right way again.

      • Kat Says:

        Bob,
        You’re right! It does have that mountain sound!

      • Kat Says:

        Christer,
        I always remind my sister of the longest night of the year. It is, as you said, on Tuesday. I’ll be traveling!

        More sunlight, a longer day, I’m happy!

  2. olof1 Says:

    We almost reached 50F today and tomorrow will be a bit warmer, this would be noithing strange if I still lived in my old home town by the ocean but up here it’s very odd. I don’t mind though, if it keeps on getting warmer here I might have the chance of having a mango tree in my garden after all 🙂 🙂

    It was the same here but one day ahead of You since the yulre gnome came on christmas eve. I can’t remember any christmas albums but it was Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra or Sammy Davies Junior that were played in my home before christmas, a lot! Perry Como too if I remember right.

    Have a great day!

    Christer.

    • Kat Says:

      Christer,
      We had winter today. It was 35˚ on my way home tonight. It won’t last long as it will be close to 60˚ on Christmas Day here, but I don’t know about Colorado.

      Santa comes of Christmas Eve as well but after we’ve all fallen asleep. I was told he wouldn’t come if I was awake.I think it was just my parent’s way to get us to bed.

      Have a great Sunday!

  3. Richard Says:

    It’s beginning to feel a lot like ‘Wish-mas’ … ain’t no cold nowhere to be seen nowhere near here, y’all. They’re tellin’ us we’ll hit low 70s on The Day … Santa better pack a swimsuit and some tannin’ oil ….

    No plays for us … just openin’ toys and playin’ with ’em. Later, there was the Family Eat-A-Thon, a festive occasion enjoyed by all, even those of us at the Kiddie Table. My Grandmother fixed us each a small glass of about 90% water and maybe 5 or 10% Claret wine with lots of sugar so we felt like we were ‘adults’ … I still drink one small glass of Claret at Thanksgiving and Xmas to remember those who are no longer around the table with me. Traditions, y’ know … or maybe the endpoint of a tontine.

    Youngest Grandson is now officially done with school and classes until after New Year. I would imagine him to be quite the happy little camper.

    Come 23 December, I will be in a medical office having X-rays done of my back. After that, I will dutifully report to the doc’s office where he will interpret the results of said X-rays and determine what the next step in my ongoing Plan of Treatment will be. I’m assuming (and we all know that’s a mistake, right?) his recommendation will be to admit me to hospital for a microdiscectomy on Xmas Eve with discharge on Xmas Day … but I could be wrong. He could just as easily send me to Physical Therapy. I’d prefer a Massage Parlor where all of the ‘practitioners’ were generously endowed, but I suspect the police have closed those because they lack a ‘medical purpose’. Such is life, right … ?

    I’ve created and emailed my Xmas card to everyone I used to send a physical card. This is so much easier – and quicker. There’s also the monetary savings ‘cuz I didn’t need to affix stamps or buy envelopes. Yay!

    Mom usually put on Bing Crosby albums, and sometimes she’d put on an album that’s considered to be too ‘racist’ or ‘politically incorrect’ today: Walt Disney’s ‘Song of the South’ soundtrack. You know, the one with songs from the feature film, like ‘Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah.’ My daughter has that album now, and I’m going to ask her to use her USB turntable to make me a digital copy of it. Some things don’t deserve the ‘Winston Smith Memorial Memory Hole’ treatment, and this is one such item. ‘Political Correctness’ be damned.

    Come New Years, I’ll listen to the USB version of Guy Lombardo rendering the ancient strain of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ … never understood what it meant as a kid, and I’m still not sure I grasp it all, but I understand now the emotional content which surpasseth all wordage and makes anything save an emotional understanding irrelevant. Some things, after all, just … are.

    • Kat Says:

      Richard,
      Wit will be close to 60˚ here on Christmas Day. So far today has been the only winter’s day. It was cold at 35˚ with a brisk wind. I even wore a jacket.

      We didn’t start going to plays until we were adults. We usually went the weekend before Christmas, and I’ve continued the timing. We have also gone to the Boston Pops for wonderful Christmas music. We had a floor table where you ordered food and drink. I hadn’t ever seen today’s play, Christmas on the Air.

      When I was a kid, we went to the earliest mass, my brother and I. My parents had gone to midnight mass. We’d open our presents in the morning and play with them until the afternoon. We’ go to my grandparents’ house. Most of my mother’s brothers and sisters were there with their kids. It was hectic fun.

      The schools here don’t get out until the 23rd. I remember those last days. The kids were off the wall even though they were all high schoolers.

      Sorry the message parlors are gone.

      My back went through a shot, PT and three surgeries then PT again. It is back to bad. I hope you have better!

      I send cards. I like to buy Edward Gorey cards. They are wonderful!

      I think the music of Song of the South is mostly wonderful. I know it hasn’t been rereleased due to its racist overtones or that’s what they call them.

      The Guy Lombardo orchestra is the only one to welcome in the new year!

  4. Beto Says:

    thinking of you all this Christmas…

    Eternal Green

    A Christmas Eve
    Long past and gone
    The Yuletide Carol
    Of a heart gone wrong

    We voyeur here
    Old Scrooge and young
    The Spirits Three
    And the wisdom wrung

    As it unfolds
    The Carol play
    I shed a tear
    For the heart once gay

    Then as the nails
    Of life drive in
    And hang the heart
    We see all man’s sin

    Dear Mister Scrooge
    For you a prayer
    Your broken heart
    Be it mended here

    Though stranded be
    On rocky shoal
    God’s lifeboat sent
    Here to save us all

    So sing with Joy
    And raise the strain
    Light trees of love
    And redeem our pain

    That we like Scrooge
    May all walk free
    Accept God’s gift
    Of Eternal Green

  5. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    I stood around outside in the cold wind without a coat for quite awhile today. It was very chilly.
    I stopped to pick up a stray dog that I saw running along a busy road. My two dogs were in the jeep. The stray was an intact male and Rocky wasn’t letting him in without a fight. It would be too dangerous to drive with the possibility of a three way dog fight so I did all the phone calls and waiting around outside in the freezing wind. Coatless.
    The dog had a rabies tag with an 800 number but no other ID. I called the police business number. No help there. I called the 800 number and left my number to be called back. I called my brother and asked if he could help. The rabies company called back and ran the tag number. Their description did not fit the dog I had. CSA said she’d do some more research and call back.
    My brother and sister-in-law came and took the stray to a local vet who handles strays and I’d meet them there. On the way, the dog’s owner called me having gotten my number from the rabies tag company. She said her sister and father had been driving around looking for the dog and they would meet me at the vet. They showed up about 10 minutes after we did and a joyous Roxie went home with his relieved people.
    I hope they get him collar tags with their names and phone numbers engraved on them.
    And I hope he stays in his yard from now on.

    I’m exhausted from all the excitement and should probably have ice cream. 🙂

    Enjoy the evening.

    • Kat Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      It was really chilly when you throw in that wind, too forceful to be a breeze.

      I’m glad it was you who saw the dog as other people would have kept going, and who knows what would happen on a busy road to the poor baby.

      That was the most convoluted reunion ever. What was the description of the dog? It must have belonged to the people as they were notified.

      Gracie has her license and a tag which says I’m lost in the front and the back has my number.

      I think you earned as much ice cream as you can eat.

      Have a calmer day tomorrow!

      • Caryn Says:

        The operator said the dog on her file was a corkie. Small and white. I assume a corky is some weird designer combo of a Yorkie who knows what else. This dog was definitely a Welsh Terrier but a tad overweight. Very sweet and friendly. I’d have kept him, if it came to it. Rocky would adjust.
        The company CSA called the phone number on that serial number to check with the owner. The person who called me knew what the dog looked like. The dog recognized the people who came to get him. They were very lucky. Apart from wandering along a major roadway, he was also headed straight for coyote territory.

        Both my dogs are microchipped and have their licenses, rabies tags and name tags with my phone number. So many tags and the license and rabies tags are huge. I’m going to make them charm necklaces instead of collars 🙂

      • Kat Says:

        Caryn,
        The dog sounds like one of the new designer dogs we thought of as mutts. Now they command big money.

        I am so glad it was you. That dog would have been darn lucky to live with you and your brood.!!

        Guilt ridden here as Gracie goes to the kennel tomorrow.


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