The Christmas column

Written by:

I’ve lived sixty one years, and would like to live another sixty one. By my calculations that means I’ve lived through sixty one Christmas’s. I really like Christmas. Maybe it’s just where I’m sitting, but it seems to me that on that day, once a year, the world’s a little more at peace. And what ever you’re politics, religion, or lack of same, peace on earth is hard to argue with.

I love the music, though I gravely disagree with my wife’s choice of the music that flows from her computer through the stereo. Not that smaltz doesn’t have it’s place, but wherever that place is, it shouldn’t be above carols with banjos in them.

Speaking of smaltsy Christmas songs. You ought to hear my friend Chef Mike sing them. Like a grumpy Andy Williams. If you don’t like them Christmas songs you hear in the elevator, you’d like Chef Mike. He does them better than anybody.

It seems a shame there aren’t more good bluegrass Christmas carols. Of course there is the Bill Monroe classic “Christmas is coming”, but from my perspective, that’s the worst Christmas song in the history of the world. (o.k., I know, I’ve just ignited world war three. So much for peace on earth.)

On the subject of Christmas, there is this tradition of gifts. I’ve given and received a lot of them in 61 years. The worst of them was a shoe shine kit I received on a Christmas when I was eleven years old. It was the only gift I got on that Christmas day. Now, understand, that was because we were at my aunts house, and we’d opened presents a couple of days earlier at home, but …. A SHOESHINE KIT!!!….I preferred the wrapping paper. Gratitude is a sometime thing when you are eleven years old. I still don’t like to shine my shoes.

The best gift, other than the original Christmas gift (2012 years ago) that I remember, was a Chromatic Harmonica my parents got me when I was 10 years old. There’s an old movie on a reel somewhere of our Christmas in Yakima Washington where I’m sitting by the tree with a buzz cut and a child’s anticipatory excitement as I rip open the wrapping on the box that contained the harmonica. I about jumped through the tree! I pogoed around on my knees pushing the button and playing that thing over and over and lost interest in everything else that was going on. Sort of like I do now, at a campout, around Jeanie Ramos’s R.V., playing that bluegrass with my friends. And that was joy to the world. Let me tell you….whew….that was joy to the world.

Merry Christmas. May you find peace in your little corner of the world.

Read about: