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This Day in My History


2000:
  It's a Small World After All
2001:
  Blue Christmas
2002:
Well, It's About Time!

2003:
 Egg Nog Gala
2004:  Here We Come A-Wassailing


2005 Christmas Letter

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HOW THE GRINCH FOUND CHRISTMAS

13 December 2005

And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling: "How could it be so?
It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
"It came without packages, boxes or bags!"
And he puzzled three hours, `till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store.
"Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"

Christmas finally arrived last night.  And I didn't even have a camera with me.

I've  been looking to "find Christmas," without really knowing what I was looking for.

I didn't find it in the thought of helping someone less fortunate than myself at this holiday time.

I didn't find it shopping in catalogs for gifts

I didn't find it looking through reports of previous Christmases.

I didn't find it under Derrick's Peanuts tree at my favorite holiday party

I didn't find it in the decorated stores of San Francisco.

I didn't find it sitting around the living room opening gifts with my cousins.

But last night, sitting in a small living room with Roy (a choir director) at the piano and a host of singers and non-singers gathered around the piano, or sitting on the stairs or standing in the overhead loft, by the big Christmas tree which hung out over the living room, when the group began singing the old familiar Christmas carols, suddenly there was a spark inside. 

"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store"
"Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more"

By the time  we had run the gamut in our "Christmas Carols for Street Singers" book and Roy was directing an a capella verse, in Latin, of Adeste Fideles, I was feeling downright Christmassy.

The Grinch's small heart
Grew three sizes that day...

Maybe it was just that the pressure was off.  The Big Dinner had been given, the house was clean, and Christmas will be a breeze.  Or maybe it was the vodka in the punch Roy and Craig served.  Or maybe it was something more.  But whatever it was, Christmas has finally descended upon me and I'm feeling all warm and fuzzy.

It was a great party.  And I'm not a party person, as I have repeatedly stated.  There was nothing to indicate that this party would be any different.  There were lots of people I didn't know, which usually means I'm more shy than usual. 

But I sat upstairs at the "fondu station" and chatted with two women I'd never met before. 

I stood around the crab dip with Davis Comic Opera People and chatted. 

I sat off in a corner with Stephen and discussed all sorts of things.

I watched Craig pat ground gingershaps into the ham and spritz it with bourbon.   "It's Alton Brown's recipe," he explained to those watching him.  I told him that this was a Food Network weekend and told him about my Emeril Legasse ham.   (Alton Brown won, I have to admit...  Or maybe Craig is just a better cook.)

I was totally comfortable and having a wonderful time.

But it was the caroling that put it all over the top.  In my glory days, I used to sing in choirs, and I always loved it.  In past Christmases, I have found caroling groups to sing with and that is always such a wonderful feeling.   I never had a strong voice, but I was always enthusiastic.  And is there anything more rewarding than a full-out "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" or a quiet "Silent Night," especially when you can sing them in a mixed group that contains enough professional singers that you actually sound good?

Not the "let's see if we can all find the same key" sort of thing that you often find in pick-up groups of door-to-door carolers, but real multi-part harmonies and someone taking the high note and doing wonderful things with it.

This group had both the good singers and the enthusiastic singers, and little kids on stairs peeking out from between the railings.  It was a real Norman Rockwell moment, and me without a camera (though I realized that even if I had a camera with me, I wouldn't have wanted to spoil the magic of the moment by bringing it out).

So bring on your Christmas.  I'm ready.  I have finally found the spirit of Christmas.

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10/25/05