Monday, December 8, 2014

My buddy Bing

Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Perry Como, Andy Williams, Bob Hope. On and on the list grows of those entertainer I grew up with. Well, I did not really grow up with them, but still they resided in our house. We even had Rudy Vallee, Hoagie Carmichael and many of the old timers there as well. I saw them off and on all year long but even more so at Christmas time.

This time of the year I pull out the Christmas music. I am fortunate to have the music that was handed down from my mother's cousin as well as much of her own sheet music. Three generations of music. Some is actually stitched along the fold to hold it together. This is the music that surrounded me in my growing up years. The songs I memorized by hearing them played and sung over and over again. The songs I grew up learning one finger at a time until I had conquered the notes. Now they come out again to greet me this new holiday season.

A fellow employee came up to me, "Do you know that some of these girls do not know who Elvis Presley is!?!?!?" Oh, yes, I know. A customer once asked one of girls if we carried something with Elvis on it. She blanked. I popped in with my ancient knowledge and helped the fellow. He went on to quiz the girl about JFK, Frank Sinatra and several others, totally sending the girl into tears. It is a new day and age. The family singing around the piano is a rarity. I grew up in a family where most everyone played the piano. Songs were handed down to the smallest of the tribe. Now ipods and headsets take the place. Singular music versus group. A new day. A new way.

I think there is something missing now-a-days, as my parents would say.  No one dragged us to the piano. No, we came from all parts of the house once the first notes were played. The old and the young stood together in harmony. When I was little, I remember being held by different family members while we sang. Funny, but I do not remember ever not knowing the words to those songs we all loved. I never had to memorize carols. They were part of the dialogue of my past that was placed upon me as surely as were my blue eyes.

Today I sang Jingle Bells in the car when taking the twins to my house. In the back seat I hear Nolan singing 'bells', 'way', 'tails', 'ring', 'bright', 'night'. Learning at age 2 by what he hears. Music that I will share from when I was young. Music he that will accompany him his entire life.

The beauty of the past comes alive at Christmas. It comes in a tune. It comes in a memory. It comes with the voice of Perry Como and the jazz renditions of Aretha Franklin. The stack of Christmas music comes out of the trunk. Bing and Danny Kaye look up at me from the front of  "Count your Blessings". I smile. I cannot help it! I have not seen these boys since last year. Now we have all come home for Christmas. A season of indeed counting blessings.

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