Thursday, December 22, 2016

If Only...

Weather Doubts

Anyone dreaming of a wet Christmas will be happy...

It appears that the winter storm that has The Weather Channel people freaking out isn't going to do much here in the Bluffs after all...

"You didn't really want it to snow anyway, did you?"

As a purely practical matter, no...but you know how sentimental I get at Christmas...


With just three days to go before Christmas Day, my shopping and decorating is just about completed, and so far I haven't committed homicide, though I have been sorely tempted.

As it turned out this year a live tree just wasn't in the cards for me. Upsetting, but what can you do?

Under the circumstances, I did what my mom would have done (and, on occasion, DID do): Keep in the spirit of the season, and find an alternative.

Thanks to Hobby Lobby, I was able to do that.
The tree to the left was the only one they had
of that type, and it was mostly hidden behind some other stuff on the display. I'm convinced that if I hadn't come along it would not have found a home this Christmas.

I also brought home a poinsettia plant, my mom's favorite. The one pictured here only had that spot long enough to have its picture taken before being moved.

"Nice, but didn't they have any with green or gold foil?"

Yes, but I like red...

Give It Up, Mom

From the droll comic strip Zits, by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman, which you should read every day, as I do.

Until Next Time...

For melancholy Christmas songs it is tough to beat "I'll Be Home for Christmas," the 1943 standard by Kim Gannon and Walter Kent (plus Buck Ram, sort of). Originally written to honor our World War II soldiers overseas who would be separated from their loved ones at Christmas time, the recording by Bing Crosby was an enormous hit.
It struck a chord with servicemen as well as their families, becoming the most-requested song at Christmas USO shows for many years. After the war, it became a Christmas standard because it speaks to the feelings of anyone who must be separated from their loved ones this time of year.

For the first 42 years of my life, I only experienced one Christmas where I was not able to be with my family. A terrible winter blizzard stranded me in Wyoming one year, and it was one of the most miserable times of my life. In my family, my mother was the glue that held everything together, and after she died in 1996 our family never had another Christmas gathering like those, making the song's lyric about "only in my dreams" especially poignant for me.

The song has been recorded by hundreds of artists in every musical genre, to the point where it is difficult to find an interpretation that brings a spark of creativity to the familiar standard. Fortunately, there are artists who always seem to be able to do just that. Canadian jazz singer/musician Diana Krall is one of my favorites in this regard. Her takes on familiar songs are always refreshingly different, not an easy thing to accomplish, and her lovely contralto voice is enchanting.

In the fall of 2005 Diana released Christmas Songs, her first holiday album and also her first recording with a big band (the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra).

The album features Diana's jazzy takes on secular Christmas favorites like "Jingle Bells" and "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town," and the big-band arrangements add a new sparkle to these old standards.

The album hit No. 1 on the Billboard Top Jazz Albums and Top Holiday Albums charts, and peaked at No. 17 on the Billboard 200.

Today's send-off is Diana's soulful rendition of "I'll Be Home for Christmas," from
her YouTube channel. Enjoy...

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