Saturday Single No. 269

By one very simple measure, I’ve been fortunate in my life: I’ve only once spent Christmas alone. That came during an odd year not all that long ago.

During my childhood and my young adult years, our family’s Christmas celebration took place at my grandparents’ home, first on the farm outside the small Minnesota town of Lamberton and then – for a few years, after Grandpa and Grandma sold the farm – in Lamberton itself.

After my grandparents had passed on, the celebration moved to my folks’ house in St. Cloud, and since the early part of this decade, when Dad passed on and Mom moved, we’ve shifted our celebration to my sister’s home in the Twin Cities suburb of Maple Grove.

Among all of those years and celebrations, I’ve only been absent four times: The first came in 1973, when I was in Denmark. But I was living with a Danish family at the time, and that felt like home. And in 2001 and 2004, the Texas Gal and I were with her family in Garland, Texas.

And then there was 1999. I’d developed a chronic ailment that autumn, one that made it difficult – and in fact, a little scary – to travel too far from my apartment in Minneapolis. My sister had hosted Thanksgiving that year, so I’d been able to get to that get-together, but I was unable to cope with a drive to St. Cloud. It was only seventy miles, but I was in the early stages of learning to manage things and that was a longer distance than I was willing to risk.

So I stayed home, spending the day with my cat, Simmons, and – I would guess – whatever I was able to find on television. It wasn’t the worst day of my life, but I’d guess it ranks among the worst twenty-five. (That’s one list I’m not going to take the time to compile.)

Early the next year, I met the Texas Gal and she moved to Minnesota. Since then, we’ve spent Christmas in St. Cloud a couple of times, in Texas twice and the rest of the time in Maple Grove. And no matter where it is, as I recall that last Christmas before we met, I do not take for granted the comfort of spending Christmas with her.

And to close our minimal Christmas celebration at EITW, here’s last year’s performance by Darlene Love on The Late Show with David Letterman of her holiday classic “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).”

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3 Responses to “Saturday Single No. 269”

  1. Yah Shure says:

    Merry Christmas to you and the Texas Gal, whiteray. Given that it’s a brown Christmas at home and the fact that I’d have celebrated solo had I stayed anyway, I opted to go where the rest of the family was going this year. Seasons greetings from sunny Arizona.

  2. Alex says:

    It just isn’t Christmas if I don’t get to see Darlene Love singing this song on Letterman… may we all sound that good at age 73! (And, actually, may I ever sound that good just once in my life.)

    A very Merry Christmas to you & yours and let’s hope 2012 is fantastic for everyone.

  3. jb says:

    As I read this I was guessing you might post Darlene’s “All Alone on Christmas,” whish is, if I’m recalling correctly, a Steve Van Zandt production with a bunch of the E-Streeters backing her up, and which is righteous in every way.

    Belated greetings to you, the Texas Gal, and the menagerie. Looking forward to our next Beer Summit.

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