Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas music



When my neighbor's plastic wise guys hit the dirt, I know we're in for a bumpy ride. From past experience, each fallen chap equals 20 miles per hour in wind velocity; you do the math. The mighty wind's a blowin tonight, and we'll be lights-out in an hour or so, I reckon.

Come morning, the Jesus, Joseph, and Mary heads will be knocking on my front door. Fortunately, they're ever so polite, eat very little, and wait patiently until I return them to their proper torsos later the next day.

I like my neighbor, by the way. He's a smart, sweet guy; a teacher. The plastic Bethlehem is his only eccentricity, if eccentricity it is. It's for his kids. The front yard nativity scene is their tradition.


When I was a wee bit of a thing, my dad would sing this. And I don't mean sing like a glorious tenor; he sang in a broken baritone and couldn't carry a tune with a forklift. My father could speak five languages, but music wasn't one of them.

Still, I loved the sounds, I love them to this day -- the consonants that never meet and mate in English -- schl, skt; the long s, the long t, and vowels almost as strong as consonants -- the uuuu's, for example.

Up until the time I was six years old or so, I understood the language, I knew the words to this song. Today I'd need a translation, which I'm sure is readily available online. But then I'd lose everything worth saving. Oddly, for this memory to last, I can no longer know what it means.

20 comments:

  1. I am a fan. Lovely and sweet. Please don't hold it against me that we've been listening to this song for years, via Garrison Keillor.

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  2. Hang onto your hat, KB. And I love your memories of your dad and his singing.

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  3. You're a good neighbor and an even better daughter. My favorite memory of Christmas is that when I was in high school my mother began the tradition of hanging the Christmas tree upside down from the ceiling. It was actually quite lovely.

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  4. I love how you can be hilarious and deadly serious in the same breath. A gift.
    V

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  5. Christmas music doesn't cause many happy thoughts to come to mind because of my experiences as a kid. This however is extremely pleasant. Much thanks and Joy to you.

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  6. I love to hear your memories and read your text, so witty and also serious, as Virginia wrote.

    When I was a kid I loved so much to set up the Natividade scene (pres├ępio in Portuguese). But the saints were little and made my ceramic. The most of my momories of Christmas nights where at my grandparents's house. My mother used to play on the piano lovely Christmas musics...

    So beautiful the music you post, the voices are so limpid... but like you I'd need a translation.

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  7. Surprise, surprise -- we have heat! We have lights! I haven't looked around for the heads yet, though.

    Desiree knows I can't stand Garrison Keillor, so I'm just going to ignore her.

    Shell, save for me, I came from an entirely tone deaf family.

    Paula, oh, you've got to tell us more of the story than that.

    Hey Virginia, when are you coming to visit?

    Pierre, but you've set things right as an adult. Thank you for the good wishes.

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  8. Maybe that scene is good luck. Lights still out in Sierra Madre.

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  9. Glad your power is back. Just passed our local large nativity scene and thought of you.

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  10. found the translation:
    Still, still, still,
    'Cause baby wants to sleep.

    Sleep, sleep, sleep,
    My dear babe sleep!
    Maria sings you a lullaby
    And brings you her true heart.

    Sleep, sleep, sleep,
    My dear babe sleep!

    Great, great, great,
    The love is more than great!
    God has left his throne
    And must go by road.

    Great, great, great,
    The love is more than great.

    We, we, we,
    All do call out to you:
    Open heaven's realm to us,
    If we must die one day.

    We, we, we,
    We all call out to you.

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  11. Beautiful song! I've never heard it before.

    Those poor wise men look so sad there after their face plants. Or maybe they're just bowing really deeply to the baby Jesus.

    I hope Albert doesn't get blown away in the wind. Or you, for that matter.

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  12. And I thought the three wise men were prone in praise!!!

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  13. Wonderful post -- you write from the heart of things....

    The carol is so lovely; it's not one I've heard before.

    Startling to see the wise men lying prostrate to honor Baby Jesus and Aeolus, the God of the Wind....

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  14. Some complain about the Christmas season starting in summer (hohoohno, but not the retailers). And, although some get upset if Christmas music takes over their fav radio station before ThanksGiving, I often think the best of that music category is among the best music period.

    Your Father's music selection here just reaffirms that belief. And, although he may not have had the vocal chords for singing, he seems to have had the ear for good music. And passed that sense on.

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  15. Well, I certainly hope you did not find heads on your doorstop. Nice bit of memoir. Beautifully said as usual.

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  16. CP, Nutcracker Suite in June is fine with me.

    And I kind of love that I introduced this song to several of you who had never heard it before. Just sorry youtube had no version in an off-key baritone.

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  17. If you go to Amazon that have an amazing array of Christmas music, from the sublime to the ridiculous, some of them for pennies. Literally. And the sublime part might be relative to the price but there's a lot to choose from, just scroll down past the song list and be amazed:

    99 Most Essential Christmas Masterpieces

    NOW That's What I Call Christmas

    Unfortunately no version of your song that I could find, Karin.

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  18. It's new to me, too.

    I like this kind of Christmas music--the traditional type.

    We went to Bed, Bath and Beyond the other day to pick up a few things and ended up rushing out because it's so loud in there--videos blaring, things flashing, and the most godawful Christmas music I've ever heard. We mentioned it to a couple of employees and they just rolled their eyes. Poor things, they have to listen to it all day, on a loop. I think BB&B bought the discount CD this year.

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  19. This music is new to me, too. it's wonderful. And that's such a lovely memory of your dad.

    Jesus, Joseph and Mary look a bit concerned about the three wise guys in that second photo.

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  20. I think I understand about your memory of the song, you want it to remain a fresh memory not a memory of a memory. I'm scared to look at my father in my head (he died when I was 17) for fear I'll exhaust the image. I think memories can be examined closely but only once one has written them down or painted them or something and is no longer at a risk of losing them.

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