Best Holiday Moments- Waiting

My family has always celebrated the Christmas holiday on Christmas Eve. On December 24, 1972,after the dinner dishes had been cleared, my mom herded my brother, sister, grandmother and me into a back bedroom to wait for Santa Claus. I was four and a half, and mostly excited about what Santa might bring me for Christmas. I hadn't thought about much else all day.

I just wanted to be out of that room already.

I fidgeted on the floor as my dad came in with his guitar and sat down in a chair. He strummed a few chords, then sang and played the hand-full of songs he knew. I don't think my dad ever learned any others, because he always played the same couple of songs.

Whenever I hear one of these songs I am transported to that small room, sitting on the carpet nestled between my older siblings. At first, I was amazed to discover that my father could play a guitar. Then I was amazed that he sang to us, because it wasn't something he usually did.

But I was even more amazed by the stories inside the songs. The songs transported me. I was no longer impatiently awaiting the arrival of Santa. I was listening.

The most Christmas-y of the songs in my Dad's repetoire was Joy to the World. Not the Christmas carol, but the seventies peace anthem. It was the most awesome thing I'd ever heard. I mean, my dad was singing a song about a bull frog named Jeremiah. How cool was that?

The next classic was "If I had a hammer," another song of its time about peace and love, that had a repetitive riff that was easy to follow.

But my favorite was the tragically romantic ballad "El Paso." It was a song about a man who falls in love with a girl named Felina with "wicked and evil" eyes. After seeing Felina drinking with another man, the singer gets into a fight and ends up killing the other man. The singer runs away, but his deep love for Felina brings him back. When he gets back to the bar, a group of cowboys is waiting for him and he is shot. Felina comes out and holds him as he dies.

Whoa. That was a story.

I was four. And I was hooked.

I have no idea what Santa brought me for Christmas that year.

But I remember the songs. I remember the stories.

Maybe I'll ask my dad to pull out the guitar again this year.


It's funny how those sad-story songs make such an impact on kids. I used to think "Me and Bobby McGee" was the saddest thing ever.

Also, very important to note how we look forward to the gifts, but in the end, that's not what we remember.

Post a Comment

Grid_spot theme adapted by Lia Keyes. Powered by Blogger.


discover what the Muses get up to when they're not Musing

an ever-growing resource for writers

Popular Musings

Your Responses

Fellow Musers