Joyful, Cheery Sounds

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On my way into work this morning, while there was frost on my

windshield and rear window, I blasted my heater and I was once

again, thankful for the warmth and the sound of the air coming

out with a whoosh! The radio was playing one of the most cheery

songs, with a country twang in her voice, Brenda Lee was singing,

“Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” The radio announcer was

using a pleasant, vibrant sounding voice, “Good Morning and let’s

all say, ‘Happy 70th Birthday to . . . Brenda Lee!'”

The first recording of this rocking song was in 1958, written by

Johnny Marks, for Decca Records.

 

While driving behind the school bus, the air brakes squealing and

the door opening on London Road,  to admit busy and excited

high schoolers, (yes, I am up that early!) I felt the movement in

my feet tapping to the music on the radio and the emotions of

the students, too. I usually wish I weren’t ‘stuck’ behind a school

bus, since this means two stops on London Road, along with the

longer stop at the railroad where we ‘catch’ the train, having to

wait for it to pass by. The train whistle blew, the steam was puffing

out of the ‘chimney’ and I felt the rumbling of its approaching

and then listened to the rattling of the clickety-clack.  That is how I

would describe the repetition of the sound.

 

Once I got into my building, several people call out my name, some

who are going off to sleep, (third shifters) and those who are on my

own shift, greeting me. These are happy people since our bosses

had decided to pack our day with ‘heavy’ work and include our half

day’s worth of work we usually do on Friday and complete it today.

This means a three day weekend! Hurrah!

 

At first break, I told my two friends, Tammy and Karen, about Brenda

Lee’s birthday. We agreed the song was still a popular one, the way

it has a lot of joy and glee in its words. Then, Tammy told me she has

been enjoying listening to Harry Connick, Jr. and Lady Antebellum’s

Christmas albums. Karen stated she loves her older albums, now on

Cd’s which include those familiar voices which bring nostalgia into

her home and heart. She likes Bing Crosby, Dean Martin and Burl

Ives.

I started making a list in my head, of the songs and people they were

talking about and decided to also, include some of my own personal

favorite songs and carols, along with some memorable sounds of the

holiday season. This is a compilation of some of my favorites, along

with some coworkers’ suggestions:

SONGS:

1. Harry Connick, Jr. singing, “Sleigh Ride,” which begins with the

words,

“Just hear those sleigh bells jingling,

Ring, ting tingling too…” (Thanks to my friend, Tammy.)

 

2. Dean Martin singing, “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,”

which was written in 1951, by Meredith Wilson.

 

3. Bing Crosby singing, “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.” This

makes me sad, thinking of those who are in the armed services who

may not make it home for Christmas. The thought of the Bob Hope’s

USO holiday celebrations overseas for years and years, quickly cheers

me up again. This tradition carries on still through the help of the

USO.org. There was a lovely photograph of Idina Menzel with some

military families representing the USO. I hope the troops have a lot

of fun and the jokes make them laugh out loud, like Bob Hope would

wish this to go. “Thanks for the memories, Bob!”

Here is a short schedule of locations they are expected to be

entertaining the troops:

Dec. 7-16, 2014:  Japan, Guan and Hawaii, with the Dallas Cowboys

Cheerleaders.

Dec. 13- Clare Bowen (Hostess) at Tinker Air Force Base,  Oklahoma.

Dec. 16- Anthony Hamilton (Host) at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.

Jan. 3 – 9, 2015:  Robert Irvine (Host) at Japan and Okinawa.

(Thanks to my friend, Karen, for reminding me of both Bob Hope

and the USO, along with Bing Crosby and Dean Martin’s songs.)

 

3. Whitney Houston singing the hymnal carol, “Do You Hear What I

Hear?”

(Thank you to Melvin, my coworker, who suggested this version but

I enjoy Carrie Underwood’s ‘take’ on this lovely song also. )

Here is a bit of the history of the song:  It was written in 1962, by a

married couple who were moved by seeing children on the streets

of New York City (babies in strollers) and what the lamb might have

heard in the manger scene. This was on the cusp of the Cuban Missile

Crisis, which is why there are words imparting a message of Peace.

The lyrics were written by Noel Regney and the music was written by

his wife, Gloria Shayne Baker.

 

4. John Lennon and Yoko Ono, “Happy Xmas/War is Over,” which

begins with the words, “So This is Christmas.” It was written in 1971,

with tongue in cheek, by John and Yoko, in protest to the Viet Nam

War. It is also said they were thinking of their future children and

what children would ‘inherit’ in the world, with war still going on.

(Their son, Sean Lennon, was not born until 1975.)

When this song was produced, the voices of John, Yoko, the Plastic

Ono Band (with instrumentals) and the Harlem Community Choir

were beautifully blended together. The flip side of this single was

called, “Listen, the Snow is Falling.” The cover of this is ‘vintage’

looking in sepia brown and beige, with the children’s choir, ages 4-14,

included on it.

This song was also played a lot, after John Lennon was murdered on

December 8, 1980; 34 years ago this week.

*This is one of my own personal favorites.

 

5. Nat King Cole singing, “The Christmas Song,” also recognized as,

“Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire.” This lovely song was written

in 1944, by Bob Wells and Mel Torme.

*Another of my favorites, since my parents played this on their stereo.

 

6. Bruce Springsteen’s version of the old classic song, “Santa Claus Is

Coming to Town.” This is the 2nd oldest song on the list today. It was

written in 1934, by John F. Coats and Haven Gillespie. It was presented

for the first time on the Eddie Cantor’s Radio Show. Later, in 1935, it was

also recorded by the Tommy Dorsey Band. My parents listened to this

version on the stereo and radio.

*I love the way Bruce ‘rocks this one out!’

 

7. My friend Cheryl thought the carol, which to her sounds like it belongs

in a church with a choir, “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” sung by

Julie Andrews, is her favorite song of all time.  This hymn was written

by a Unitarian minister, Edmund Sears, in 1849. He lived in Wayland,

Massachusetts. There are various versions of music to go with his

moving words.

Here are a few unusual ones to share with you:

Sergio Franchi sang this in 1965. He was an Italian opera tenor, who

died in Connecticut.

Eric Burdon and the Animals used the music from “The House of

the Rising Sun,” to accompany these lyrics.

Stefan Borsch, (Sweden) performed this in his native language.

The Lettermen performed and put this on a Christmas album in

1987.

Darryl Hall and John Oates included this in a Christmas album.

Anne Murray sang this in 2001, which I feel this would be simple

and beautifully done.

Josh Groban, who is known for singing operatic style, sang this in

2007. He does a fine performance of the song, “You Lift Me Up.”

 

Cheryl is feeling much better about her grandson’s recent death,

since she enlarged a favorite photograph of Christopher when he

was only 6 years old, with her mother, his great-grandmother. She

likes to say often, “Christopher is up in Heaven with my Mom.”

Last Christmas, you may have noticed, Cheryl had me write down a

short message/poem she had written in memorial of her mother’s

fifth anniversary of her death. We are close to one another in the way

we get emotional and are sentimental. She is my one coworker who

cried and held my hand, while we watched the first Inauguration of

President Barack Obama. If you did not read the one night I wrote,

“I have to go,” over and over on a post, you may not know that her

grandson died in his sleep, due to his weakened body, his having both

a combination of the flu and a cold. The autopsy of this fine 23 year

old graduate of Delaware High School and Columbus State student

will not be completed until after the first of the New Year. Cheryl takes

comfort that he had put up his Christmas tree the day of his death and

had also called her to tell her he was putting on some special family

ornaments she had given him when he turned 21.

 

Here are special sounds that are permanently etched into my own

memories:

1. A fire in a fireplace crackling. The logs making a ‘thump’ when they

fall into one another. There is peaceful serenity in listening to a fire.

2. A little child whispering in your ear. This almost makes the hairs

on my arms stand on end. It is magical, whatever words are told.

3. The ‘clink’ of a crystal or glass against another one, while a toast

is being given. The sound of the repeated ‘clinks’ at weddings, to get

the bride and groom to kiss, makes me smile.

4. Dogs bounding towards the door, barking or yipping loudly,

announcing the arrival of guests.

5. The door slammed. I imagine those who have little children saying

to themselves, “Oh, how annoying…” and following this with a lecture

to their children, “We never slam doors in our house.” Somehow, one

day it will come to this, you will wish to hear the door slamming with

the following sound of the words, “Mommy/Daddy. . . I’m home!”

Trust me on this.

6. Baby lambs in the country kitchen of my first babysitter, Mrs. Auble,

“Baa-ing” or ‘bleating’ for their milk bottles, followed by the slurping

noises of their drinking and pulling on the bottles, furiously tugging.

7. Hearty yells.  Across sledding hills, neighbors greeting each other

across streets and yards, and the one voice, that would bring you

running home for lunch (summer) and dinner (winter).

8. Leather boots or rubber boots crunching through the snow. The

sound of the crunch makes you stop talking and ponder in wonder.

9. Birds chirping and singing despite the weather. They always seem

to not be concerned with the cold, brisk air. Their songs echoing in the

early morning air. (Particularly, for me, the cardinal’s message.)

10. The sound of a familiar voice coming across the air waves, now

on cell phone. Back then, on a heavy, black rotary dial phone, of

loved ones (grandparents) far away.

 

Those are my carefully chosen Top Ten “sounds,” will you please let us

know what sounds make you happy, particularly around the holidays?

You may mention a song or a personal memory. . .

 

 

 

 

 

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26 responses »

    • It sounds like fun listening to music while ice skating. I used to love ice skating but never did it a public place, but the disco music they played at the roller skating rink was also wonderful!
      You are so right, Hollis about Brenda Lee’s song, so long ago and still so fresh!

  1. Whenever I am think of ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’ I cannot help but think of ‘Jingle Bell Rock’, another rockin’ way to celebrate the holidays which was first recorded by Bobby Helms (also on the Decca label) in 1957. Interestingly, Brenda Lee also recorded a version of Jingle Bell Rock in 1964. It remains one of my seasonal favorites.

    I think the happiest sounding holiday song is ‘Feliz Navidad’ by Jose Feliciano. I only mention that because the Mexican Singer, Tatiana did a Spanish version of Jingle Bell Rock, and the album, Navidad Rock, is a bestseller in Mexico.

    ¡Feliz Navidad a ti y a tus compañeros de trabajo! – Mike

    • I used to enjoy “Feliz Navidad,” Mike. I named my last daughter, Gretchen, her father came into the nursery and took her name back. She was too ‘cute’ in his opinion to carry out the German name I had decided to give her. I was listening to Christmas music (she was a December baby) and we named her “Felicia.”
      I appreciate my wishes given by you for my friends at work and me to have a Happy and Merry Christmas. I have not heard Tatiana’s version but would probably love the Spanish version of Jingle Bell Rock, so glad you found the Brenda Lee and Bobby Helms’ versions to share here. I went off from the library to eat lunch with my girlfriend. It is sunny and over 40 degrees, soon to be into the 50’s in a couple of days!
      Happy Holidays and wishing you all your dreams come true, Mike.

  2. I love your lists and memories Robin, though I send sincere condolences to your friend who lost her beloved grand-son – that must be the most painful thing to endure, the depth of which I simply cannot imagine!

    I love the smell of real pine trees and the flickering of lots of candles, lit for loved ones no longer with us or those who cannot be with us this year. My favourite memories involve such occasions, sitting with dear friends and reminiscing, singing carols and toasting our absent loved ones.

    • I cannot imagine the pain and would probably wish to bargain with the ‘devil’ if I knew ahead what would happen to one of my grandchildren (or children). No one should have to lose a child or grandchild, I feel bad for one of my past followers, Karen, who lost her son at a young age.
      Pauline, thanks for this caring and kind condolences for Cheryl. I will tell her, since I mentioned I would be blogging about the songs and carols, along with telling about Christopher. He was a handsome young man, Christopher Jordan of Delaware, Ohio. Passed away in Columbus, OH.
      Franklin County’s forensic team is almost a month behind to determine blood and tissue samples’ results.
      It won’t give her much comfort to know the “how,” since she does know he was with his girlfriend asleep. It was weird, she called 9-1-1 and then Cheryl. (She says, she ‘felt’ his last breath, the silence made her awaken in the middle of the night, she tried compressions on his chest and breaths into his mouth, too. Cheryl had raised him since he was only 2 years old until age 19.) Sad…
      I am sorry, especially should know about your own loss of loved ones. I hope you have not had this happen to you, Pauline. Not a child or spouse…

      The idea of real pine trees, heavenly. The wonder in candles, memories and reminiscing while singing and talking are such lovely ways to celebrate and bring meaning to the holidays (or any days…) Thanks, Pauline. Big hugs!!

  3. When it comes to Christmas music, I’m a sucker for Frank Sinatra. I love Ole Blue Eyes any time of the year though. A sound that comes to mind is sleigh bells… There is a family outside our town (rural Western Kansas) that has Clydesdale horses. They were taking them around town on a cold winter evening. Snow flurries were in the air. The bells on the sleigh they pulled (well not really a sleigh but the seat for the driver and whatever they have hitched to it to accommodate a redneck wedding party or hay rack rides…but on this night, it was just the drivers wagon for the drivers) were ringing as they took their steps. Those horses are so majestic looking. My son, who had just turned two went to the door and opened it, bounding onto the porch with a very quizzical “Santa?” as he looked around. It wasn’t Santa, but we did get to see the Clydesdales trot down the street with the sleigh bells jingling all the way!

    • I am so sorry, you ended up in my pending approval column of wordpress, which is so strange when this happens. After all, we are both on wordpress not an alien website?!
      I was blessed with your sweet comments about Frank Sinatra. I also love the images you shared of rural Western Kansas. This would make a beautiful poem or post on your blog!!
      I love the two year old son thinking the sleigh bells and clomping hooves of the Clydesdale horses sounded like Santa’s sleigh with reindeers. How precious this was, so sorry I did not get this on my post for others to read… Thanks, Hollie.
      I hope your new year of 2015 will be splendid and I will sincerely wish we will stay connected… Hugs, Robin

      • WordPress does strange things sometimes…i forget to check my pending comments, though a time or two a friend seems to get banished to the pending comments for no reason what so ever. I hope your 2015 is full of blessings, Robin!

  4. My thoughts and prayers are with your friend, Cheryl. It’s so hard and often the holidays make it more difficult to deal with such a tragedy.
    I love all things Christmas! The lights, the trees, the wreaths and especially the music. I’m one of those people who decorates the first weekend in November and plays Christmas music non-stop. 🙂

    • Thank you sincerely, Jill. I will mention to Cheryl these caring thoughts and prayers. I am sure she is covering some of her sorrow, I spent three hours when I found out, at her home, the night after his death. We pored over photo albums, ones where she had taken every birthday and holiday photograph. She had raised him since age 2 years old, he called her “Mama Nana” for years, she said. But the photo we found with Christopher and her mother is precious. It has him leaning across his Great Grandmother’s shoulders while wearing a bathing suit, she has her arm crossed across her chest, holding the hand that is around her shoulders. His face is cheek to cheek with hers, she is sitting in a beach chair, so nice. Two angels…

      I like your list of Christmas trees, wreaths and music. I came home from Mom’s on Sunday glad that I had tackled the decorations before I left on Tues. before Thanksgiving, of that week. It is not as big of a splash as I used to do, so it is always fun to go to friends’ homes and riding in a car looking at Christmas lights with my grandchildren, too. My son and his wife, along with my daughter and her Mike have decorated up a storm, which makes it fun to see how the ornaments I passed on to them find their places in their homes. I have a little tree with birds’ nests, checkered burgundy ribbons and lights, but my most favorite decoration is my crèche scene. Well, hope I didn’t make you fall asleep, almost wrote another post…. ha ha!

  5. Sadly, I know a person who was late-deafened, and I can say that I have never taken a single sound for granted since. It is so very precious and at this time of year, the sound of Christmas music especially. So grateful for it. We’re having a big concert Sunday night at our church which I can’t wait to attend.
    (Robin, totally off-topic here but pursuant to my post about the blue spruce from Ohio, I don’t know if you noticed that my friend Joanne mentioned that her husband knows Ned and actually went to Boy Scouts with him. )

    • Wow, I am so happy he knew Ned, I will go back and re-check your comments. Thanks, Barb for mentioning this. I am sometimes re-miss in getting back to following up on comments. You are such a dear for letting me know he is still alive and hope he is happy, too.
      I am always sad when I think of the ones who cannot see the lights, due to eyesight problems or even blindness, along with those who cannot hear… The song, “Do You Hear What I Hear?” would be especially poignant in this regards.
      Thanks for reminding me about different senses which are not always fully functioning. I had a friend who used to comment and wrote a blog, he was a poet named Michael. He gave up writing since he said it was very difficult for him to see his screen. He encouraged me to walk in nature, to ride a bike and never to take my abilities for granted. I think his old blog was called, Michael’s Purple Platitudes?” I would have to look back a year or so to see his comments…
      Hugs to you and yours… Happy Holidays, once again. We will mention these wishes often because you never know what might tear us away from our blogging friends…

  6. You always have a great list of songs, Robin. I want to add just one this time, from a band from your neck of the woods, too. Chrissie Hynde leading The Pretenders through “(2000 Miles) It Must Be Christmas Time)” is a favorite among the our-era written Christmas songs. Happy and Merry to all. 🙂

    • I like that you not only add a favorite here, give some background and let others know where Chrissie Hynde is from, too. “It Must Be Christmas Time” is a great addition to this list, Mark! Thanks for the wishes for “Happy and Merry to All,” too.

  7. I do love turning on the sound of upbeat and joyous sounds at Christmas Robin. Thank you for this list!

    I’m very sorry for your friend’s loss. I hope for comfort and love to surround her at this time.

    • I appreciate these thoughts of turning the sound up for happy songs and sounds of Christmas! Yay, Colleen! Blast the ‘bad’ moments and thoughts from our minds and enrich ourselves with Joy.
      I will share everyone’s condolences with Cheryl. She seems to be coping much better than I would. She has such intense and enduring faith, Colleen.

  8. I love Christmas songs and hymns as I find them very uplifting. I love your list of memories Robin. My maternal grandmother used to make a bread pudding with raisins for Christmas and I remember looking forward to that almost as much as my presents 🙂 sadly no one in our family has been able to duplicate that pudding.

    • Oh, I wish I could taste that bread pudding with raisins, Yolanda! I know it would be delicious. I am a fan of oatmeal raisin cookies and iced raisin bread toasted, so anything with raisins (and your endorsement! hugs!) gets my wishing I could taste this. Your maternal grandmother should have given somebody a copy of the recipe. But, sometimes the best bakers and cooks don’t even use recipes!
      I am glad you love my list of memories and thank you for bringing smiles my way, too.

  9. Great list of holiday sounds:-) My favorite is the sound of snow! Meaning it’s going to be a white Christmas!!! Hugs! And keep warm listening to those Christmas Carols!!!!

    • I can hear your boots crunching on the snowy paths, while you chase down lovely views and natural wonders to share with us, Tracy! Thanks for the warm thoughts, too. Hugs, Robin

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