Thursday, December 24, 2015

A note about Christmas 2015

¯ about Christmas 2015

Okay, here it is.  For the second year in a row, 
I’m sitting down to write a Christmas greeting having just lost someone dear.  
So, how to write a Merry Christmas greeting without it becoming a sad story?   I am clueless.

Last year, I just did the minimum at Christmas and struggled to send the annual greeting to a few.  This year, well, it really isn’t better.  Most of you already know that Dad passed away in November 2014 and now oldest brother, Gus, died this year, also in November.  The patriarchs of two families are now missing during this holiday time of year.  To say it is a blow, is an understatement to be sure.  I can’t pretend that I can see a silver lining, but I do feel that the holidays bring a special joy that seems to somehow lift my spirits.  For me, it is the sparkle of decorations and lights, the sounds of children’s squeals in the stores as they see their special ‘want’, the traditions of tree, presents and cards, the many greetings from friends far and near, a surprise box of cookies & treats arriving in the mail, and most of all, the familiar music that lifts my spirit and brings a smile.
I do believe that music has the power to take us away, to a special place somewhere in our memory.  I remember watching Dad as he listened to a harp player in the family room at the hospital.  His face changed, I felt he was transported to a different place.  Watching Dad & Ev listen to Lawrence Welk on Saturday nights was much the same.  They tapped a toe to the rhythm but maybe their minds and hearts were visiting a day of dancing in their younger years.  I can well remember hearing Gus’s voice singing Go Tell It on the Mountain in the high school choir years ago and more recently, belting out a Danish hymn, in phonetically awful Danish, just to make my Aunt Ane Marie smile.   When I hear Silent Night, I always think of sitting in the church at West Denmark on Christmas Eve, sentimental tears often spring to my eyes.  Music seems to have the power to heal, soothe, recall a specific memory, inspire, relax, excite, and maybe even change our lives. 

I’m taking piano lessons and I learn a little each week about the theory of music and I learn volumes about my ability to focus, to enjoy the process of learning and to improve my piano skills.

Not everyone knew that Dad played the violin as a young man; I never did see him play.   One day, when Dad was 90, he worked on tuning this old violin, and in the end decided it needed repairs.  He reminisced about his youth and playing in the West Denmark orchestra with friends and relatives.  Dad had carried this violin with him through his 92 years and finally it ended up with me when we said goodbye to Dad last year.  It was always Dad’s wish to have this violin be played again, if possible.  So, last summer, the violin was restored to good working condition.  The violin expert tells us that this instrument was crafted around 1900 and now, 115 years later, it continues to make beautiful sounds & Dad’s wish has come true. 

My card photo, Dad’s the violin upon return from the restoration, is thanks to my niece-in-law, Camilla.  Nephew Ryan & Camilla’s daughter, Milena, is now taking lessons using Dad’s old violin.  It is very sweet to know that this violin is once again making music.

So, just for a bit, let’s turn off the news, and turn on the music.   We can enjoy the peace of mind that the music of the season spreads.  Let your hearts be light, be home for Christmas if only in your dreams, deck the halls, roll out the barrel (whoops), and have yourself a merry little Christmas now.

 A musical greeting from Wanda
Click below to hear my Christmas piano project.

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