...and say we did, okay?
I'm not whining about the poverty that keeps me from flooding my wonderful friends with gifts. Nor am I talking about the sure knowledge that I will be, as has been the case for so many years, alone on Dec. 25th. I mean, I've gotten my presents, and they are so much better than I could have hoped.
Nope, this is different. What I'm talking about is the simple fact that my emotions, even in the happiest of Christmas seasons, are right on the surface for all to see, and sometimes I get pretty wrought up without warning.
PARENTHETICAL ALWAYS-A-SILVER-LINING THOUGHT: Since there won't be anyone around to see them, it matters not at all, I guess.
A perfect example: I was talking to my musician friend R. today. After we had gone through our "normal" range of topics, we started to talk about Christmas music. I pointed out that (a) I refuse to listen to any before about December 20th, and (b) almost never buy albums of such music. After all, they're only good for a week or two, tops, and sit on the shelves for 11-plus months.
Without warning, he said "listen to this" and cued up a track of Diana Krall singing Mel Torme's "The Christmas Song."
Sheesh, pal, why not just slice open one or two of my arteries?
I've said it before. Diana Krall is, in my estimation, the closest thing to a perfect female vocalist this planet has yet produced. Her voice in unearthly; pure, never forced and always on pitch. I have yet to find a single point in her style worth criticism, no matter what tune -- or in what style -- she happens to be singing.
And she is very, very easy on the eyes.
Even more, that particular song is, as far as I'm concerned, the ultimate popular Christmas song. It's not the lyrics, particularly; they're good, maybe not great. But the melody and harmonic structure achieve greatness. It can be performed emotionally (as Krall does) or up-tempo jazzy.
The combination of performer and song was enough to bring tears to my eyes. And did.
PARENTHETICAL NO-ACCOUNTING-FOR-TASTE NOTE: R. believes Vince Guaraldi's "Christmas Time is Here," written some years go for a "Peanuts" animated Christmas show, is the best contemporary Christmas song. I'd put it right below Mel's work. Doesn't matter, though, because Krall covers both tunes on the CD. Perfectly.
I didn't have this CD -- I said I don't buy Christmas records often, did I not? -- but, as of late this afternoon, I do. On a five-star rating chart, I give it six stars.
But I am very much afraid that, come Christmas Eve, listening to it is going to break me apart completely.
It's all very complex, and I refuse to detail all the elements that dig so deeply this time of year. They involve visions of the holiday partially seen in the past, and others that have so far existed only in my imagination. Hearing this music -- and a select few recordings -- brings on too strong a contrast between what I have (and am) and what I want.
Some time after January 1, I'll be fine. Really.
Until then, it's going to be a rough emotional ride.
6 hours ago