Well, Dear Reader…. it’s Friday, December 24, 2021. Christmas Eve…my 58th one (!) since I was born. It’s also:
- The 56th Christmas without my dad
- The 51st Christmas since we last celebrated the holidays with most of my mom’s family, including both grands and my cousin Mauricio, who died several years later
- The 50th since Mom, my older half-sister Vicky, and I last lived permanently in Bogota, Colombia
- The 44th since the Dark Year of 1977, which was marked by my beloved maternal grandfather’s death and my mom’s sale of our house in Westchester)
- The 28th since Mom and I (sans Vicky) spent Christmas with most of our surviving family members in Bogota
- The 11th since my mother’s health began its final decline
- The seventh since Mom, Vicky, and I spent Christmas as a family unit
- The sixth since Mom died on July 19, 2015, and the last one I spent in Miami. It was also the only one – thus far – that I spent on my own
- The fifth one in Lithia, Florida
To me, the strangest “anniversary” is the one that marks the half-century mark of the 1971 Christmas season. I was eight then, and my mom, Vicky, and I travelled from Bogota to Miami to spend the holidays with my mother’s best friend, Carmelita Carrillo, and her new husband, Norberto Blasco. That trip was memorable because it was full of bureaucratic mishaps and because I had a nasty bout of bronchitis that laid me low only a few days after Christmas.
Little did I know that only a few months later I’d have a more serious health issue – a cerebral hemorrhage – shortly after my ninth birthday. I recovered after an extended stay in the pediatrics wing of Bogota’s Hospital Militar, where I underwent medical treatment and rehabilitative therapy. Some of the doctors who oversaw my case advised Mom that I’d be better off living in the United States because Colombia’s health care system was – at the time, anyway – a bit lagging when it came to treating kids with disabilities.
Memory is a tricky thing, and sometimes I forget that even though we lived in Bogota in 1971, we did not spend Christmas there that year.
I don’t have any news to share, other than the fact that I purchased a Boston Pops Orchestra Christmas album earlier today. It’s a reissue of a 1970s recording, White Christmas, from the Arthur Fiedler era of the Pops. (In my lifetime, three conductors have led the Pops: Fiedler, John Williams, and Keith Lockhart.)
I chose White Christmas in part because it was not pricey ($11.99), but mostly because it’s sold by Amazon and is eligible for Amazon Prime delivery. I also chose it because it is a mix of secular and religious (or religiously inspired) music.
Here’s what’s on White Christmas:
|A Christmas Festival||9:40|
|A1a||Joy to the World|
|A1b||Deck the Halls|
|A1c||God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen|
|A1d||Good King Wenceslas|
|A1e||Hark! The Herald Angels Sing|
|A1f||The First Noel|
|A1i||O Come, All Ye Faithful|
|A2||Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring||3:25|
|B1||Sheep May Safely Graze||4:40|
|B3||Santa Claus is Coming to Town||2:30|
|B4||Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer||2:11|
|B5||Waltz of the Flowers||6:37|
Of course, since I ordered this about an hour ago it will not get here until after Christmas, although I can “stream” the digital version thanks to my Amazon Music subscription now.
In closing, I want to wish you, Dear Reader, a Merry (and drama-free) Christmas from lovely Lithia, Florida. And until next time, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.