I was a skinny, mousey-haired grade-niner trembling in my go-go boots when I stood on the stage to try out for the school play. Miss Cuthbertson pounded away at the piano adding her boisterous voice to mine as it teetered on each faltering note. After my humiliating audition, I skulked away from centre stage to disappear into the darkness of the wings. There was no point in waiting around for the judge’s decision. They needed singers and I wasn’t much of one.
Of course, in later years, that didn’t stop me from belting out a few tunes in Mexican bars during my winter sojourns. Heck, I’d even take requests. I’ll never forget when this old guy’s wife said ‘Don’t bother her again dear, she’s on vacation’. I must have been that good – or maybe she couldn’t stand another rendition of Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy’s jj When I’m calling you. Oo-oo-oo-oo, oo-oo-oo-oo.jj Hey, it was a request. But, tequila aside, where was I going with this?
Oh, right, that song from my high school tryouts. It resonates at this time of year. I find myself humming it and occasionally I get carried away and warble a line or two – a little off key, of course.
fjjfThe moon belongs to ev’ryone jThe best things in life are free jjThe stars belong to ev’ryonej They gleam there for you and me…fjI can’t hear you. Louder! Just kidding. Sorry if this melody sticks in your head. It’s annoying when that happens with a song.
I’m not spouting off about this just because I irrefutably detest store hopping. The cursing, muttering, and snarling that accompanies every shopping expedition – at least mine – hasn’t even crossed my mind.
The older I get, the more I realize the best things in life are, indeed, free. Happiness doesn’t come from a gift box. (I still need that new iPad, Marv) And love isn’t measured by the length of time you wait in line with a Keurig tucked under your arm. Forget the tower of gifts. I’m not saying this because my head throbs at the thought of fighting traffic while looking for a place to park – just one lousy parking spot. Or because road rage in parking lots is at an all time high. We all know that.
It seems that Christmas spirit is divided into price ranges according to how much we love them or how long we’ve known them. This could get dicey. Not to mention stressful. Especially when credit card bills fill your inbox. The best part is reminiscing about cherished moments and making new memories.
Cut back on the number of presents (buy the tablet, Marv) and give your loved ones something more valuable than anything you can find in a store. In my opinion, the neatest gift of all is time spent with loved ones over a delectable meal – preferably at their house.
Instead of creating chaos with mountains of wrapping paper strewn around the room and discarded bows stuck to the hardwood floor, gather around the piano. Pick up a guitar. Encourage the little ones to dance. Hand out the music sheets and join voices – I know I’ll add mine – to celebrate the season. Don’t forget the spiced eggnog. The memory of carols sung in front of the fireplace will last longer than Uncle Bob’s Grilled Cheese Maker. Within a year, he’ll likely forget who gave it to him.
Exchange the frantic, stressful hours of shopping for quality time with friends and family. That’s the most precious gift of all. The best things in life are free.