Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sounds of Music: Ghosts of Christmas Past #2

Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things....
Rodgers and Hammerstein

Christmas afternoon four or five years ago, I was watching the Sound of Music on T.V. with my niece...who I think was five at the time, but already knew all the songs. Responding to an on-screen exchange, she asked me what Heil Hitler meant....I said “um...well...Hitler was a very mean man. And, when that guy says that, it means he likes the mean man, but Mr. Von Trapp won’t say it because he’s a nice man and....” Fortunately, she lost interest.....

One good thing about music, when it hits you feel no pain....
Bob Marley

The day after my dad’s memorial service, I walked into a family discussion about whose house would be least depressing for the holidays....I said let’s go somewhere far away and warm.... Four months later, on Christmas Eve, my mom, younger brother, and I flew to the island nation of St. Lucia, after a bumpy drive through rainforest, mountains, and banana plantations, arriving at an all-inclusive resort on the Caribbean side...though I didn't realize until they kept bringing us these incredibly potent rum punches as we waited for our rooms to be ready that all-inclusive included unlimited alcohol...knowing at that moment that no writing or anything else productive would be done on this trip...very easily could have drowned wading in warm black water beneath stars not quite of Bethlehem late that very night...but didn’t....every morning after breakfast, would wander down to the beach, paddle a kayak along the shore for an hour or two, then shower off salt and sand outdoors, jump into the pool and swim over to the bar for the day’s first mango daiquiri....after lunch—probably some amazing fish, and more daiquiris, or anything else that could be crafted with rum, tropical fruits, and a blender—usually lie on the beach listening to reggae through headphones until nightfall...though giving myself credit for not visiting the Rasta craft stand at the public beach next door, until the final day....the house band, if I managed to retain consciousness following dinner—likely more amazing fish and a pina colada or two—could be counted on to play Gregory Isaacs’ Night Nurse and mellower Marley...more Jammin’ than Burnin’ and Lootin’...mixed always with the incessant high pitched singing of tree frogs...and a note perfect rendition of Killing Me Softly With His Song (Fugees version)...one time...one time....

11 comments:

Buddha said...

Christmas without snow is like sex without a woman.
You don't feel the love.
Believe me I've been livin in Hollyweird for the last 25 years!

the walking man said...

...and of all the places I've ever spent Christmas and the surrounding months I think spending them in Reggae is the best.

Memory has an odd way of turning in on itself and rewriting history.

Aggie said...

Sounds like my kind of drunken sot do-nothin, do-lally holiday. Course, I've never had a white Christmas in my life.
I prefer the warm! Cheers.

finola said...

And from the very paradise spoken of here, let me say, you gotta know what to do with no-snow Christmas...Christmas true Lucian style can be a pretty good thing, Santa arriving on the back of a speedboat or up the drive on an old landrover...and the season goes right through to 'Ol' Year's Night' where you dance the old year out and 'make daybreak' and christen the New Year with cocoa tea and bakes for breakfast before heading home to sleep briefly before a big New Year's Day lunch. Dr Jay gotta come back some day and visit the island as well as the hotel...

svasti said...

Mmmm, daiquiris and pina coladas... with fresh fruit and coconut-y goodness.

I'm not sure about the Marley quote - I mean, as I just wrote over at my place... there's quite a bit of pain that *can* be associated with music...

But for the most part, when its not dredging up memories of things you don't wanna know about, then, yeah.

What a surprise you wanted to go somewhere warm and sunny, eh? ;)

Sounds like the perfect tonic (no pun intended). And sometimes alcohol on tap is a little bit like that.

I wanna be on that beach with the kayaks and the swimming and the fresh fish and the salt and sand and oh... lalala...

I know you don't believe me about the possibility of New Zealand reggae, but you really should listen to The Black Seeds.

Mariah said...

This is an awesome post. I love the writing style, and I can hear every song which makes me happy. :)

Seeing Eye Chick said...

Unlimited Alcohol? Warm Carribean Water, stars? Tree frogs trilling? Sounds soothing, like anesthetic in the moonlight, sans needles.

Very few white Christmases where I live too. Its only weird though when you realize you are singing about snow all the time.

Christine Vyrnon said...

For argument's sake, I disagree with mr. bob's statement about music. Music doesn't always kill so softly.

To keep from sounding too disagreeable... the caribbean sounds lovely and therapeutic from the drama of the predictable northern season... a good place to actually Let Go.

Chrissy said...

Oooh this post conjured up some lovely thoughts. Rum, swimming, tasty fish,laid back music...
:D
I have never managed to get away for Christmas but we rarely get snow over Christmas in the UK nowadays, usually windly and dull. I know where I would sooner be.

flawedangel said...

Love this post. I could almost feel the salt on my skin and the daiquiri on my tongue reading it. ;)

Here I am out in the tropics where it is hot and humid all.the.time... and my idea of a perfect getaway is some mountain lodge, crisp air (snow optional), certainly where it's cooler. :P The grass is always greener and all that eh?

Lana Gramlich said...

It's funny, sometimes, how kids get interested in things & how difficult it is to explain what's going on. I was reading a book on the Roman invasion of Britain once when my nephew popped up next to me on the couch, saw the paintings & pictures of artifacts in the book & wanted to know all about it. Everything I said was countered with the ever-unanswerable "why?" Knowing it was really a bit more than he was able to fully understand at the ripe old age of 5, I finally gave up & said, "Well...it's all very complicated." With that we were off to play with legos.