A long, long time ago there was a little girl who loved to sing. What she lacked in talent, she made up for in volume. Typically, her song choice revolved around what was sung by Little Orphan Annie. But as Christmastime grew nearer, she's start singing all the Christmas songs she knew - which basically meant hours and hours of "Jingle Bells" and "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer."
Her parents had long since tuned her out, oblivious to the talent that she undoubtedly possessed. However, when her grandparents visited, she found that she had a fresh audience that would give her the attention she so clearly deserved. And so she sang for them - over and over again. Sometimes they would try to sing along, but she was always quick to point out that it was their job to listen and her job to sing thankyouverymuch.
One time, she was overcome by the Christmas spirit and allowed her grampa to sing WITH her ON CASSETTE TAPE! This, surely, was a sign that she was a *good* girl and that Santa should reward her with lots of gifts. For some reason, he insisted on singing "The First Noel" and since she had just learned the first verse in school recently, they compromised to sing the first verse over and over again.
Years later, the girl found the tape and listened to her childish voice and her grampa's deep baritone sing the Christmas song. She smiled, laughed at her own gusto, and the put the tape away to be listened to another day.
Throughout the years that followed, the girl would smile when that song came on the radio or was sung in church.
At first, she smiled because she remembered her own loud and boisterous singing.
A decade later, she smiled because she remembered how happy they were - singing in unison.
A few years after that, she smiled because she missed him - the man that loved Christmas like no one else. She remembered how he'd giddily exclaim that Santa told him that we were going to get great gifts that year. She remembered slinking down the stairs early in the morning to climb into the hideaway bed that her grandparents slept on when they visited from so far away. He never yelled at her for cuddling up to him - even when her cold feet touched him. She'd lay there as still as she could (which wasn't very still at all), thinking of all of the magic that was Christmas and relishing the feeling of being safe and loved. When her grandparents couldn't stand the wiggling any longer, they'd go upstairs to open up the gifts.
Did he love the holiday so much because he was born on Christmas? Or was it because he loved experiencing it with three little grandkids and finally got to see the holiday for the true gift that it is?
Whatever the case, the not-so little girl recently heard this version the other day...and just so you know, she still has a hard time not tearing up when she sings along.
I miss you, Grampa.
14 hours ago