Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

I first wrote this blog in 2013.  It has special meaning this year for a few reasons.  First, we could not attend a Cleveland Orchestra concert in person due to the pandemic.  Second, the last member of my family from the World War II generation died last week.  My great Aunt Emily, my grandmother’s sister, was also my godmother.  She personified the World War II generation.  She worked hard, never complained, and gave of herself to everyone.  She will be missed.  Godspeed, Aunt Emily. 

The last few years, Kelly and I have kicked off the holiday season by attending a Christmas concert by the Cleveland Orchestra with good friends. Regardless of your beliefs, put attending a holiday concert by an orchestra on the bucket list if you haven’t already done so. Hearing classical arrangements of carols both old and new puts things in a different light, at least for me.

The conductor did a wonderful job providing context to the songs. One in particular hit home to me. I’ve seen the movie “Meet Me in St. Louis” with Judy Garland. In that wartime movie (1944), she sings “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” (video link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yudgy30Dd68

Warning: it will bring a tear to your eye.) The conductor explained how this became a wartime anthem in those still dark days of World War II, both home and abroad. It brought a smile to my face and a tear to my eye. My grandfather was one of those patriots that lied about his age to enlist in the Army after Pearl Harbor. He was not even 17 when the war broke out. He had just started dating my grandmother. He, of course, made it home and they got married.

I remember my grandparents singing “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” to each other over the years and the looks on their faces as they sang to one another. I never understood the significance of that song until I heard the conductor’s explanation. Music was a big part of their lives and a big part of our family holidays – we sang together before we could open presents. For some reason, their musical abilities were not passed down to any succeeding generation thus far. We’re well into generation 4 and the caroling sounds worse every year.

Grandpapa and Gram, as you look down upon us, know that your love and spirits live on. Merry Christmas.

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