Saturday, December 20, 2008

"Where the love light gleams..."

A twinkly white Christmas tree in a window at the end of an empty street still wet with rain. And all underneath a star-like street lamp. This time of year is so contradictory: melancholy and wonderful, lonely and familial, inspirational and disappointing...

While I love the yuletide season's vivacious front with all the ho ho ho-ing and spiked nog and shiny new toys ... what speaks to me is the yearning behind it. When I noticed this scene the other night, I thought it symbolized every holiday homecoming that finds you at the same time lost and found, changed and same, happy and sad. And it reminded me of one of my favorite poignant Christmas songs by Walter Kent and Kim Gannon. It has been recorded by everyone from Bing Crosby to Dianna Krall, but I always think of the particularly wistful rendition by Johnny Mathis.

I'm dreaming tonight of a place I love
Even more than I usually do.
And although I know it's a long road back
I promise you...

I'll be home for Christmas
You can count on me.
Please have snow, and mistletoe,
And presents on the tree.

Christmas eve will find me
Where the love light gleams.
I'll be home for Christmas,
If only in my dreams.


Cleo said...

Hi!Cool blog,cool design!Cometed to me,please!

Ms Baroque said...

It's 20 years since I was home for Christmas and this song can make me cry in July.

Awful isn't it!

Double "D" said...

My childhood memories of Christmas are in my head, but I can only remember two. The year I got a BB gun,
"Be careful or you'll shoot your eye out" and the year I got an accordion. I just don't remember asking for that accordion. I took lessons for about 10 years and even played on Big Bud Lynndamon's Polka Hour on the radio when I was 12. Sold it so I could go to college, haven't touched one since. Christmas is now watching Christmas through the eye's of grandchildren. All eight of them. Ho, Ho, Ho!

Yakpate said...

What a beautiful post... rather brave, actually, to have revealed so much of the tenderness and yearning in your own soul.

That mood you captured might be the reason why I love our Christmas on Oscar Night so much. Some day you must share this brilliant invention with all your readers.

-K- said...

This is a great example of how much emotion can be delivered through a simple, unadulterated photograph.

Mister Earl said...

Wonderful post and photo, Laurie. And you're right about the melancholy and joy. It's a strange time of year, and a rough time for probably more people than not. Thank God we have float building and the Rose Parade to get us through it.

I'll Be Home for Christmas is a great song. I've been playing it on the ukulele the last couple years. I never realized how short and simple it is.

It reminds me of "I'll Be Seeing You" and "Back Home Again in Indiana."

From Wikipedia:

On October 4, 1943, Bing Crosby recorded "I'll Be Home for Christmas" with the John Scott Trotter Orchestra for Decca Records. James 'Kim' Gannon wrote the lyrics and Walter Kent composed the music. It touched a tender place in the hearts of Americans, both soldiers and civilians, who were then in the depths of World War II, and it earned Crosby his fifth gold record. "I'll Be Home for Christmas" became the most requested song at Christmas U.S.O. shows in both Europe and the Pacific and Yank, the GI magazine, said Crosby accomplished more for military morale than anyone else of that era.

Mister Earl said...

And how about this from Eliot's Preludes I:

The winter's evening settles down
With smells of steaks in passageways.
Six o'clock.
The burnt-out ends of smoky days.
And now a gusty shower wraps
The grimy scraps
Of withered leaves across your feet
And newpapers from vacant lots;
The showers beat
On empty blinds and chimney-pots,
And at the corner of the street
A lonely cab-horse steams and stamps.
And then the lighting of the lamps.

San Diego Farmgirl said...

Oscar Night Christmas is the best! Almost as good as Oscar Night Valentine's Day.

dbdubya said...

You have an amazing eye for wonderful shots. How long have you been holding this photo, Laurie? If you enlarge it and look at the cars parked down the street, they look like they could be 50's models. Take the cars out and this could have been taken in the 30's. And where did you find a street with only two cars parked? Not in South Pasadena in 2008. You've perfectly framed the small Christmas tree in the window across the street. Simply beautiful.

Christmas brings joy in unexpected places. I had a special gift last night. I was out with 6 couples who have all been friends since High School, or before. While waiting to get served, in walked my son and daughter-in-law, and my daughter and her boyfriend. They were celebrating the boyfriend's birthday. Although I see and talk to them regularly, a chance encounter in a packed restaurant was a special holiday surprise gift. And I'm comforted knowing that my kids, who couldn't stand each other when young, now choose to celebrate a special event with each other.

babooshka said...

Christmas now to Christmas then has changed some for me. The bronzed colour and sheen is a marvellous warming welcoming gift in this image with the starlight guiding the way. Now that is a familiar Christmas image.

Jutilda said...

You nailed it with not only the image but your sentiment. The minute you said Johnny Mathis, and I read the lyrics, I could hear it in my head immediately and got big tears. What a stunning shot, Laurie. For Christian believers, maybe it could symbolize that Star in the East too.

This may be an all time favorite. Happy Holidays to all, no matter what you celebrate or believe. There is always a light that shines for us, if we only open our eyes and hearts enough to see it. :~)

Mister Earl said...

Judy - I thought the same thing about the Star in the East.

Petrea said...

Photo and text: perfection.

jill said...

It is all the things you said. Your photo is beautiful. I used this song as the basis for a page I made honoring our servicemen and women and their families --


Shanna said...

A really beautiful post, Laurie. You expressed for me the tears that are in my eyes as I smile and decorate and wrap presents. Contradictory and poignant.

USelaine said...

That tree through the window is breath-taking. One ritual event is filtered through millions of family circumstances, with that mix of comforts and tensions you describe.

dbdubya said...

Jill - Your Christmas tribute to soldiers and their familes is beautiful. I'll be sharing it with my friends and family. God bless the men and women in the armed forces and their loved ones.

Dixie Jane said...

My long dissertation about a cake and songs and traditions never made it up on the comments. I could never do it again. I'll just say, thanks to you, Laurie, for the lovely picture that evoked such memories.

Laurie said...

Thanks so much, everyone!

I really enjoy reading all of your memories. This time of year truly connects us -- it's something I've been thinking a lot about lately, as you'll see by my next post.

Mister E, thanks again for more verse and great information!

Jill, I appreciate your efforts for our troops. (In this spirit, I encourage everyone to contact their local Veteran's Administration or Veteran Assistance Program to see what you can do to offer help.)

It's late and there are presents to wrap... until tomorrow...

chinese said...

merry christmas, good job.