Hey Mr. DJ – Put A Christmas Record On

{This is one of my favorite Christmas memories – and one of my first memories of anything really, so I’m not sure if it all actually happened, or if parts of it were a dream, or if I made the whole thing up. Regardless, it’s not important, as the main sentiment is intact – and if happiness is a delusion then let me be happily deluded, at least concerning Christmas.}

The walls of our family room are warmly paneled in a honey-hued wood. It is Christmas Eve circa 1979-1980, and my Mom, Dad, Gram, and baby brother are assembled and watching something on television. I am preoccupied with my Gram – it is enough just sitting on her lap and having her over for the holidays – I need nothing else. I remember snuggling down beneath a blanket and feeling like it must be the coziest place in the world, while waiting anxiously for Santa to arrive. I believed then.

Suddenly my Mom got up and started getting ready to go out, sliding on a winter coat and grabbing her purse and keys. She wouldn’t tell us where she was going, just that she needed to get something. Eventually I stopped asking questions and we played around for a while until she returned.

The garage opened and the car pulled in. Mom came through the door with a bag from Toys R’ Us that contained a record player. I didn’t know how she had done it – the nearest Toys R’ Us was many miles away (it was probably the first lesson in distance I ever learned). She had gone all that way for us – on Christmas Eve of all days – and I’ve never forgotten that.

I don’t know if she herself had forgotten to buy the player and realized she had gifted us a bunch of Christmas records, or if it just came into her head that night, but on that Christmas Eve we magically had music – and the songs of the season filled the room. From that moment onward I fell instantly in love with music of all kinds, and wore out the record player with songs from Sesame Street, the Magic Garden, and the Muppets. (My taste has evolved slightly since that time, but I still dig ‘The Rainbow Connection’.)

My concerns about Santa diminished as I sat there surrounded by family, listening to Christmas music, and knowing then and there that I would never be as happy again.

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