Home for the Holidays?

It began in 1977.


That fall I shared a suite at Wake Forest with Jim Fredericks, Paul Kidder and Tom Walsh.  We were living in a basement suite in Davis dorm that few even knew existed.  It was beneath a stairwell, with a long hallway and a sitting room that we transformed into a small den.  

When we came back from Thanksgiving break we decided to do a little decorating to make the season bright.  The years and the memory are a bit fuzzy.  I think I recall a strand of light run around the ceiling, a small tabletop size tree (which itself was probably against the rules.) 

Celebrate Me Home.jpg

Like I said, after 41 years the memories are beginning to morph together.  One thing that is certain however, is that while we were decorating, playing on the stereo, was Kenny Loggin’s Celebrate Me Home album.  

It has become my Christmas album.  

Every year as our family begins to decorate we play Celebrate Me Home!

“Home for the holidays,
I believe I’ve missed each and every face…”

As the tree is put up the memories just pour.  Our tree is decorated with ornaments that friends have given us through the years.

A golden church given us by a friend in our first church which always finds a place near the top of the tree
A little Christmas tree some friends brought us from Germany
Some cutouts of the girls through the years from their childhood years.

There are the ornaments we have picked up on our trips:

A lighthouse from Hilton Head where I go to just relax
An egg from Prague, 
A dragon from Beijing
A naked angel from Bali
A Kookaburra from Australia
A streetcar from New Orleans
A papoose from Taos

There are the ornaments that our daughters made which they protest every year as we put on the tree.  They promise to move them, but we don’t care because we will just move them back.  But they don’t.  It is just a part of the decorating.  

The rule in our house has always been that you can’t listen to Christmas music until Santa (the real one) arrives at the Macy’sThanksgiving Day Parade.  We put the tree up that weekend. But this year is different. We got started early!

Last year we were moving.  We didn’t put up a tree.  Our decorations were packed in boxes and didn’t arrive at our new temporary home until after Christmas.  Some friends gave us a small tree that we decorated, which was wonderful, but it wasn’t our tree!

So this year it began.  We had to pick a place for the tree.  We will argue about it for the next few years, another family tradition, but it will probably always end up here so this was important!

The spot was chosen. Everything was ready.  Then as we started we turned on the music.

“Home for the holidays,
I believe I’ve missed each and every face…”

And the tears just began!

Please, celebrate me home,
Give me a number,
Please, celebrate me home
Play me one more song,
That I'll always remember,
And I can recall,
Whenever I find myself too all alone,
I can sing me home.

Flags of Canada and Nova Scotia on Remembrance Day, 2018

Flags of Canada and Nova Scotia on Remembrance Day, 2018

The tears began because that always happens. I am a sap.  But this year I had to ask about home.  We moved last December to Canada.  It is different. For one thing when you sing “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” it really isn’t that much of a dream!  We are really close to Santa! 

We LOVE living in Canada!  What isn’t there to love? Nice people, universal healthcare, curling; the lack of divisiveness, a sense that you can talk about things without it turning into an all out war of ideas? Did I mention nice people?  We love living in Canada!

But it isn’t home yet.

In fact, I don’t know where ‘home’ is!

It isn’t Charleston anymore.

It isn’t Cherryville.

Our children are in Tennessee, and SC (at least today. Not sure where Savannah and Jon will be when you read this.  They are” living the RV life,” so ask them about home!!!)

Our ‘stuff’ is in Wolfville, but home? Home takes time. Home takes time to establish roots, memories.

So what song will I play this year to celebrate me home?

Maybe one about a couple who found themselves in a new place, seeking shelter wherever they could; anyplace to lay their head, to welcome their child.

Maybe one where I can find myself, among those who love me—no matter what or where?

What song will you sing this Christmas?

My guess is I will probably just sing this one, again!

And yes, that is snow outside! We live in Canada!!!

And yes, that is snow outside! We live in Canada!!!

Immigrant in an Unwanted Land

December 5, 1933 All Over Again