- From: **Rowland Croucher** <rccroucher@contactemailonwebsite>
- Date: Sat, 20 Dec 2008 12:22:09 +1100
Harry T. Cook
The older I get, the more nostalgic I become as I remember "how it was then" --
"then" being when I myself was a child or when my now-adult offspring were children
or even when my grandchildren were infants.
My first cognitive awareness of life around me came toward the middle of World War
II when the songs heard on the radio included "White Christmas" and "I'll be seeing
you in all the old familiar places" -- both ballads of love and longing.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday last month while my wife and I were visiting our daughter
in a distant city, I was sitting in a local Starbucks there one morning nursing
a cup of coffee and scanning The New York Times.
My attention to the brew and the news was diverted by the incessant Muzak-like recordings
one hears in such places.
If it was not the recorded voice of Bing Crosby singing "I'm dreaming of a White
Christmas," it was that of Nat King Cole singing "Chestnuts roasting on an open
fire." Coffee and paper gradually forgotten, I slipped into a reverie as Christmas
Eve 1944 came flooding back in memory.
I was sitting on the stairs of the home my parents had built four years earlier
in a Detroit suburb. I could just see the outer edges of a newly trimmed Christmas
tree below in the living room and hear my parents talking to the son of a neighbor
just home on furlough from the Pacific. "White Christmas" was coming out of the
old Stromberg-Carlson radio console.
Next on the Starbucks hit parade was Leroy Anderson's "Sleigh Ride," followed by
"Winter Wonderland" -- tunes, I think, primarily of the 1950s as I was growing
up and things were getting back to normal after the war with prosperity spreading
at least among the white middle class.
Then, coffee turning cold, came the music of "A Charlie Brown Christmas," right
out the 1960s when my older sons were approaching school age and when, despite the
winsome innocence of "Peanuts," the sexual revolution, the civil rights and the
antiwar movements were hot and controversial.
I cannot hear the Charlie Brown score today without the push-pull of nostalgia for
my little boys as well as residual angst over the current events of their early
Then a rendition of "Jingle Bell Rock" came blasting through the Starbucks speakers
landing me right back on the shores of now -- and to the gloomy news in that day's
Times (the Mumbai massacre) and the cold, acrid $1.75 cup of coffee.
As my voyage across memory's expanse ended, I was, frankly, relieved. My literary
hero Thomas (not Tom) Wolfe captured my mood exactly: "You can't go home again."
One can only soldier ahead in the present and on into the future.
Christmas will never again be as white as the one Crosby sang about. The carefree
sleigh ride of Leroy Anderson's chirpy tune is now the roar of snowmobiles. The
wise-acre innocence of Schroeder and the charming haplessness of his pal, Charlie
Brown, seem not to be recoverable in the shadows of Iraq, 9/11, Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.
It was time for me to cede my table at Starbucks to others. I heaved my aging frame
up and out, folded the newspaper under my arm and returned to my daughter's home,
who had only so recently left ours.
I was somewhat unnerved at seeing in my mind's eye all those old familiar places
while in the same moment wondering where all the time had gone.
© Copyright 2008, Harry T. Cook. All rights reserved. This article may not be used
or reproduced without proper credit.
Shalom/Salaam/Pax! Rowland Croucher
http://jmm.aaa.net.au/ (20,000 articles 4000 humor)
Blogs - http://rowlandsblogs.blogspot.com/
Justice for Dawn Rowan - http://dawnrowansaga.blogspot.com/
Funny Jokes and Pics - http://funnyjokesnpics.blogspot.com/
- Prev by Date: Re: Cheney admits approving torture
- Next by Date: Re: Cheney admits approving torture
- Previous by thread: Re: the "Secret"
- Next by thread: People convicted in the Abramoff influence-peddling investigation