Friday, December 11, 2009

Hoboken at Christmas, 2009

One of the things I love about living in the Northeast is the genuine change of seasons. This is difficult for many to understand, as they move to Florida as soon as they possibly can, and claim not to miss the cold weather for an instant.

It's not that I like cold weather, mind you. I'm told it's 20 degrees at the moment and that the high for today will be 30. I do have to go out--I have a doctor's appointment at 11:30--or otherwise I might just opt for staying in the cozy apartment all day. As it is, I've got that long walk to Washington Street, and while I'm there I might as well go to the bank and pick up some groceries. I'll wear lots of layers and duck into a warm building if necessary on my travels.

Everybody from Fairhope sympathizes with me about the cold weather. But this kind of cold adds to the feeling of Christmas, with God throwing in a few snow flurries as if for punctuation. Hoboken is dressed for the holidays, and for once I'm glad Frank Sinatra made so many Christmas albums--his gentle voice is piped into businesses all over town. I may pop into Albini's Pharmacy, a beautifully wood-paneled remnant of bygone days, just to hear its selection of Sinatra seasonal numbers. (I'll buy something innocuous to justify my visit.)

There is a sign at Our Lady of Grace Church that there will be a program of carols next weekend. The lights are up everywhere, and the A & P has its Christmas music piped in. Yesterday I was stopped in my tracks there listening to "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," trying to decide if that really could have been Barbra Streisand, giving a restrained rendition for once. Anybody know if there is a singer with a similar voice who just sings the song and doesn't try to impress us with her acting virtuosity at the same time? Celine Dion? Susan Boyle? (That would be a great CD--Susan Boyle's Christmas!)

Week after next I'll travel to upstate New York to visit the daughter and grandsons for the actual holiday. In the meantime, I'm gettin more Christmas than I expected. I picked up a little bourbon and rum and made my own egg nog from scratch yesterday, and I keep thinking I brought fresh pecans back from Alabama and just might use them in something delicious.

A little Christmas is doing me good. I like that it's cold at this time of year. There is no snow on the ground here, and the puddles from a few days ago have dried up so there's no ice to worry about. There might be snow by the big day, and there is certain to be in Kingston, but, whether or not, Christmas is in the air. The gentlemen are merry and the nights are silent. The heart is full. Have a drink of egg nog--not prepackaged, please--and sing a song of the season.


Ghost of Christmas Present said...

Piqued by your "Merry Little Christmas" comment, I was moved to find who you might have been listening to. I quickly ruled out one of the newest versions, a bona fide Bob Dylan rendition. Tried Sarah McLachlan, Chrissy Hynde, Diana Krall, Judy Garland...and by that time it didn't matter. I was ready to party in a merry little christmassy kind of way. One of my personal favorites is Gloria Estefan's 1992 version. Against the somber, red velvet tone of the music her voice is luminous.
You might be interested in the song's history as told by Hugh Martin, one of the writers.

Mary Lois said...

Christmas Ghost, you made my morning! I've been awake 45 minutes and have spent all of them surfing the net, listening to snippets from various stars, including Streisand once more, to try to find the singer I heard on the Muzak. I loved the Diana Krall version, and of course Karen Carpenter, and even Vanessa Williams. I still don't think that particular Muzak was Barbra Striesand, because when she get to "Hang a shining STAR..." she chews the scenery as usual. One of my FB friends posted the beautiful Judy Garland version and I watched that over and over yesterday.

It's a beautiful exercise, listening to this pretty holiday song over and over by some of the most exquisite female voices in the popular realm. (Still waiting for Susan Boyle's version, which I'll bet we get by next year.)

Now I'll check out the song's history. Thanks Rex.

Unknown said...

Bah Humbug!!! I have an important question for you.
You have mentioned on occassion (too many c's or too many s's) that you cook & bake from scratch.
As you know, for so much. However, I have scoured the supermarkets and CAN NOT find scratch. So, when making things from scratch, do you import from a foreign land?

Mary Lois said...

Carolyn, scratch is everywhere (like God, I guess). You just have to look for it.

Karen J. said...

Have a wonderful holiday. Are you staying in Hoboken? Do they still pipe Christmas carols over the loudspeakers? I used to be one of those carolers, and my brother used to be in the OLG Choir. Speaking of that..DO go to the Christmas eve mass at OLG if you are catholic. It is NOT to be missed. I sure miss going..It's a very special mass where from 11:30 to midnight the choir sings all the carols and hymns. It's beautiful.

Hoboken Kid said...

In the 1950s everyone dressed in their very best to go to mass at OLG Christmas Midnight Mass. We were in our teens and dressed to impress...romance filled the air...and the spirit of Christmas filled our hearts...happy days they was your golden chance to ask that certain girl the question, WHAT ARE YOU DOING NEW YEAR'S EVE?

As teens we did not mind the cold or snow. Afterwards...being invited back to someone's house for a drink ...and going home with a smile on your face. God would not mind if you went. ALL ARE WELCOME. I do hope they still dress up like we used to do.

Steve said...

Holiday Inn was on AMC last night. Bing Crosby singing, among others, White Christmas. As Larry David might say, "Pretty, Pretty Good." If Larry David were to acknowledge Christmas, anyway.

Mary Lois said...

That flick has a lot of good songs in it, all right. I've been so obsessed with "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" I'd almost forgotten "White Christmas." Wonder if there's a better one that Crosby's?