It’s Christmas and the music’s just got to get out. And get out it did, as those sitting near me at Andy Mason’s Christmas Concert will attest.
Those around me probably wished I had been singing a solo (so low they couldn’t hear me) but I’m sure my reindeer antlers with the flashing red lights were a big hit.
Andy came up with another great idea — he’s full of great ideas and even wrote a song about Portales — this particular idea was to do a concert that imparted the history of our favorite Christmas songs on the concert-goers.
The musical part of the evening was a sing-along and when he got to “Up On the Housetop” he thought he would stump many in the room with what Santa left in the kids’ stockings in the song. What he didn’t count on was that my cousin Mike Terry (sitting right behind me) and I were both veterans of Mrs. Brasell’s annual Christmas productions at L.L. Brown Elementary School.
Mike and I knew in a twinkling that Little Nell was getting a dolly that laughs and cries and Will was going to be pleased with a hammer and lots of tacks, a whistle and a ball and a whip that cracks. It was all because Mrs. Brasell took her job as music teacher serious and therefore we took learning all the words to the songs in the Christmas program serious.
Singing in the chorus on those programs was not bad but the ghost from Christmas past that still haunts me is doing a specialty number of “All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth” with six or eight of my classmates. We put on great big bow ties and blacked our two front teeth with a black crayon. Each time we came to the “two front teeth” lyric we bent forward and pointed to our blacked out teeth.
Somewhere out there, probably in my mother’s picture stash, is a Bill Wahlman black and white of me in that bow tie.
The lyrics included “It seems so long since I could say ‘Sister Susie sitting on a thistle.’” At one spot in the song we all faked not being able to whistle. What a crock, I could whistle like a bird!
Talk about childhood trauma!
I knew all but a couple of the songs Andy played. I’m even pretty good at “Feliz Navidad” and if he’d asked for it I could have followed along pretty well on “Cascabels” (Jingle Bells in Spanish). A Rotary Club I belonged to in Colorado always threw the Head Start families a Christmas party and we sang “Jingle Bells” and “Silent Night” in Spanish.
Fortunately Andy didn’t call on me to lead “Cascabels” or put on my bow tie and black out my teeth for “All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth.”
Fortunately these days I do still have my “Two Front Teeth” so I can in fact, without a lisp, “Wish you a Merry Christmas.”