Mom loved Christmas so much that every July she'd play holiday music just to renew her spirit. Once the season was in full swing, Christmas music of all kinds could be heard playing in our home most of the day and well into the night.
Mom and Dad each had a favorite song or two, and while they would sing along, the way in which they sang was indicative of their respective personalities. The timbre of Mom's melodic voice soared through our home. "Fall on your knees, oh hear the angels' voices ... O Niiiiii-iiight Divine...." Just as Christmas was ever present, so was Mom's beautiful voice. It not only filled our home, it also filled our car when traveling -- a habit that has now been carried on by 2 more generations.
Dad, on the other hand, would sing quietly under his breath as he puttered about his castle. His non-holiday favorite was "Mares Eat Oats." Now for years -- and we're talking more than a dozen -- the three of us thought the lyrics to that song were "Mares dee dotes and does dee dotes, and little lambs dee divy. A kiddle dee divy, too, wouldn't you?" We had no idea there were real words to this song that actually made sense. In fact, we thought Dad made this one up. Dad was the first to admit his singing wasn't the best, but the sound of his gentle "mares dee dotes" meant that, as one who traveled the world, there was nowhere else on earth he'd rather be than at home with his family.
During the Christmas season, Dad's cadences of "mares dee dotes" were replaced by "I played my drum for Him, Ba rum pa bump bum. I played my best for him, ba rum pa bump bum, rum pa bump bum, rum pa bump bum . . ." Even in the dissonance of his singing, there was nothing sweeter than hearing Dad chant those words. This time, it not only meant he was home, it meant he was home for Christmas.
In hindsight, it's interesting to note that Mom and Dad both chose a favorite Christmas song that is reflective of the faith that accompanied their upbringing. The individual selections were indicative, too, of their personalities. And, once again, together they created a perfect combination of all that is the season: "Hear the angels' voices . . . ba rum pa bump bum." Joy and faith, celebration and humility. The Colors of Christmas.
To be continued . . .