The Most Wonderful

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. How do I know that? Well, there’s that old song. You know the one. No? OK, here’s the first verse:

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
With kids jingle-belling
And everyone telling you, “Be of good cheer” . . .
It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

I’m trying to think of the last time that I saw kids jingle-belling. Indeed, I’m trying to think if I’ve ever seen kids jingle-belling, even at a school Christmas concert. Come to think of it, I’m not sure anyone has ever told me to be of good cheer, either. But perhaps this is quibbling. (I mean, what are the odds?) Surely there are other examples in the song that would resonate for me? Well, let’s see.

There’ll be parties for hosting
Marshmallows for roasting
And caroling out in the snow (out in the snow)
There’ll be scary ghost stories
And tales of the glories
Of Christmases long, long ago

Parties for hosting? OK, sure, if hosting two other people for dinner counts as a party.

Marshmallows for roasting? Are you kidding me? Have you looked outside?

And caroling out in the snow (out in the snow)? Um, no, for two reasons. First, there’s a City bylaw against Gibsons singing in public; second, it’s cold out in the snow (out in the snow). Cold and slushy, here in the Nation’s Capital.

Scary ghost stories? At Christmas? Show me the person who does this: I double-dog-dare you.

And tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago? My family seems to have missed out on long-long-ago glories or even any recent ones, for that matter. Or does this mean the one-and-only (and singular!) First Christmas?

Sigh. Popular (syrupy, over-orchestrated) songs don’t necessarily lend themselves to semantic analysis: Fair enough. It’s the overall thought/feeling that counts, right? Try to get with the program, Isabel.

OK, I’m with.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
With websites a-tracking
And everyone telling me, “Hey, it got here” . . .
It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

You can keep your telling of scary ghost stories and your freezing of feet while roasting marshmallows or while caroling in the snow (illegally, as the case may be). The most wonderful part of this time of the year for me is being able to track the progress of parcels shipped to destinations within the city, across the country, and around the world. The internet giveth and the internet taketh away, for sure, but this is pure gift: Watching as a parcel moves toward its intended (I hope) destination. Certainly to some destination.

Would it be a better world if I could track the progress of my words and actions–toward good or ill or both–the same way? Maybe. This is the world I have, though, where (so far) the internet does not do this. Maybe that’s a gift, too. In any event, I can at least keep my intended destination in mind before speaking. And before acting.

If there’s a song in that, you won’t hear it from me.


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8 Responses to The Most Wonderful

  1. Eric J Hrycyk says:

    The Senior’s version of the song is “with bellys-jingling”.

  2. John Whitman says:

    Isabel – “scary ghost stories” Don’t tell me you’ve never read “A Christmas Carol” by Dickens, or maybe even seen the old movie starring Alastair Sim as Scrooge. It must be about time for that old B&W movie to appear on TV for the 999th time.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      John – Aha! That’s what it’s talking about. I was diverted by “roasting marshmallows” into campfire ghost stories. I’m glad to know it makes some sense.

  3. Jim Taylor says:

    That idea of “a better world if I could track the progress of my words and actions” hits me hard right now. In November, I fell for an Anglican priest from California. She’s 80, liberally oriented, and –I think – beautiful. And today I got a phone call from a woman I’ve spent quite a bit of time with over the last four years or so, to say that until I told her about Christine, she hadn’t realized she was in love with me. I feel awful that I have hurt her; I didn’t know, because I wasn’t able to “track the progress of my words and actions…” If only….

  4. You have several golden ornaments on your sidebar, much appreciated, along with your amusing, self-deprecating “take” on the Hallmark versions of Christmas. The lineman rescue is as astonishing as the Saints’ legends I’ve recently heard (the second one from you) featuring death-to-life and inanimate-to-flesh resurrections of children and manger dolls ascribed to Nicholas and to Francis of Assisi. “What Child is this?” truly has endless antiphons.

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