Since I’ve been working so much, I have to choose my days off carefully. Thanksgiving and the day after were natural first choices, as they are always days filled with family tradition. Sometimes Thanksgiving Day comes with some drama, (not between me and my immediate family, but among the elders) but this one was smooth and very enjoyable.
I came home yesterday to find all of my stuffed animals from childhood, brought down from the attic by my parents, carefully arranged on my bed. The memories came back. I could recall when and where I received 90% of them. I could remember putting things in their pockets, taking off their clothes, and redressing them like they were my babies. They all looked so worn, but so loved.
Today we went to cut down our Christmas tree. We always go to the same farm, but today the traditions changed a bit. We stopped for coffee on the way there, so we skipped out on the hot cider. Then on the way back, we discovered that our go-to Mexican spot is now closed. Another restaurant had to suffice.
Once we got the tree home, we put on some music to set the mood as we decorated. I remarked that this is the time of the year that I miss choir the most. The Christmas concerts were always so much fun, and it always started feeling like the holiday season once we started rehearsing.
I found my CDs of Handel’s Messiah, and decided that they would be appropriate music for the ride home. We performed the entire first half my junior year of high school. As I rode back, I listened to that whole half, singing the alto parts, most of which I remember. My voice has matured since we sang it back then. I really miss singing.
I stopped at my boyfriend’s house to say hello to his cats since he’s been out of town all week. Called home to let them know that I made it back safely. When I went to leave, I assured the cats that their dad is coming back tomorrow and that I’ve enjoyed hanging out with them all week. I said that hope they feel the same.
I loaded my dog into the car and turned the Messiah back on. He gave me that concerned look he always does when I sing, like he doesn’t quite know what to make of it. “Are you trying to talk to me?” he asks. After singing a couple of my favorites again, I switched out to the second disk for the Hallelujah Chorus. We sang that at the end of every Christmas concert, and alumni were always invited to the stage to join. I remember how Mr. Emig hated when we over-emphasized the “-jah” and wanted us to practically whisper it.
Music has a way of getting to me emotionally in a way few other things do. Even religious music, through which I no longer feel like I’m praising God, moves me tremendously. (Churches still do the same thing, too. Last summer at the Cathedral de Seville, I had the same reverent, amazed feeling that I do when I star gaze.)
Forever and ever. Forever and ever. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelu-jah! Hal-le-lu…I couldn’t vocalize the last “jah,” as the tears overwhelmed me.