We’re having a dusty white Christmas Eve in Mentor, Ohio, right now — about 20 miles east of Cleveland where my family long resides. My sister Diane is with me and her three (now grown-up) kids: Judy, Dennis and Keith. Dad (Frank) — now 89 and suffering from severe dementia — is up the road a bit in a nursing home, but we’re leaving now to fetch him and to wheel him to a lunch with his neices and nephews, then to the home of his sister Dolores. He’s no longer conversant, but he’s still his ever-jolly self, beaming joy to the world around him.
Back in the old days, back when mom and my brother were still with us, Christmas was never official in our house till dad proudly burst into an a cappella rendition of his hero crooning “White Christmas.” He always nailed those pear-shaped tones and gave his performances a few, fun Bing flourishes — you know, that playful warble that gave his music heart, warmth, even sexiness. I recorded dad singing it one year and I’ve featured it at Gold Derby annually ever since as my special Yuletide present to you all.
And to him. Later today I will pull up this recording on my smartphone and play it for dad when the family is gathered and he will, as usual, beam with pride and joy and not a little bit of wonder. He’ll never understand the magic of it all — how he can hear his own perfect “White Christmas” beamed invisibly through space and time. But, hey, truth be told, dad, I don’t understand it either and I own this website.
Best of the Yuletide to all Derbyites and your families! May your days be merry and bright and may all your Christmases be white.