As I sit here on my couch, three days after Thanksgiving, I decided to turn on the radio and listen to Christmas songs. Last week while trying to find a decent radio station in my car, I happened upon one that plays “old” country music. The “old timers” as they are referred to in 2019, like Willie Nelson, Travis Tritt, Alan Jackson, Randy Travis (my personal favorite!) and Miss. Loretta Lynn. All are played often, and I could not contain my joy when I found this wonderful radio station. It made my day!
The day after Thanksgiving, much to my appreciation, they began to play 24/7 Christmas music. Only the older country musicians of course. I have turned on the radio more than I have turned on my television this weekend. I know many people find it old-fashioned to listen to the radio, but it is a joy and a comfort to me. It has been that way since the time my Daddy gave me his little transistor radio when I was around age five. From that time on I have been a lover of radio
Today, when I sat down with my laptop, Alan Jackson came on singing my favorite Christmas song, Silver Bells. Oh, how I adore that song! If you are also a fan of Silver Bells, you know it is not played very often, and recorded even less. It’s not a big favorite of most people. It’s just a very simple little song but it has a very special meaning to me. It is the song that opens my Christmas memory bank!
When I was growing up in Johnson City, Tennessee, in the 60s, it was a big treat to go downtown with my Mama. As kids, my sister and I spent most of our time at home or school. To take a trip downtown was a much-welcomed outing. One we only made about twice a month. During the holiday season we usually got to visit downtown extra. There would be the first trip when Mama would take us to look at toys that had been recently added to the stores. I think she was making a note of things that caught our attention (doll, bike, book, etc.). I remember getting so excited for this was my favorite time of the year! It was the only time of the year my sister and I would receive toys!
We would usually, weather permitting, go to the annual Christmas parade. It was too crowded for Mama’s liking, so my memories are of being with Daddy on those trips. Maybe she would be doing some shopping while Daddy had us occupied? She was very good at sneaking this and that, so we never caught on. I remember times when she would take me alone downtown to shop when I was 4 and 5. My sister Jeanie was older, so she would be in school. Mama would put toys on layaway for my sister. Probably me too, but I didn’t notice because I’m sure I was occupied looking at all the novelties in the store. Oh, Mama was good!
My favorite memory of all was the time she took me downtown with her for a final shopping run. It must have been only a couple days before Christmas morning because it was more crowded than I ever remembered. There were so many people rushing in and out of stores. Mama held my hand so very tightly as she weaved in and out of the crowds, hurrying into the stores for last minute items.
Through all the madness, I distinctly remember the sound of bells. The silver bells rung on every street corner by the Salvation Army with their red kettles. I don’t remember the sound of the people as they congested the streets and stores. Or the sound of traffic which must have been just as bad. But I remember the sound of those bells. And I loved that sound!
But best of all was when during all the rushing around that day, and the silver bells ringing, it began to snow! The snowflakes started out light, but quickly became heavy. Everyone, including us, hurried even faster so we could make it home. It must have been the most perfect Christmas of all that year! It surely was for me.
So, you understand now why the song Silver Bells is my all-time favorite? I hope there is a Christmas song that opens your memory bank as well and brings back times as sweet to you as mine are to me.
Here’s hoping this holiday season is a blessed one for you and yours.
Dale Divine says:
Fantastic JoAnn. I grew up in Harlan County Kentucky (A short way from Johnson City) and remember those times as well.
You can listen to lots of Christmas songs on Pandora on an Iphone. And I have it Bluetoothed to my stereo in my golf cart.
I miss the snow a little but love being able to play golf year round(mostly in shorts) in Florida.
MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR.