Nothing. I feel like I’ve got nothing for you. I ran errands and even bought a few gifts – or at least worked to track down sources for them – but somehow it feels like we did nothing Christmas related today. I even went to the (gasp!) mall. That’s a great place to boost your Christmas spirit, right? NO. Have I ever mentioned I hate malls? I have a story that may explain why I hate malls, and it may also be connected to my general dislike for the hustle and bustle of the modern commercial Christmas.
Actually it’s not really a story. It’s more of a bad memory and a complaint all wrapped up in bad attitude. It’s just this: one year when we were in Tennessee visiting my in-laws, we all decided it would be great fun to go to the enormously popular Opryland Mall on Black Friday. Well, it would be more accurate to say that everyone else arrived at that decision and I agreed to tag along. Back then we had 6 kids, ages 8 and under. So we went and wove our way through the crush of bodies, and everyone else had fun while I experienced 5 solid hours of panic just trying to keep track of my children in a strange city. The other four blissfully oblivious adults in our party were spread among the teeming waves of total strangers who physically pressed upon all of us, and I lost my six children at least 57 times as they were casually passed back and forth, slipping through little gaps in the crush where I could not follow.
In my own version, they didn’t just escape or get swept away in the current. They were sent, while I stood 30 bodies behind, helplessly fighting to get to them. “Oh, look! There’s Grandpa! Don’t you want to go with him?” “Hey, is that your dad over way over there? Go tell him I’m looking for him.” Did it really happen that way? I don’t know, but I was amazed at the end of the day to find all my children accounted for, and everyone staring at me like I was the crazy one.
And now I shall hate malls forevermore. I even dislike empty, quiet malls, late on weeknights just before they close, but I nurse a special grudge for crowded malls during the holiday season when human traffic is so heavy that all you can do is move with the current. In my defense, I usually breathe a sigh of relief after visiting a mall and tell myself it wasn’t as bad as I expected. But you could never pay me enough to go back to Opryland Mall on Black Friday. I would shave my head for a million dollars in a heartbeat, but don’t ask me if I would go back to that mall on that day.
On a more cheerful note, my phone has an alarm that goes off every morning at 10 o’clock, playing the alto part of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. This is so that the girls and I can remember to practice daily. When we hear it, we all stop whatever we’re doing and sing along. Then at 10:05, another alarm plays the full 4-part harmony so that we can practice finding and singing our own part while it’s fresh in our heads and ears.
Since anyone can sing soprano, the girls and I sing alto, Perry sings bass, and Deanna practices tenor with her husband, we could technically sing in 4 part harmony just with our own family members. I really want to give it a try!
Has anyone in your family learned to sing in harmony? How do you feel about insanely crowded shopping malls or other public places?