Thursday, December 05, 2013

Christmas Song Compilation: MA-42 - Happy Christmas Time

Christmas celebrates the most meaningful event to take place in human history.  However, the fact of its importance also makes it a metaphorical magnet for the entire range of human creative endeavor, from devoted offering to smarmy or even intentionally offensive actions.

Me?  I'm too busy marveling over the fact that, skanky as my character is (you too -- have you looked into your own soul and thoughts lately?), the fact of my existence makes me valuable enough that the Creator of all things (including the universe that contains me, and the "universes" contained within each person's heart and mind) loved -- and still loves -- me enough to do this:  He voluntarily shed nearly all of his essence to "fit into" a human existence; lived a life of service and compassion -- and knowingly died, just to communicate his love for me.

All of this music helps me celebrate.  Some is quite and meditative; some is both thankful AND silly.  After all, families don't ONLY communicate with hugs, but also with tickles!

1 -      Hark! the Herald Angels Sing   The Philadelphia Orchestra
2 -      Joy to the World    The O.C. Supertones
3 -      Exotic Night   Martin Denny
4 -      Little Drummer Boy    Georgia Kelly
5 -      Sweet Little Jesus Boy  Chris Willis
6 -      Happy Birthday Jesus Sparklepop
7 - Cha-Cha All the Way Capitol Studio Orchestra
8 - Carol of the Bells Teja Bell
9 - O Come, O Come, Emmanuel Joan Baez
10 - Heaven's Got a Baby Sarah Masen
11 - Away in a Manger The Philadelphia Orchestra
12 - I Need Christmas Erin O'Donnell
13 - We Three Kings Bop Claymation Christmas Celebration
14 - Here Comes Santa Claus Elvis Presley
15 - Jingle Bells Johnny Mercer
16 - Silent Night Twila Paris
17 - Christmas Time Is Here Again The Beatles (VM)
18 - White Christmas The Drifters
19 - Winter Wonderland Fleming and John
20 - Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer Mambo Billy May
21 - Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree Xmas! The Beatmas
22 - You Gotta Get Up Five Iron Frenzy
23 - Hark, the Herald Angels Sing A Charlie Brown Christmas
24 - Christmastime Is Here Seranova
25 - I Wonder as I Wander Joan Baez
26 - Silent Night, Holy Night The Philadelphia Orchestra

Track 17 is courtesy of the Beatles Remixers Group.  One of their fine and creative members melded a song from a Beatles Fan Club record (recorded by the Fab Four for their fans) with "Flying" from Magical Mystery Tour.  It's, well, magical.

Consider what love the Father has for us, as you listen.

Merry Christmas Time!


Monday, December 02, 2013

Part the Sixth


Tuxedo Park was about a two-mile drive from our house.

Mrs Hefner often took Tommy and I along when she took Pam (the Hefner’s younger daughter, the middle child) to ballet lessons at the Bartlesville Lions Club.
While Mrs Hefner and Pam were busy in there, Tommy and I had the run of the park.  Here’s an overhead shot:
In this photo, the light-brown areas are bordered and pebble-filled -- NOWADAYS.  In the good ol’ times of the 1960s, the entire area was just prairie grass trying to hold its own against the pounding Keds or PF Flyers of the thundering multitudes of the luckiest generation ever.
The sandy-colored area in the top right, closest to the two cars, wasn’t there in those ancient times.  It’s an newer addition, a “safe” playground, vide below.


If you stood at the north edge of the “new playground” -- the top of the photo -- and took a picture facing south (downwards in the overhead view) -- you would see ALL THE GOOD STUFF in the background.


Going south from that vantage point, you can see the next light-colored patch with three yellow lines.  Those are teeter-totters.  They’re actual planks of wood that you can fall off of and crack your noggin on the ground.


Directly south is the slide.  The slide is at the far left edge of the “new playground” photo.  As you can see in that profile shot, the slide has a slight “bump” in it.  That bump was the bane of sissy boys and timid girls, because it seemed to threaten the chance of getting bucked off when you hit it going down.


(I may have been the only person to have actually fallen off from that modest height.  It only happened once … and since I landed on my head, no lasting damage was done, except to the ground.)


Proceeding south (downwards in the overhead shot) towards Tuxedo Boulevard, you can see two sand-colored rectangles on the left and a round area on their right, almost between them.  The two rectangles are swing sets; the circular area is the merry-go-round.


That merry-go-round is fantastic in its construction, made like a Maypole in steel.

In September of 2009, Joyce and I were privileged to take our oldest grandchild, Jazra, with us on an overnight stay.  We took a few jaunts down my Memory Lane.  Of course, part of the time was spent at Tuxedo Park!
Here’s Jazra on the teeter-totters.

Here is the slide.  As you can tell, it’s about twelve feet high, and only scary for toddlers and whiny-piny-puddin’ types.  Note that Jazra, being more coordinated than I was, has no problem making it to the bottom of the slide intact.

These last two photos were taken from the swing set area, looking northeast at the wondrous merry-go-round.  That thing has been there since the 1960s.  The lady in blue with Jazra is my own heart, wife Joyce.
If you take a look at the overhead photo, the light-colored diagonal line in the corner of the grass towards the bottom right is  the “Tuxedo Park” sign.
 I would like you to take a second glance at these photos and observe the good state of upkeep on the metal equipment.  Generations of Lions Club members and their families have performed upkeep.  I imagine it involves sanding, painting, and maybe the greasing-up of items.  I would expect that in the last forty or fifty years, those wooden teeter-totters may have had to be replaced.
But it’s been done, so that generations of kids could play.  This is a wonderful public service that only now, as an adult, I can appreciate.

See you Thursday with some Christmas music.



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© by Mark Alfred