Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Now, This Is Christmas!

Yesterday started with quite a morning. Claire finished getting the December LifeSharer letter into the mail and put together a hamburger soup to simmer all day in the crock pot. Meanwhile, I was down on the "old" computer frantically making making final revisions on our Christmas edition of "When Swing Was King" in hopes it would be ready for its debut performance at 2:30.

Those revisions had been extensive. For instance, I dropped altogether Benny Goodman's "Winter Weather" and replaced it with Gene Autry's "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer." The BG song is a pretty good one (vocals performed by Art Lund and Peggy Lee, by the way) but I didn't think it could come close to "Rudolph" as a crowd pleaser. After all, with more than 25 million copies sold, it is the 2nd most popular Christmas record of all time. I'm pleased to say that my guess was spot on.

In addition to the song change, I changed over a third of all the pictures in the Power Point program. In this particular volume, that meant about 110 changes. I remember saying last year that the Christmas edition of "When Swing Was King" couldn't get much better.

I was wrong. It is.

The afternoon show was a big hit. The residents of the independent living complex thoroughly enjoyed the show and, of course, we had a swell time bringing it to them. It was our first time with our new speaker system ($85) and it really improves the program. For one, the sound of the music is deeper, richer and more easily controlled. Second, it allows a mike for me that makes the program's commentary much easier to be heard in full. The new system also sets up quicker and has less to lug around.

Anyhow, the show was solid and we had a sweet time visiting afterward. It made a great start to our Christmas "When Swing Was King" season -- despite a remarkably unprofessional and unfriendly response from the facility's activity director.

We returned home to run to the store and straighten up the house because we had company coming over for a "soup supper" later on. We had just enough time to get around to 7 of our neighbors with a proposal for a neighborhood cookie exchange. (The flyer we passed around can be read in this post.) Then we took off for the second "When Swing Was King" presentation of the day.

This one took us to one of our newer venues, the memory-impaired unit of House of Hope on North 52nd Street. It's a wonderful place with caring staff and we feel very blessed to be able to minister here too. We ended up with a full house (35-40) who exuberantly sang along with these well-known Christmas songs. Claire and I were both moved quite deeply as we shared Christmas with these dear people.

Then it was home to have a delightful evening with Jeff & Randy Brown and Karla Struble. Randy and Karla (devoted pals from way back) were in the Christmas spirit too having been with us for the "When Swing Was King" singalong earlier. After the show, they swung by and picked up  Randy's husband, Jeff, and met us back at our place. Rolls, chips, crackers, cheese, hamburger soup (enriched even further with leftover roast beef dropped in!) and Christmas cookies were on the menu. And so was about three hours of warm, stimulating conversation.

It was a superb day. A day that most definitely illustrates the special opportunities for fun, faith and service that the Christmas season brings.

And please know that your participation in one of Christmas "When Swing Was King" shows would be deeply appreciated. And I'm pretty sure you'd have a great time too. The schedule is right here.

And now I'd better book. We have two "When Swing Was King" presentations today too!