This afternoon the Tuna clan joined The Little Church That Could in their annual Christmas Carol-a-thon for those who can't. TinyTuna looks forward to this every year, and considering she's that dicey age of twelve where one minute everything is a personal insult to her existence and the next minute she is sweetness and light, I'm very pleased this remains a favorite activity. Part of the allure has to do with the fact that she is given free reign to accompany every carol with a tambourine. And you have to ask yourself, who doesn't love a rousing "cha-cha-CHA" during The First Noel? Then there are the boxes upon boxes of pizza that await our return. (On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, double cheese and pepperoni!) Whatever it is, The Little Church That Could dotes on her something awful, and she, in turn, charms the socks off of each and every one of them, which I believe is the classic definition of a win-win situation.
Our last caroling stop this afternoon was at an extended care facility to sing for a man severely debilitated by a number of strokes. It took a bit of doing to fit everybody (plus guitar and mighty tambourine) into his room, but we managed to do it without anybody having to stand out in the hallway or in the bathroom. Once situated, we began to sing our way through each and every carol ever written. As The First Noel gave way to O Little Town of Bethlehem, I found myself drawn to a bulletin board full of family pictures. One black and white photo in particular caught my eye. It was a picture of a man and a woman standing outside in the English Countryside. He was handsome and rugged, wearing a thick wool sweater and smiling broadly. She was small and thin, wearing a mid-length dress coat. It would have been an ordinary photo of an ordinary couple, but the camera seemed to have caught them in a moment when he put his arm around her in such a way that seemed both protective and endearing. Her answer to this small, simple touch was a shy but utterly charming smile. It was obvious she was very much in love.
We continued to sing and I glanced across the room. The man, now small and thin, was unable to speak. The woman sat next to him on the bed, and patted his arm quietly in rhythm as she sang softly in his ear. It was obvious despite the years and the illness and hardships she was very much in love. And I couldn’t help but be thankful for this simple little touch -- both protective and endearing -- which was nothing short of an enormous demonstration of love.
Tidings of comfort and joy.