<b>By Guinn Sweet</b><br><a href="mailto:email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org</a>
I’m dreamin’ of a White Christmas, just like the ones I used to know; Where the treetops glisten, and children listen, to hear sleigh-bells in the snow. I’m dreamin’ of a White Christmas, with every Christmas card I write; May your days be merry and bright, and may all your Christmases be white.
I first heard those words in August 1945 in San Francisco – not a time usually related to the Christmas season. I have a story to tell about that time and place, which will never be very far from my mind at this time of year.
The movie was just out, Bing Crosby’s career was at its peak, or at least nearing it, and I was alone and almost blind and very far from home. All of this intruded upon my memory this week with a surge of nostalgia, when I heard that “White Christmas” would be shown all Christmas Eve on American Movie Channel this year. I have never seen the movie, but I have enjoyed the music at Christmas-time for the past 64 years, and Bing Crosby will remain an icon of music to me forever.
Colon and I were married Aug. 7, 1945, and set out immediately for California to return him to his ship, the USS Pickens. We planned to drive my little yellow convertible to his folks’ home in New Mexico and catch a train to ‘Frisco for the longer trip. Too bad, but we had a wreck in West Texas; the worst of the results was that my glasses were broken. This put the rest of my trip in a visual fog, because time would not allow my glasses to be repaired in time to continue the trip with us.
Two weeks later, Colon’s ship left San Francisco Bay on its return to the South Pacific. The only assuring thing on the emotion list was that the war was over and a peace treaty with Japan had been signed. That didn’t help much because I was alone and almost blind.
Somehow, I found, near the hotel where we stayed, a movie theatre showing “White Christmas.” I wasn’t to leave the area to return home until the next day, so I decided to spend my lonely evening watching and listening to Bing Crosby sing his most memorable song ever. The only thing was, I could not see well enough to follow the visual events, so I just had to settle for listening to the music. I still have never seen the movie to this day. I always felt that I didn’t need to; it was the music that I remembered.
That is all going to change in a few days on Christmas Eve. Our grandson, Lee, has given us an early Christmas present … he installed Direct TV for us last week. We have never desired to have several hundred TV stations, but this time is different and is a great blessing. This Christmas Eve, there will be an opportunity to watch the movie over and over, if I wish. I will watch and listen and remember and maybe cry.
I certainly will thank the Lord for returning Colon back home safely, for the nearly 65 years of a really great marriage, complete with joy and sorrow, health and illness, gain and loss, precious memories, relieving forgetfulness, four children reared to productive and Christian adulthood and the loss of one in toddler-hood. And through it all, I have seen only a few white Christmases, but never the “White Christmas”! I don’t even desire to see the snow of a real white Christmas, but I will look forward to seeing the movie.
More than all of that excitement and memory, one that is far more important and memorable, is the fact that the first Christmas in Bethlehem changed my life and the lives of most of our love-generated family members.
I may hum the music from “White Christmas” for several days after Christmas, but the real song in my heart will always be, “Jesus Saves,” and that won’t be only a seasonal memory.