I was driving back from the P.O. Box today and realized that once again I was alone in the quiet without the radio on and singing "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen." This probably has to be my favorite Christmas carol, although there are some others in close running for similar reasons: "O Come All Ye Faithful", "We Three Kings" and "O Little Town of Bethlehem", for example, and maybe "Hark the Herald Angels Sing". But the Merry Gentlemen cover a whole lot of bases, including reminding us about the Christmas holiday, both its celebrations and origins, and acknowledging the differences between classes and owners/employees. And as a child, how could you not love a song which names Satan by name? In addition, when you go into the second verse, you can change key/raise it by a half-step if you want, which is really clever.
All in all, a very satisfying song.
Robert I. Morrow, A Year Later
Last year late on Christmas Day we got word of the passing of Mrs. Dr. Phil's dad. Despite his being in the hospital while working on a relapse of his leukemia, it all came as something of a surprise. Bob was a decent fellow and a great father-in-law. We shared a love of word play (in multiple languages) and puns and scatological humor and long shaggy dog stories -- and a vibrant love of science in all its forms. He wasn't particularly interested in my brand of hard SF, but I won't hold that against him. (grin) But he was extremely well read and we had many long discussions on all sorts of things and joined together in many mutual rants.
And then there was the food.
Walking through the Grand Rapids airport yesterday, Mrs. Dr. Phil observed that it was Bob's birthday, and what should one eat in observance of that? "I dunno," I said. "Squid?" She laughed and then said, "Oh we had that yesterday." And indeed we had. But we did phone in a dinner order to Stromboli's in Allendale MI and had a lovely dinner of lasagna and a pasta primavera with chicken. (grin)
Another Christmastime Passing
I'll comment more another time on the death of President Ford. Checking into the Greensboro NC airport yesterday, the woman outside with Northwest Airlines curbside check-in reacted to my comment that (a) we were flying into the Gerald R. Ford International Airport and (b) that Ford was the only President I've ever seen in person, as the Grimsley band played "Ruffles and Flourishes" and "Hail to the Chief" in the spring of 1976 when Ford came to the Guilford Courthouse Battleground Memorial during the nation's Bicentennial year. Turns out we were classmates at Grimsley Senior High and she was at the Battleground park that day, too, with the Jaycee's.
Though unelected as both Vice-President and President, our 38th President was really exactly what the country needed after the disillusionment and anger at Nixon and his treacherous henchmen. And by November of 1976, the nation was ready to move on, so Ford remained and retired as an unelected President.
It will be very interesting come next week when the body of Gerald Ford returns to Grand Rapids MI. There will be an overnight public viewing at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum on the banks of the Grand River and he will be interred there on Wednesday 3 January 2007. We're thinking of joining the crowds expected in the wee hours of say 3am -- we'll see what the weather is doing and what they are doing for crowd estimates and parking.
Upon Further Review
The time for Christmas and lights and carols is not yet completely past. After all, Twelfth Night isn't until Saturday 6 January 2007 -- two whole days before the end of the stupid BCS bowl game season.