Seeing Red at Christmas


Am I irate and red hot because of a bad shopping experience, standing in a long check out line or coping with a rude clerk? I’ve probably done that this year and just about every other year I shopped before Christmas, but I usually consider the situation and let it go.

Am I in the red because I’ve over spent and run up credit card bills because of the holidays? I’ll admit, some years I have allowed such over-indulgences to get the best of me, but this year isn’t going to be one of them. My family has agreed to “bite the bullet,” one of my husband’s favorite expressions. He has always been good at that kind of biting, compared with me. It’s crazy how inconsistent we are with our frugality.

Of course, I might simply be antagonized by the red, green and all other bright colors and sparkles of Christmas decoration because, except for a wreath on our door, I have done none of it.

Being bowled over by big, red Santa suits could get to some people, and this comes pretty close to the red that’s bugging me now.

Vast amounts of red material make up the 20 red robes, cassocks by design, belonging to Kathie’s youth chorus. I could sometimes see them in my sleep this past August as I pinned and hemmed the red cloth getting ready for the chorus’ summer tour. They’ve come back to haunt me now. Folds of red material blanket my lap as I perform a variety of repairs and alterations. Though none of it is difficult, it takes time. The cassocks, ankle length, and yards around the hem, sweep down to the floor and pick up white cat hair that, no matter how much we vacuum, is everywhere in our house. I must remember to pack my lint brush before every performance.

The Salem Community Theatre Youth Chorus scheduled five appearances this month, all in Ohio. They sang in Niles and Salem the first weekend in December. Kathie and her 19 colleagues will go through their beautiful Christmas repertoire three more times: Friday, Dec. 19 at St. Jude’s Catholic Church in Columbiana; Saturday, Dec. 20 at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Warren; and Sunday, Dec. 21 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Mogadore.

Their musical selections, most of them familiar Christmas tunes, are arranged with harmonious twists that show off the kids’ abilities (not to mention the skill of their director, Jon Simsic). My top choice, which has become my favorite, The Shepherd’s Pipe Carol, is dazzling.

Each verse grows more animated as the narrator of the carol’s story follows the star of Bethlehem to the manger of the Nativity, meets a piper on the way and their conversations are interrupted by the angel’s message to “Dance and sing for joy that Christ the King is come….” An infectious little tune, with captivating chord changes, the kids make it glorious.

I’m willing to see red in exchange for enjoying the talents of the chorus. May we all find the true spirit of Christmas, as the pipe carol says, “…on the way to Bethlehem.”


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  1. You have inspired me to look up this tune, as I’ve never heard it!

    (I want to say, I really enjoy your postings. I only stumbled across them since I have MARLATT set as a Google alert, and now look forward to them!)

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