Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thinking Out Loud At Christmas

                                  All photos taken at family get-together last weekend.

You know when you have had those 'special moments' in your life that stand out from all the rest?


Well, whenever I hear O Holy Night I am immediately taken back to one of those moments at a school Christmas concert. I was in grade six and the year was 1960.

                                                               My father arriving.

I went to the' boy's ' school in St.Joseph's Parish in the north end of Halifax. It was strictly a 'working class' area in the city. I have always considered this my home. 

                                            Our niece Jami and her 'bump'! Due in March.

My family lived here from the time I was seven up to when I was 17 years old. Oh, in case you are wondering, the 'girls' school was across the street from the 'boy's' school. Another story....

                                                     Sister Jo-Ann and brother Freddie.

Back to the concert.....we had been rehearsing for months. And considering the mix of characters in my class, I can understand why we needed the rehearsal time.

                                               Nephew Matt and partner Erika.

You see, the north end had a reputation of being the 'rough' area of town. And this stigma still exists today. So it would stand to reason that a few of the students in my class were pretty rough!

                                                                    Nephew Jacob

I always realized that some kids had it more difficult than my family.....and my family was not well-off by any means.

                                   Sister Mim, her partner Michael and Sister-in-law Jackie

I am trying to set a scene for you here. My teacher, Miss Burke ( the BEST teacher I ever had), thought it would be a good thing to have one of the roughest kids in the class to have the main solo in our class' presentation.

                                 This guy keeps following me everywhere......Ron, my husband.

Looking back, I can remember thinking: 'Is she crazy?!' This kid, his name was George, couldn't sit still for one minute and had a mouth on him that would have made a sailor's head turn around!

                                                             Sister Paula and Jacob

Nonetheless, Miss Burke was relentless in getting George into shape for the concert. We, the class, didn't hear him practice very much because he didn't want to show this side of was bad for his 'reputation'!

                                                  Our own 'whirling dervish'! Julia

 So the night of the concert arrives. The school gym was packed. I could see my Mom and Dad and sister in the audience.

Being an elementary school that went to grade seven, we were one of the last to perform. Finally, it was a long wait, our class was up.

                                             Brother-in-law Milan and brother Dennis

We took our places and the curtains opened. And we began our couple of Christmas songs. I forget the first one. The second one was O Holy Night, the one in which George had the solo.

                                                           Colin and niece Brynn

And as I mentioned we did not get to hear him rehearse his solo part. Well, I will never forget the reaction from everybody in that gymnasium. There was a hush that went through the gym!

        Part of the Laurie lower left and niece Jacqui, lower right (hostess this year)

The sweetest sound came out of George and I could not believe it was the same kid. It made Miss Burke cry. He sang it beautifully and got a good round of applause at the end.

                                                   Sister Mim and her daughter Brynn

I looked at George and the other 'Georges' in the class a lot differently after that Christmas concert. It was a real 'life education' for me.

So whenever I hear this Christmas carol I am forever thankful to George and the lesson he taught me so many years ago.

                                                                      Mim and me

The version below of O Holy Night was on a fellow blogger's post this week. As soon as I heard it  I thought of George.

I will be taking a little blogging break over Christmas. I want to thank you all for taking the time when you do to read my still surprises me to get a comment! And I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and here's to a Happy New Year!!! See you next year.

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