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.


  1. Wishing you and your family a very merry Christmas and happy and healthy New Year.

  2. Thanks for all your wonderful posts this year Jimbo! (...and for some more pics of Brynn!lol)

    Wishing you, Ron & Sophie the very best this Christmas and have a great New Year.x

  3. So it's true, you can't judge a book by it's cover. Love that story.
    Enjoy your break. Who knows, if I'm driving by, maybe I'll just drop in.
    Your Friend, m.

  4. This beautiful post made me cry. So touching.

    Have a wonderful holiday!

  5. Sounds like Miss Burke was a wise lady! Great pictures of your family! Have a Merry Christmas!

  6. and Wishing you a Merry
    Christmas also! You have a wonderful HUGE family and I loved a peek at that. Have a wonderful break from blogging but keep snapping those photos. You share wonderful stories and photos. I also wonder what became of George now and how that may have affected his life? Have a relaxing and joyous Holiday!

  7. I can't believe I'm sitting here all teary-eyed. Maybe it's the teacher in me. Actually, it's this awful disease I have. It causes me to cry at literally EVERY performance that involves a child, whether I even know them or not!! Apparently, I don't even have to actually WATCH the performance, I merely have to read about it for the tears to start.

    Your family is just gorgeous. Looks like you had quite a lovely party. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  8. That's a beautiful story! And beautiful photos too. Have a wonderful Christmas, you guys!

  9. I loved your story, Jim! My husband always said I liked the "bad" boys in my classes best. I think I just liked to try to bring out their potential.
    Have a wonderful holiday season!

  10. the solo in that song always gives me's one of my favourites.
    Merry Christmas to you and yours...see you next year!

  11. What a special teacher Miss Burke was!

    Merry Christmas to you, Jim, and to your loved ones. Thank you for all the beautiful photos you've shared with us this year.

  12. OMG! That was beautiful! What a great childhood memory combined with holidays with your family. Loved all the pics. Happy Holidays!!

  13. who's the goof in the red sweater anyway...your hubby!? You sure or is this all a ruse?

  14. WONDERFUL STORY of George & Your wise teacher, Jim.....I loved it truly & can deeply understand why you loved this fine Lady Teacher....!!!!

    All my greatest compliments for your beautiful & very sympatic family; Jim; so gorgeously photographed;
    I especially loved the cute dancing-steps of your little sweet niece & the beautiful portraits of your family members....!

    .....& all had wonderful smiling & serene faces.....!!!!

    Caro Jim, I wish You & Ron & Sophie a wonderful happy Christmas evening; in front of a warm wooden fire in the saloon & a good glass of red wine....!!!!

    All my very best Wishes & looking already forward to step in your beautiful world next year!!!!!!!

    Un abbraccio & ciao ciao elvira

  15. Happy Holidays to you and your private stalker, Ron!!
    See you in 2012!!

  16. Nice to have such a beautiful family....and the memory of a wonderfully wise teacher.

  17. Hey Jim, I missed this post! I know you had a great Christmas so happy new year to you and all your loved ones!!

  18. Hi Jim! You really have a beautiful family, and memories too!

    I've so enjoyed getting to know you (and Ron, and Sophie) this year, and I look forward to that friendship continuing in 2012!

    ¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)
    (¸.•´ (¸.•` ¤ HAPPY NEW YEAR!!*´¨)

  19. Hope you had a nice holiday. Your family, especially your dad, look great.

  20. What wonderful photos of your family gathering. Quite a handsome lot I might add.

    Happy new year!

  21. What a beautiful family, and what a great celebration.

  22. That was a wonderful story. I wonder what happened to George? I would have to think that O Holy Night made an even bigger impact on him, don't you think? To realize that he was capable of getting GOOD attention instead of just bad? Oh, I wish I knew "the rest of the story"! Loved seeing your family photos.. beautiful and full of love! Happiest of New Years to you!

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