On This Christmas Night…
Funny, but I always think that this time of year comes upon us like a prowling animal, sort of like the bobcat that we’ve seen sauntering across our yard and along the river on numerous occasions during the past few months. But then finally and thankfully, these predictively harried, yet fleeting moments dubbed the “Holiday Season,” transform themselves into a surreal time of unbridled joy with “Christmastime” and the “Coming of the Lamb,” with its blessings of Friends, Family and Faith.
It’s been a big year for Jose – this, his 50th “Golden” Anniversary since his assent onto the world stage and his ground-breakingly controversial reinterpretation of the “Star-Spangled Banner.” With outstanding concerts around the world in celebration of his splendid career, including in his homeland of Puerto Rico, he’s not only been healed from the wound of that original anthem performance but he’d welcomed the invitation to recapitulate the moment in Detroit where all the furor began in 1968. Moreover, the guitar with which he performed the anthem, recorded “Light My Fire” and traveled the globe for over ten years, has now found a new home in the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., with all of the pomp and circumstance that Jose deserves.
For Mikey, too, his development as a young man has been the joy of my life this year. With all of the energy and spunk and humor that he brings to each day, I find peace in knowing that this guy is very comfortable in his own skin. Still a chef, still a musician, still a patriot and outdoorsman, his wit and wisdom are remarkable for a person his age, now 23. I love the fact that his ambitions are many, his skills are seemingly limitless but he’s also enjoying this time of his life where her can still pick and choose his ultimate path. He’d always been the ‘old soul’ in the family and I delight in seeing that spirit thrive within him every single day.
With Jonnie, now traveling exclusively as Jose’s Tour Manager he’s as good as it gets in the Industry, I promise you that. We witness his multi-tasking and the maneuvering of situations that are assailed upon him in rapid-fire, and he simply puts them all into place, making Dad and his band, the promoters and fans feel comfortable and accommodated. Funny thing: he and Jose met Pope Francis this week and when the Pontiff didn’t know how to get the “Feliz Navidad” ornament that Jose had given him to play, Jonnie politely removed it from his hands simply saying, “Excuse me, Papa, but there’s a little button you press right here” — Does this mean he can now add ‘tech-support to the Pope’ on his resumé…?
But I’d have to say that it would be Melissa, our Niña, who took the cake (the Wedding Cake, that is) in the department of life-changing events this year when, on June 9th she married the love of her life and became Mrs. Charles Erickson. Oh, my gosh, what a lovely day! We’re so happy for them both as they embark upon their new life together. Not that the old one was too shabby, in fact, the following Monday morning Melissa was back at work, manager of museum services for the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, juggling her many responsibilities as the ‘cog’ that keeps the wheels spinning in the majestic, National Historical Landmark.
And me? I’m still ‘the wife’ and so in love with my husband; still ‘the momma’ realizing that just because they’re grown-up doesn’t mean you’re off the hook, by any means; and still teaching religion to second-graders. I’m writing a lot, and ooooh, I’ll tell you more about that next year! But I will say, though, that the goings-on in ol’ Bank’s Tavern have become decidedly more entertaining with the welcome of a baby African Grey, a little guy we call, “Bertie.” He’s so funny and very smart; he plays all the time, is learning to talk already and enjoys being with me (like right now) in the office.
It’s all good, challenging some days, but really very good. We had a particularly wonderful gift drop from the sky when we got a phone call from Rick Jarrard, Jose’s producer of “Light My Fire,” “Feliz Navidad” and so many other important pieces of music …
Rick got word during Thanksgiving week that the creators and producers of the award-winning Broadway play, “Hamilton” had found and chosen to use a Christmas song that Rick had written and Jose had recorded but never released, called, “On This Christmas Night.” It’s become the Hamilton theater company’s holiday curtain-call number each night and is their contributed song to the annual Holiday Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids CD. We were so thrilled and overjoyed to see Rick’s work continuing to flourish in this difficult business we lovingly call, ‘showbiz.’
Listen with me here…..
“On This Christmas Night”
Rick is ‘the’ reason, after all, we’re celebrating Jose’s 50 years in the public eye, globally; who said one day while they were working on a Christmas album in 1970, “Jose, I really think you need to write a new Christmas song for this album,” to which Jose replied, “Gee, I don’t know, Rick” which led to (you know it already), “Feliz Navidad.” Words don’t exist that can express our happiness for him during this time of our lives, during this time of year, during this holy and happy season where we set aside all that’s ‘normal’ to gather as one to celebrate both the up’s and even the down’s which make us who we are, collectively. So…
On this Christmas Night…when we gather together and savor the present moment and all the moments that’ve brought us there, we’ll be thinking and praying for each and every one of you with great affection and genuine gratitude.
Thanks for being in on it with us…God bless you all.
Feliz Navidad to you all!!!