Sounds of the season

I was never one for Christmas music.

I’d boo when flipping the radio dial in my car to discover the format change to all holiday-crooning had happened on my station regulars, and the newsroom neighbor whose own radio would waft Christmas standards my way post-Thanksgiving would always be on my “naughty” list.

Even with the family gathered, I’d bristle at my brother-in-law’s insistence on Christmas jingles, constant Christmas jingles — bah humbug.

It was in a buddy’s living room in November 2017, our toddlers eying blocks and their parents attempting to keep the blocks from their mouths, when my friend grabbed a vinyl version of the Vince Guaraldi Trio’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and gave it a spin on his turntable.

My heart didn’t immediately grow three sizes but the album blended perfectly with that Saturday afternoon scene, both babies headed towards their second Christmas seasons, the first where at least this new parent felt like things were coming under control.

The jazzy tunes were heard at home on a near daily basis after that. My favorite tune of the trio’s is “Christmas is Coming,” with its thumping piano and kinetic hi-hat, and though the music tapped into some reserve of nostalgia for my childhood — the songs are familiar — the present was front and center, all about my kid and what memories we’d make for years to come.

As this past January dragged on we retired the Charlie Brown album for the season. Sometimes I’d scroll by it in my phone — no vinyl option for me — but never play it, since the album now has its time and place. Just how much so I’d underestimated.

I texted the friend who owns the hardcopy of the album the morning of Monday, Nov. 12.

“So I put on the Peanuts Xmas album last night for the first time this season and just cried over last year’s Christmas season with a 1-year-old and that album,” I wrote.

“Yeah man,” my friend wrote back. “Fatherhood, parenthood ... it’s [really] heavy.”

 

—Mike Munzenrider

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