When I was 20 or so I was an apprentice at the world-renowned Spoleto USA arts Festival and it was a pivotal experience for my life and my career.For a handful of jam-packed months I rode a rented bike all around the Charleston peninsula ferrying keys to festival artists and taxi-ing myself to all of the incredible events and performances that I got to attend for free. I got glimpses of dressing rooms and the hidden corners of historic theaters and performance spaces I was in the midst of beautiful parties, astounding talent, and the inner workings of America’s preeminent performing arts organization. I learned from the very best teachers at the top of their careers how to expect perfection and make it happen. This has served me well and I look back on the experience so fondly.
My wheels were complete with a bell and a basket.
I would return as an apprentice the following year and as a patron for many years after that. One of the most special part of the experience were the friends I made–some of them have gone on to dedicate their lives to their art. One such blindingly talented person is Luthien Brackett. When we met she was a member of the Ryder College Westminster Choir. Today, Luthien and a legion of other powerful, angelic voices now make up the choir at Trinity Church in the financial district in Manhattan.
Through the power of the internet, you can get swept up in what really sounds like a choir of angels singing while enjoying this very snowy day. I know I am.
Click here to hear the Trinity Choir performance of Handel’s Messiah.
Click here for a list of things that are working out for you. I am particularly grateful for #14 and #19.
I am thankful for so may things, but one of them is you. Thanks for reading a long through this
Something else I am really grateful for is my brothers.
No matter what time it is, day or night, more reliably than the post office, in rain, hail, sleet, or snow, if I call, they answer. I couldn’t have been blessed with two better siblings and I want to let them know how much I appreciate them. Thanks guys for always lending your ear, your shoulder, and your expertise. I am thankful for you!
This post deserves a soundtrack. Because the musical Godspell will always have a soft spot in my heart, I will share my song of thanks, here.
There has been a catalog deluge at our house. Big, glossy catalogs full of gloves and toys, and speakers. We got four just today.
The paper (yes, we still get a paper paper–we are old school) promises to be fifteen pounds on Wednesday and Thursday. Fat with ads so the teaming masses can plan to trample one another in pursuit of the joy of Christmas.
I don’t know about you, but if you threatened my life I couldn’t tell you a single present I got two years ago. I can however wax poetic about the time my Dad and Uncle took to a steep embankment of snow with a toboggan and all the kids and grown-ups road into the parking lot below until our fingers were numb and our faces hurt with laughter. I can tell you in detail what it was like to hold my Mom’s had in the Santa line at AM&As. How impressed I was as my boyfriend McGyvered a star onto my little potted Charlie Brown Christmas tree. I can tell you about late-night Christmas cookie baking with a friend that resulted in laughing so hard I collapsed on the floor holding the cookie sheet (which made us laugh more). In fact, this blog has been, and will continue to be, peppered with the moments that have meant Christmas to me. And only one has to do with a present. All of those moments and memories were gifts I still hold close to my heart.
As the insidious Black Friday draws ever nearer, keep that in your mind. You remember the moment, not the presents. Drive around and see the lights together. Take along walk in the snow together. Hold a little hand and get lost in gingerbread, or ice skates, or stories. Take your Mom to see Santa this time. Laugh. Let your brother take all of your money playing Left Right Center (or is that just my brother?). Memories last longer than presents do–plus you don’t have to go to the mall.
PS–My friend Jen found this clip from Christella Morris (crawltheline.com) and passed it on. Thanks, Jen.
I am going to a movie tonight–and this time its free! If you are in the Reston, VA area, you can come too.
“Bending Sticks: The Sculpture of Patrick Dougherty” is showing at the Reston Community Center at 7:30.
Dougherty creates public art using only saplings and they are a sight to behold!
All the details of the screening can be found at Reston Patch.
Before this season, I spent a bunch of Christmas seasons spent behind the cash wrap of a store in the Shops of the Charleston Place Hotel. Together with a legion of people who make the season bright for shoppers and diners, we worked, worked, worked. We smiled until our cheeks hurt and shared the features and benefits of every beautiful bauble and delicious bite ever to appear in a Christmas ad. We stood in aprons and starched shirts until our we ached all the way down to our toes. Sustained by the bites of food from the Charleston Grille–and the sloshy, icy sound of the martini shakers that marked the end of the day! And when I look back I can’t help but smile and miss the good old days because of all of the moments those seasons held.
The magic wasn’t in the work, it was in the people and the place. The sweet, frankincense smell of Crabtree and Evelyn’s Noel candle. The perfect sip of Godiva dark hot chocolate as we stepped out of the decked halls of the hotel and on to King Street and the crisp Charleston air. Back then, the street would be closed off so a winter wonderland could be built in the very middle of town. A big tree with lights and packages and ornaments, the clip clop of horse and carriage rides, Santa and his friends would wander through making everything merry and bright. I often miss the camaraderie of those days. We were, for the most part, broke kids figuring out our way in the world and working hard to pay our rent in the mean time. Exchanging cookies with friends, singing carols down the street in the middle of the night made the whole world look bright. Today’s plan is to write a hand written note to all of the people who share those memories with me. We are now all across the country and it is high time for us to reminisce again!
If you want to get into this moment, here is what you need:
-This song by Billie Holiday http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hs4AUuZ9TKk
-A cup of Godiva Dark Chocolate http://bit.ly/1eMoSV7
– Good friends to reminisce with
You may not get snow, but you will get beautiful homes and boats glowing with christmas lights!
The whole city gets in the spirit.
You can also plan your own trip to Charleston. It is one of the most wonderful places in the world to spend your Christmas:
- How to NOT go Broke at Christmas (savingmoneyinyourtwenties.com)
A movie in the middle of the day sounds like just the thing for an unhurried Christmas! Check out this showing of To Kill a Mockingbird at the Alamo Drafthouse DC Area. 1:05 on Monday, November 18th and they will make me warm cookies and cocoa while I watch. Cozy!
Let’s see who I can get to play hooky with me.
PS- if you miss it, it shows again on November 24th at 7:00 pm.