November 23, 2008
Are you lonesome tonight
Originally published December 24, 2005
Misery loves company.
I realized that fact while curled in a fetal position on my bathroom floor (see the post below for further details about THAT), where I wallowed in pain and self-pity a couple of nights ago. I wished that I had someone to comfort me and tell me that I was gonna get better. Of course, I didn't really want ANYONE to see me in the shape I was in, but I felt pretty damned lonely anyway.
Man is not meant to be a solitary creature. Not when Man feels desperately ill. And definitely not during Christmas.
A big family Christmas was always important to my father. Knowing how he was raised, I realize that he was making up for something he never had as a boy. He succeeded, too. Some of my fondest memories are those of the wonderful Christmas celebrations I enjoyed with Mama and Daddy over the years. Those truly were magical times.
I intended to continue that tradition when I had a family of my own. I always wanted Christmas to be special, filled with joy and good cheer, with the laughter of my loved ones filling the room when we tore into the loot under the tree. I wanted to make my own magic, the way my father did.
Alas, things just didn't work out the way I planned.
I remember the first time I played and sang in a bar on Christmas Eve. When I went to work that night (at the old "Port Royal" on River Street), I didn't expect much of a crowd. I figured everybody would be celebrating Christmas with family and loved ones instead of hanging out in a saloon. In fact, I thought that the place might close early due to a lack of customers.
I was mistaken. The place wasn't packed, but I had a good-sized audience all night long. The only thing different from a typical evening in the bar was the unusually subdued atmosphere. People were quiet, almost introspective, while they sipped their drinks and listened to my music. I picked up on the feeling in the air and played mostly soft ballads--- none of the rowdy stuff.
As I stepped up on stage for my last set of the evening (at 1:00 in the morning, officially Christmas Day by then), a waitress told me that several people at the bar wanted to hear Christmas carols. I started to say that I didnít DO Christmas carols, but for some reason it suddenly seemed like a good idea to me. Hell, what I didnít know, I could fake.
So, I played Christmas carols for that last set.
People didnít boo, either. THEY SANG ALONG! It was the damnedest thing I ever had seen. From ďSilent NightĒ to ďJingle Bells,Ē the crowd was with me all the way. I even saw some people with tears on their faces. For years afterward, I wondered just what the hell happened that night.
Tonight, however, I know.
The people in that bar had nowhere else to go--- no family waiting for them, no presents to open and nobody to kiss under the mistletoe. (AhÖ look at all the lonely people.) Being in that bar was better than sitting at home alone, with no one to talk to and no one to love. They were there to combat a sad fact: Christmas Eve is the longest night of the year when you spend it by yourself.
Mama and Daddy both are dead now. My daughter is 1000 miles away. I have no idea where my son is--- the BC disappeared with him a week ago and even though Iíve called every night, Iíve not gotten a response to any of the messages I left on her answering machine. I am not surprised. If she had HER way, she's erase me completely from Quinton's life.
Tomorrow, Iíll see my brother and my 94 year-old grandmother. Thatís something to look forward to.
Tonight, however, itís just me.
All content © Rob Smith