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I Haven't Laughed This Hard in a Long Time...

Which may simply demonstrate my rather adolescent bemusement this morning, but it begs a place to enjoy it, now and in times to come.

My family grew up together listening to an international compilation of Christmas/holiday songs, so much so that we no longer really remember all the phonograph records involved (though one is The Obernkirchen Children’s Choir Christmas Songs), the recording of which was transcribed to reel-to-reel tapes, then into digital forms now shared via larger-file-size platforms. It has taken on a mythical life all its own, which I continue to enjoy every Advent into Christmastide. The first song is the entrance into this mythos, but I’ve never actually known what the words meant, what the song was, per se. You don’t need that for the mythos to breathe delight within devotion.

I only learned it means “It’s Beautiful in Winter” last night, largely because of a sadness that had arisen within me, which led to a tender request of my partner Brian, which led to me asking my dad about the song’s meanings anyway…

I was coming back from CrossFit yesterday morning when the song came on in my iTunes, Hess Christmas (otherwise unnamed) tracks. My husband has never really liked this music, though he tolerates it. This morning, I realized that his reactivity to it had begun to cloud my own enjoyment. I have often downplayed my responses to his humor so not to create conflict across our family-origin differences. I was listening with his ears more than my own. My own enjoyment had faded as a result, which made me sad.

"I need to ask him to not react aloud as has been his habit," I said to myself. When the next opportunity presented itself, I would ask him not to make fun of it, particularly with this song, with the use of the word "sphincter." He had always joked with that word, which I had tolerated.

Yesterday, the opportunity presented itself. I spoke my tenderness and he (of course) said he did not want to hurt my own Christmas sensibilities. He agreed to refrain from that spoken habit, especially that word when hearing the first song.

Then I received a note from my dad, who had asked a neighbor if she knew the translation. She used to do the SuperText for the Portland Opera. It felt natural to share with Brian the news of what the song actually means, something a Minnesota boy could even get behind! It’s Beautiful in Winter!

Except Dad’s neighbor shared its popular name in German.

Petersburger Schlittenfahrt

Schlittenfahrt. Really? The presence of the 'h' there makes absolutely NO difference for what we both heard, saw.

We haven’t laughed so cathartically in a very long time. It was so very good for our Soul.

And my tenderness? Well, it was what it was…

…and is now something else entirely.

Soft belly laughter. Divine silliness.

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