'Tis the Season to be Thankful for The Muppets and John Denver
November 28, 2014
Firt written in the winter of 2010: First of all, let me just say that my relationship with The Muppets is purely plutonic. This is not an uncomfortable blog about how I'm inappropriately obsessed with Kermit the Frog and Fozzie Bear. I don't go to Furry conventions dressed as Camilla in hopes that a 6'3" Gonzo finds me attractive and goes "ga-ga." Thus, intrepid reader, you may safely read on and be comfortable in the knowledge that no unseemly behavior lives here. I'm WAY more mature than that. I'm sooooooo much more mature than an improper obsession with a bear who tells jokes. Sheesh. My pallet is much more sophisticated. I'm appropriately obsessed with things like Star Wars and Star Trek andDoctor Who. Duh.
The thing is...I have a secret. I have a secret pleasure that can only be indulged during the holiday season. My anticipation begins mounting around Halloween. The approach of pumpkins and tiny, bite-size Three Musketeers can only mean one thing...well two things. Well...alright...three things. 1. More exercise 2. Getting my bigger jeans out 3. Thanksgiving is coming. (Which truly necessitates the need for thing number 2.) But, it's number 3 that makes me delightfully giddy. I'm teeming with holiday cheer, not only because I can soon stuff my face with yummy seasonal desserts, but also because this is where my five-week holiday window officially begins.
I only have five weeks out of every year. Once Thanksgiving hits, it's official. Even though the holiday commercials began over a month ago, it is now officially the holiday season. I am officially allowed to break out my "John Denver and The Muppets Christmas" CD and have myself "A Merry Little Christmas." I am 7 again, and it's glorious.
The opening chords of the first song begin, and I smell evergreen. I smell that fresh, wondrous pine scent that no car air-freshener can ever duplicate, and I'm home. I am home in my flannel-footed pajamas watching my dad string blue and white Christmas lights on our tree. My dad brings the Christmas box up from the basement, puts on his outdoor work gloves, and begins giving the tree it's magical glow. The rustling of the branches sets free the tree's perfume and it fills the room where I am standing--watching.
Track two begins and I hear the soft chords of the piano. I see my grandmother's hands on her piano (which now sits in my living room) playing Christmas Carols so that we may sing joyously together. From my seat on the wooden stool next to her, I listen to her smokey alto voice harmonize with mine. I watch in wonder as her fingers find the right keys without a bit of sheet music to guide her.
As the CD plays on I am caught up in holiday nostalgia. I'm hovering by the kitchen stove watching my grandmother (my other grandmother) make the best mashed potatoes ever. I'm opening the door to her freezer in order to find the Cool Whip used later that evening for the pie. I steal a scoop. I sit on the living room floor near the fire my grandfather made eating my pumpkin pie with Cool Chip (my second scoop) watching my family talk around the kitchen table. I leave a note for Rudolph in the hopes that he will write me back. Amazingly, he does--he simply leaves a paw print for me on a sheet of paper as an autograph. I can see my breath on the cold window as I scan the night sky for Santa.
This CD is my holiday elixir. John Denver and The Muppets magically release all these warm, cozy, lovely memories. Sometimes I am reduced to a sobbing mess in my car, but I don't care. I love this CD for that very reason. It awakens that childhood spark in me that sees the magic in this season and the magic in life. Any "bah-humbug" within me goes on its merry way, and I'm inspired to buy everyone in the world a Christmas Goose (for the vegans, a Christmas Tofurky). I want to run down the street shouting "Merry Christmas Emporium!! Merry Christmas you beautiful old Building and Loan!!!" to anyone who will listen. I am filled to bursting with love and gratitude for the people in my life--past and present.
And that's my secret. John Denver and The Muppets have a power over me that I can't explain, and I am so very thankful. Thank you, John Denver. Thank you for your guitar and for writing songs that "...fill up my senses." Thank you, Jim Henson. Thank you for being a brilliantly creative man and asking the question, "Why are there so many songs about rainbows?" Without you guys in my life I wouldn't have a window back to my childhood.
So, in the words of John Denver and Rowlf the Dog (Jim Henson), I hope you all "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."