s skippy the bush kangaroo: The Only Modern Xmas Story

skippy the bush kangaroo



Monday, December 24, 2012

The Only Modern Xmas Story

I re-posted this at AngryBear last year. It's still the only story that resonates for the season. Without further ado, Mark Evanier:

I arrived, headed for my favorite barbecue stand and, en route, noticed that Mel Tormé was seated at one of the tables.

Mel Tormé. My favorite singer. Just sitting there, sipping a cup of coffee, munching on an English Muffin, reading The New York Times. Mel Tormé.

I had never met Mel Tormé. Alas, I still haven't and now I never will. He looked like he was engrossed in the paper that day so I didn't stop and say, "Excuse me, I just wanted to tell you how much I've enjoyed all your records." I wish I had....

I waved the leader of the chorale over and directed his attention to Mr. Tormé, seated about twenty yards from me.

"That's Mel Tormé down there. Do you know who he is?"

The singer was about 25 so it didn't horrify me that he said, "No."

I asked, "Do you know 'The Christmas Song?'"

Again, a "No."

I said, "That's the one that starts, 'Chestnuts roasting on an open fire...'"

"Oh, yes," the caroler chirped. "Is that what it's called? 'The Christmas Song?'


"That's the name," I explained. "And that man wrote it." The singer thanked me, returned to his group for a brief huddle...and then they strolled down towards Mel Tormé. I ditched the rest of my sandwich and followed, a few steps behind. As they reached their quarry, they began singing, "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire..." directly to him.

A big smile formed on Mel Tormé's face — and it wasn't the only one around. Most of those sitting at nearby tables knew who he was and many seemed aware of the significance of singing that song to him. For those who didn't, there was a sudden flurry of whispers: "That's Mel Tormé...he wrote that..."

As the choir reached the last chorus or two of the song, Mel got to his feet and made a little gesture that meant, "Let me sing one chorus solo." The carolers — all still apparently unaware they were in the presence of one of the world's great singers — looked a bit uncomfortable. I'd bet at least a couple were thinking, "Oh, no...the little fat guy wants to sing."

But they stopped and the little fat guy started to sing...and, of course, out came this beautiful, melodic, perfectly-on-pitch voice. The look on the face of the singer I'd briefed was amazed at first...then properly impressed.

On Mr. Tormé's signal, they all joined in on the final lines: "Although it's been said, many times, many ways...Merry Christmas to you..." Big smiles all around.

And not just from them. I looked and at all the tables surrounding the impromptu performance, I saw huge grins of delight...which segued, as the song ended, into a huge burst of applause. The whole tune only lasted about two minutes but I doubt anyone who was there will ever forget it.


Go read the whole thing. The rest of us have to abide with this:







If you liked this, please consider joining me in donations to Oxfam America or Heifer in honor of others. Which will still deliver an e-card in time for anything today.
posted by Ken Houghton at 10:05 PM |

2 Comments:

Heh, indeedy. "This video does not exist."

That is quite the metaphysical statement.
commented by Anonymous lea-p, 7:58 AM PST  
great story, ken.

i've often seen many great performers on the street (i live in la) and i've learned that the best thing that works is just a quick "excuse me, i just want to say that i love the work that you do" and a brief hand shake, then moving on to let them know you're not going hang with them and insist they engage in conversation (or worse, try to get them to give you work).

everyone i've used this approach with has been gracious and appreciative.

happy holidays buddy
commented by Blogger skippy, 10:01 AM PST  

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