Monday, December 01, 2008

Thanksgiving Interlude

I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving holidays!

We certainly did. It was especially refreshing to Papa Rooster, I think, because since Joel preached on Sunday, PR got a REAL break! (Thanks, Joel!!) We actually hung pictures together on Saturday, which is one of those rather time-consuming projects I had despaired of ever getting his attention. But yes, many pictures were hung--and it's only six months post-move!

The best part of the break, though, was spending time with PR's parents, his brother, his wife and their daughter, our niece. They all came about noon on Thursday and stayed overnight till Friday, and it was so enjoyable to spend that kind of relaxed time together. It's a blessing to be so close to them (they're both about 1.25 hours away), yet one downside is that visits are always overshadowed by the need to leave before it gets too late. So it was fun to stay up late watching a movie and laughing together.

The highlight of their visit was on Thursday afternoon after the meal (which was quite good, thank you; my turkey was the best I'd ever made, thanks to this article).

Since our kids have auditions this Friday and could use the practice in front of others, they each performed their one-minute song and dance routines for an appreciate audience of their parents, grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousin. Then Aunt urged Uncle to get out his guitar and share some music he's been working on (he's a songwriter and recently has been writing "soundtrack" type music for live theater plays). Next, Uncle played guitar while Grandpa sang all the verses of "Oh, the Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night," and then Grandpa and PR rustily made it through a duet they used to sing together called "She'd Be Far Better Off With You," from Andrew Lloyd Weber's little-known Aspects of Love. Then Blondechick let herself be persuaded to sing Eva Cassidy's version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" for the group. Uncle played a little more for us on the guitar; then Bantam13 asked Uncle to teach him to play a pop song on the guitar, and things wrapped up after that.

It reminded me of a quote from the CD cover materials of one of our favorite Christmas CD's, John Doan's Wrapped in White. Its songs "are presented on an assortment of authentic instruments that speak of the innocence of music making just for the love of it that fueled amateurism across America at the turn of the century and brought delight to many homes. Back then, people were each other's greatest asset in passing the time, and what seemed to matter most was that they shared part of themselves when they played music together." (bold type mine)

I'm not anti-technology--our older kids have iPods and we enjoy watching movies together--but it sure seems like a good thing to teach our kids to find people entertaining, too, and to practice "sharing part of ourselves" in that way. Our family agreed that we should do this again at Christmas--even preparing some songs for performance then. Your family may not be so musical, but how about story-telling, or poetry recitation, or giving a reading with expression and animation? If you're really ambitious, stage a scene from a play! And don't just ask the kids to do it--let them see the adults getting into it. Do it "just for the love of it" and kids will enjoy it because you do. It's harder with teenagers, I know, but it's worth trying to engage them.

Still, we sure had a good time "passing the time" together watching a few movies these last few weekends. We saw the recent remake of Get Smart, which was highly amusing...we saw Iron Man, which was a well-done superhero movie, and I really liked Robert Downey Jr. in the title role. (He looked only a little older than he looked back in the 80's!) The most recent Indiana Jones movie was entertaining, too. Our whole musical-loving extended family re-watched some of the musical portions of Sweeney Todd, which I reviewed last year...but the best thing we saw was Bella on Sunday night, with just our kids. If you missed it when it was out in theaters, like we did, don't miss it on DVD. What an amazing story of tragedy and beautiful redemption.

Oh, and we have had a long-standing holiday tradition which we discovered is also a tradition of another family at Light of Christ, so we did it together this weekend--watching the 1970 movie musical Scrooge. If you're not familiar with this delightful film starring Albert Finney, then treat yourself this holiday season! This film has it all--British accents, wonderful musical numbers, romance, a crippled boy soprano and a marvelous message. We never tire of it.

So our Thanksgiving was indeed a most refreshing break--one to be very thankful for.

Now go forth and sing or read or act or recite together. And check out Wrapped in White. And Bella. And Scrooge!

1 comment:

Jessica said...

I think entertaining each other is a good thing to practice too. My husband and I take turns reading to each other in the evening. He reads to me while I do the dishes and I read to him while he picks up. It makes the chores so much more pleasant, and it's lovely to enjoy a book together.

Plus, he does all the voices. :)