I’ve just arrived at a library and Sinatra comes on the Christmas radio station. I love Christmas music. I love Sinatra. He was so cool, had a great voice. So, I sit and listen for a while.
Ol’ Blue Eyes is crooning, “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm.” A Mills Brothers classic, but Sinatra is doing it justice. It’s got a slightly romantic vibe, acceptable in today’s MeToo climate, unlike “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” I start to sing along with Frank. I’ve got it going on. I should be asked to do a duet with one of his songs, like Celine Dion did. I don’t like Celine.
I start to sing louder which always annoys my family. But they don’t understand. I knew a young man who wanted to be a recording artist, something his family dismissed. I remember a particular line of the acceptance speech he planned to deliver when he won a Grammy Award. “I’d like to thank my family, but…”
I open the car door while the song is still playing and I’m still singing. The song starts to crescendo, “Off with my overcoat, off with my glove. I need no overcoat, I’m burning with love.” My voice hits the top note, let’s face it, not very well, but with commitment. Meaning loud. Then I see a gentleman unlocking his car door as he stares with worry. He carefully gets into his car, still watching me. Perhaps he thinks I’ve got a paper cup and plan to ask for a gratuity.
And like that, my daydream of Frank Sinatra’s estate urging me to record with the crooner crumbles faster than a gingerbread house that hasn’t been enforced with royal icing. I get back into my car and slide down the seat, remaining until the man drives off. It’s a cold night in Iowa, but I am burning with embarrassment. But it doesn’t last long. R&B great Etta James follows with the song, “Merry Christmas, Baby.” Her singing is strong, sure, powerful. And like that, I’m pulled away from my doldrums and am back in the musical groove. I start singing again. Singing strong and sure, even if it’s too loud. I am in the spirit of the season. I feel like that line Etta sings–“I haven’t had a toddy this morning, but I am lit like a Christmas Tree.”