Looking through our family albums recently one thing stands out in regards to Christmas; we are steeped in tradition.  Some might look at the same albums and conclude that we are lacking in imagination, boring even, but I’m a “glass half-full” kind of gal and choose to call it tradition.  

A few years ago, however, I decided that we needed to get outside ourselves and do something for someone else; you know, serve at a homeless shelter, visit kids in the children’s hospital, something like that. Of course, we live in a small town so all of this would require a little bit of travel time. It was a good thought, but it sort of fell apart in the execution.  

My husband, ever the practical one, suggested that since most of our family has a wee bit of musical talent we were best equipped to reach out to our community, on Christmas day, with a few carols at the local nursing home.  I love that this was my husband’s idea because the truth is that the man, sweet as he is, can’t carry a tune in a bucket.  He determined his role would be to take pictures; you know, for future scrapbooks.

What I forgot to take into account was the fact that our saxophone player hadn’t played much in two years, a drummer can never really play softly, no matter how much admonishment he gets from his parents, and the piano, at our particular nursing home, faces the away from the crowd, making it a challenge to get everyone on the same note simultaneously.  In short, we were horrible.  

On the bright side, no one threw tomatoes.  At the nursing home, if the residents don’t like you, they just get up and go back to their rooms.  Unless, of course, they are wheel-chair bound, in which case, they’re stuck.  One sweet 90-year-old man saved the day with a beautiful rendition of Silent Night on his harmonica. 

Though I think our efforts were appreciated, we knew the truth; our future as the Von Holte family was over before it got started.  At least we have pictures.