Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Christmas 2014

  This Christmas letter will be a kind of “take off” on the old “good news--bad news” shtick. In light of my hospital visit and what I went through during the Thanksgiving season, it’s a concept that’s fresh on my mind. (For the gory details you can e-mail me or call me but I’m weary of rehashing it by now.) Suffice to say that December 5th was a banner day for me – it was the day I realized I could play the guitar again. Up until then I didn’t know if I’d have the strength and I’m not ashamed to admit I wept out of sheer joy and relief.  And I can truthfully say that next to my heart surgery a few years back this has been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to deal with.
But as I write this, I’m on the mend, on the way back to being myself again.
   So … are you thoroughly fed up with hearing about my woes? Well, if you’re not, I am.
   Here’s my version of “good news/bad news” – more good than bad, happily.
This year I’ve had moments of both – Highlights on the good side – Going to see Tony Bennett with Ms. Hackett, Jazz Vespers at Wilshire BC, Jesters Show, Charlotte trip, “His Story … My Songs”( Soon to be a CD, I hope), Birthday celebrations both local and in Vegas, “Phineas Peabody’s Magical, Musical, Circus”(My return to do a drama/music workshop in Winnsboro, TX),  Recording session in Cisco, TX with Dave Washburn’s group, Steve Martin concert, Reunion with St. Augustine group in Birmingham, Trip to New England and NYC and of course all the various gigs with the groups I play with – AChord Trio, DW ¾ Fast Jazz Band, Mark McKenzie Quartet, Singapore Slingers, Pocket Sandwich Theater, Nobles of Note, Dallas Banjo Band, Wilshire Winds. And in addition there’s been some new songs.
    As for the bad news --- this recent medical bout was an unwelcome intrusion. I planned to go to visit Wes and Heidi Turner in Columbus, OH, for Thanksgiving but that didn’t happen. However, that particular occurrence is a nice segue into the whole “good news/bad news” balancing act.
    Bad news --- I didn’t get to go to Columbus. Good News – I caught the problem before I left on the trip. Had I been on the train and this stuff would have happened then that would have been a disaster of huge proportions. God’s timing was much better than mine, as per usual.
    And throughout that ordeal I had numerous people to be thankful for – I was well cared for. That’s some darn good news.
   Okay, Gagliardi, thanks for the update on your medical journey but what does this have to do with Christmas.
    Let’s try this on for size, shall we. Think back to the first Christmas and imagine what was going on in the lives of those involved in the now familiar story.
Bad News -- Here’s King Herod who marshals all the might and power of his kingdom to find a couple of teenagers (More than likely the right age for Joseph and Mary) and kill their baby son, Jesus. Good News – God sees to it he doesn’t succeed.
   Or let’s imagine one of the shepherds, we’ll call him Sam, was hoping to be at home asleep on that fateful night but he got “night duty” and had to be there. For him that probably seemed like bad news but  look at what he would have missed --- A massive display of heavenly pyrotechnics with light, sound and more than likely one heck of an orchestra announcing the best news the world had ever heard or will ever hear.
   And let’s not forget Joseph who is told by his soon-to-be wife that she’s pregnant and guess who the Father is? For a young man to hear this would have been “bad news” indeed but the good news is he believed her, he trusted her, he trusted God. You know he didn’t have to. He could have been well within his rights to denounce her and abandon her but he didn’t.
   So this Christmas as you move through the season and you have your share of “good news/bad news” moments just remember it’s always been that way. Even so God has been and is faithful – at least that’s my belief.
   May you have more “good news” events than bad during this season of really “good news” and may God grant you the ability to cope with those bad news moments.


George Gagliardi