It’s Christmas morning, and I plan to enjoy the holiday later with my loved ones. But first I have a date with a different “family”—those attending the Holiday Dinner at the
Madison Senior Center. I’m sort of dessert, providing 45 minutes of song before Bingo, which might just be the biggest draw of all. Donations are encouraged, but I can tell from playing here last year that some of the diners at this hall in the heart of the city have no more in their pockets than in their stomachs. One man wore a bathrobe over his street clothes, evidently layering every stitch he owned trying to keep warm. It reminded me that the Christmas tradition started not at Macy’s or even a thermostat-controlled church, but in a feeding trough in a barn.
I’m guessing that most of the people attending today’s luncheon have nowhere else to go for the holidays, or they’d be there. I play a lot of senior gigs this time of
year, and see a lot of lonely-looking people. I try to rekindle happy memories and help them smile and feel connected with a world that has largely passed them by.
While I enjoy raising glasses with family and friends, watching the grandkids rip open packages and especially eating too much of my wife’s fabulous Christmas dinners, nothing moves me more than singing “Silent Night” with folks who might have first learned it during the Great Depression.
Like I tell them at the end of a show, I’d like to wish you a Happy Hanukah, a Joyous Quanza, a Rocking Ramadan and a Very Merry Christmas!