A Blue Christmas, Part One: If Only In My Dreams

It’s been 17 years since I spent a Christmas at my Maryland childhood home. I still have the red-checked flannel shirt I received that year. It’s survived a brutal car wreck, high desert heat, and northwest rain, girlfriends who liked neither flannel nor 17-year-old shirts, and a tolerant, if not completely convinced, wife. It’s a living memory and my own private rosebud.

Now, as I make my home with wife and child 2,000 miles away, while thinking of all that I’ve gained, there are moments of loss and longing. These moments rarely come in April or February. They come when the leaves turn, and I see without seeing the bursts of reds and oranges and yellows of the surrounding Appalachian and Catoctin Mountains. They come in May when I know the old horse pastures are blooming with bluebells. They come at Christmas with faded memories of snowy childhood years when time moved so slow it almost seemed to stop. Each of those winters gifted burnt red cheeks and Christmas tree hunts and hot wassail. Each left footprints in the snow.

“I’ll Be Home For Christmas” was a sentiment from WWI. A soldier’s longing for something that wouldn’t be.  The song was written and messily published in 1943. Born of war, written during another. Here we are again. Some things change. Some things just don’t. It seems to have been songwriter Buck Ram’s idea. It wasn’t his only one either. He also wrote “Only You” and “The Great Pretender,” to name two. Kim Gannon and Walter Kent read a copy of it in a bar over drinks, re-wrote it, copyrighted it, were sued, and ended up sharing it with Ram. Bing Crosby sang it as a follow-up to “White Christmas.”

If a more sweet and true song has been written I haven’t heard it.

I’m dreamin’ tonight of a place I love
Even more then I usually do
And although I know it’s a long road back
I promise you

I’ll be home for Christmas
You can count on me
Please have snow and mistletoe
And presents under the tree

Christmas Eve will find me
Where the lovelight gleams
I’ll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams

If only in my dreams

Postsciptum: A few older holiday ramblings to be found here: http://iaanhughes.com/2008/12/22/if-we-make-it-through-december/, and here: http://iaanhughes.com/2009/10/14/sleighbells-ring-dylan-sings/


About Iaan Hughes

Iaan Hughes is a deejay on 91.3 KBCS in Seattle. He plays country & western music.
This entry was posted in Country, Music, Politics, Pop, Radio and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to A Blue Christmas, Part One: If Only In My Dreams

  1. Steve Saunders says:

    Off topic, but what happened to your Outskirts show? Marty Bisch is on the air saying it now has revolving hosts. What happened?

    • iaanhughes says:

      Hey Steve, unfortunately my job finally got in the way of the 12noon to 3pm weekday gig. I’m still on the air the last two Sundays a month on Walkin’ the Floor and hopefully, it the planets align I’ll work my way into an evening slot at some point. In the meantime, I might do the occasional sub and begin a podcast again. Either will be announced on The Real Mr. Heartache.


  2. Arnold Rosen says:

    Iaan, may I have your permission to use a few excerpts from your “A Blue Christmas, Part One IIf Only in my Dreams” narrative? I plan to include it in an article, “Christmas in the Military: Sun City Vets Recall How They Spent Christmas While Serving,” in the December 2011 issue of Sunsations magazine. I will gladly acknowledge your article.


    Arnold Rosen

    • iaanhughes says:

      Hi Arnold, yes you have permission to use what you’d like. Thanks for asking and reading the blog. If you remember let me know when your article is published. I’d love to see it.

      Iaan Hughes

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