I think Mannheim Steamroller was the first orchestral group to perform Christmas songs with an edge that really caught my attention. Their cd, Fresh Aire Christmas, was played ad nauseum on radio stations when it first released in December of 1993. Since then, other groups have taken interpretations of holiday classics in new instrumental directions. By far, my favorite group is Trans-Siberian Orchestra. They are most famous for “Christmas Eve Sarajevo 12/24,” which released in 1996 on their debut cd, Christmas Eve and Other Stories.
It is this song, however, that will forever be linked to memories with my family and friends in winter.
Just this past March, we had a late snowstorm (really the only one last winter to “paralyze” us here in Baltimore–home of the flurry-freakouts), and we went sled-riding with Brad and his family at a local golf course that is all hills and curves–perfect for sledding.
It was at this time that I was also bitten by the video bug by some of my students (Jenna, in particular), and I was encouraged to make my first family video. True–It’s been my only video to date, although Amy is doing wonders with Madelyn’s horseback riding; still, I had a lot of fun putting together a little video of our snow ride. If you’re logged onto Facebook (I’m not sure if we have to be friends or not), then you can view this video (or should be able to!) with no problems HERE. 🙂
There’s something about documenting an event, though, that makes it seem even more memorable as time goes by. Even with just the passing of several months since we went sledding, I look back at that video and remember those few hours as being some of the best ever spent with our friends.
I know that’s not true. There have been many, many times when we’ve gotten together, and I know that we’ve all shared such wonderful times that would challenge our snow event as “the best” there ever was. Still, the simple documentation of the event makes every moment of it more permanent, more memorable in our minds.
Now, every time I hear this music, I think of the generic abstracts of family, having fun with friends, spending time in the snow. But most of all, I remember the smiles on the faces of our children as they battled the bigger hills, the moments spent together, the memories that they made that they will be referring back to as they get older. It’s in our efforts to document, to record, to make a statement that we were here that is most important. To freeze those moments so we may look back on them fondly and with a smile, to know that love can be captured in still frame and be preserved for a lifetime.
For me, it reminds me of sledding many years ago with my sister on our little slopey street in front of our childhood home. Not only were our friends sledding with us, but all of our parents too. It was one of those neighborhood events that just happened spontaneously with each new snow. The old traditional Flexible Flyers would sail down that snowy road, and we would be screaming just as loud as our parents who had slipped back into their own youths, remembering the days when snowfalls really did paralyze Baltimore.
I hope you can view the video. Although it is 7 minutes of two families sliding down hills having fun, I’d like to think it’s a little bit more than that. It’s a part of history that, perhaps, will rekindle memories of your own when you played in your First Snow, all those years ago.