Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Spector

( Click play , then read)

I'm from the West Coast, so when I moved to New York many years ago ( I've since moved to central Texas) the snow became an important role in my christmas experience. Yes, I'd seen snow ... I'd played in it, sled down hills in Sierra Nevada as a kid, but snow in New York is different.

For one, in New York there's always people out in it... lots of people who have to be somewhere, fast. There is an energy . It's grey and smells smokey-sweet ( at times ;) from vendors roasting chestnuts on the corner. The snowy season there is somehow masculine, not like grandma's soft white powder in quaint old western towns like say, Virginia City.

So, when I was new to the city I walked around a lot by myself. I'd just gotten a job at a bar on 9th and C, and although I'd quickly met many new and interesting characters, I found myself alone on the street, christmas eve.. in the snow.. only this particular night ( probably due to the christmas eve thing :) it was quiet. I relished the loneliness, or rather, the aloneness- There was the melancholy city glam of fat colored lights in tiny windows, black fire escapes, pizza places.... and an occasional dog walker in pajama bottoms and a heavy coat.

Finally, I made it back to St. Marks on the way home at about 1:00 am, when I heard a juke box.

It was my favorite holiday song sung by Ronnie Spector and the Ronettes which always reminded me of my mother with a " bubble" hair do and pink plastic x-mas trees all within the context of some Martin Scorsese film.


I slowed and looked in. Only, it wasn't a juke box, It was freaking Ronnie Spector on a tiny stage wearing a santa hat. The club was dark but for the red light shining down on her small frame and a handful of girls ( probably less) I recognized from the bar ( all wearing santa hats). I walked in until I was fully witnessing my own mini christmas freak out moment. I moved toward the stage and was greeted with warm smiles from everyone. They didn't say "join us" but they didn't have to.

I took off my winter hat and listened to the music feeling so grateful and strange. Shortly after beginning to sing Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" ( made famous by Brenda Lee) Ronnie took off her hat and plopped it on my head down over my eyes. I still have my Spector santa hat, and I still miss being near snow and the city during this time of year.