A couple of weekends ago, Joe and I, along with our friend Janice, attended a Christmas concert performed by the Marietta Pops Orchestra, held at Marietta First Baptist Church.
Joe and I had moved to Marietta, a former small town and current suburb of Atlanta, from real Atlanta over a year ago, but, because of the pandemic, we couldn't get a good feel for all that Marietta has to offer. Plus, we were a little snobby. The bad thing about living in Atlanta is, duh, the traffic, but the good thing is access to fine dining and the arts.
So, when we arrived, in the rain, at Marietta First Baptist Church that evening, our expectations weren’t particularly high. We figured the church would be just as beautiful inside as it is outside, and it was. But the Marietta Pops Orchestra? Really? How could they hold a candle to the Atlanta Symphony?
But, Oh Holy Night!, they were amazing. I don’t know enough musical jargon to adequately describe what we experienced but those folks could play. There were regular violins and those big violin-looking things that sit on the floor. And horns! French ones and trombone ones and those little piccolo ones. There was even a guy with a triangle. I'm telling you, that Baptist front altar area was full of people who knew what they were doing, and we felt lucky to be there.
However, this post isn’t really about how great the Marietta Pops Orchestra is. It’s about how much Joe loves Christmas music and what a bad singer he is.
Although Joe and I had known each other for over twenty years when we met up again, there were still many things we didn’t know about each other. We started dating in the Spring, so we had quite a bit of time to reconnect as Spring turned to Summer and Summer turned to Fall, and thoughts of Winter and Christmas began dancing in our heads.
But I quickly found out that, for Joe, the Christmas season comes musically sometime in early November when he cranks up his car Spotify app with the likes of Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer and Bob Dylan’s Christmas album. Let me be clear. Early November, not after Thanksgiving November.
That first early November, before I knew what hit me, The Carol of the Bells was playing on Joe’s car radio when he arrived to pick me up. Not only that. He was singing along. I think.
I’m not sure what Joe does can be described as singing. I would call him a one-note wonder, but doing so would be way, way too generous. That’s because Joe’s one note isn’t a note at all. It’s some mysterious guttural sound that one might make if one were perhaps digging a deep ditch in inhospitable soil.
Poor Rudolph, poor Santa, poor Frosty, poor sweet Baby Jesus, the man has no pity. He’s an equal opportunity carol abuser. There is one notable exception, however. Joe’s a master “rum-a-pum-pum"-er when enjoying The Little Drummer Boy. He even gives it a flourish, a rolling of the “r” in “rum”.
But, back to that recent Saturday, you can imagine how thrilled Joe was when, right there on our performance program, he observed that a section of the presentation would be a sing-along.
All I could hope for, on that bleak early Winter’s Night, was for God to rest my merry gentleman so we could all have a silent night.
Which we did, as the Marietta Pops Orchestra completed its superb performance to a standing ovation, and we drove home, quietly enjoying the Christmas lights around the Square.