Wednesday, December 24, 2014
For Christmas: Muddling Through or Hanging a Star
Christmas this year feels bipolar, feels split, feels weird.
On one hand, it is Christmas, a season of hope and good wishes.
On the other hand, Vermont Yankee is closing forever--on Monday. Many people's lives are being changed, disrupted, hurt.
One of my favorite Christmas songs expresses these feelings: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. The song's words acknowledge the bipolar, uncertain nature of a WWII Christmas.
"Through the years we all will be together,
If the Fates allow."
(Here's a link to the lyrics.)
Muddling and Boughs
As a matter of fact, the lyrics for this song are themselves uncertain (link to Wikipedia history).
The WWII Judy Garland version was:
"If the Fates allow,
Until then, we'll have to muddle through somehow."
This version was very popular during and after the war. It was the only version at the time.
In the fifties, Frank Sinatra recorded an album called Cheerful Christmas. He was not happy with the "muddle through" line. He asked the song-writer to make it a little more cheerful, please!
So the line was changed:
"If the Fates allow,
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough."
That's definitely more cheerful, and that is how it is usually sung today.
Usually but not always. There's a website: The 50 Best Versions of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, In Order. This website lists different artists singing the song. Next to each artist is a note for the version the artist sings: M or H (or sometimes M and H). M for Muddle through. H for Hang a star.
The artist decided which version is "my version."
Two Sides Again
I guess we all get to choose which version is "my version." For me, both versions are "my version." Sometimes I'm muddling through my sadness; sometimes I'm hanging a star for the future.
The version I share below is the hopeful version. As a matter of fact, it's Frank Sinatra singing the Frank Sinatra version.
My wish for you:
Be happy. Be healthy.
May you and your family have a good Christmas and a good New Year.