About Me

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Lake Mathews (Perris), CA, United States
Born in Illinois, I grew up in Wilmette, a northern suburb of Chicago. I have one sibling, an older brother. I am married, for the 2nd time now, to Butch & got 4 children in the deal. They have gone on to make me grandmother 25 times over & great-grandmother to over 20!. After many years working in industry, I got my bachelors and masters degrees in speech communication, & was a professor in that field for 13 years. I retired in 2001 & returned to school & got my doctorate in folklore. Now I meld my two interests - folklore & genealogy - & add my teaching background, resulting in my current profession: speaker/author/entertainer of genealogically-related topics. I play many folk instruments, but my preference is guitar, which I have been playing since 1963. I write the "Aunty Jeff" column for the Informer, newsletter of the Jefferson County NY Gen. Soc. I work in partnership with Gena Philibert-Ortega & Sara Cochran as Genealogy Journeys® where we focus on educating folks about Social History. More about that: genaandjean.blogspot.com. More on our podcasts: genjourneys.podbean.com. More about my own projects: Circlemending.org.

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Sunday Singalong: Holidays, Foods, Songs

 Another week has passed and I have discovered that holiday music has been playing on public address and "muzak" players all over! It seems all have gotten into the holiday season with full immersion. I'm actually ready for it this year (that is, the music, not necessarily all the Christmas and related events . . . and I may not fully embrace it all before the first of January, so I am enjoying the lights and feel of the season - TV movies, foods, blog posts, etc. - vicariously . . . less cleanup? Sorry, my cynical side slipped out).

Well, I mentioned food. There was a time when I did baking and prepared holiday potluck dishes, etc. But as I have gotten older, I've learned a few things (about the actual food prep and my own behaviors):

1)    I tire rapidly when baking or doing any extensive cooking . . . so I don't any more.

2)    I will sample as I prepare and consume the product of my efforts afterwards . . . this is evident in short order once I pack the holiday implements away and attempt to wear clothing that had fit just fine prior to December (most of my holiday attire has been purchased a size or 2 higher than I might normally wear, to accommodate the holiday fare).

3)    If I don't bake, but still answer the door to visitors, goodies come into my home with little to no effort (see #2 for the drawback).

4)    I can actually enjoy the season without seasoning (e.g., sugar, salt, cinnamon, anise, cloves, etc.) . . . but do I really want to?

5)    Cleanup is a breeze when I am not the chef or baker!

6)    Amazing, pre-prepared foods of all types are readily available, and many stores deliver! Some items even involve a little, optional, personal touch (e.g., a quick warm-up in my oven, the addition of some powdered sugar, etc.), allowing me to look like the woman with the white thumb (especially if I put the items on my own good serving dishes).

So, here is the Sunday Singalong challenge:

So many holiday songs involve the mention of food or drink or actually are ABOUT consumables. Whether the song comes from the Christmas holiday, Kwanzaa celebration, Jewish tradition, New Year welcoming, or any others that might connect with your culture(s) or life, share the title, lyrics, link to a YouTube video, etc. Share the reason the song is remembered by or important to you. Here is my offering:

"The Candy Cane Tree" - written & sung by my friend, Tom Paxton. I'm not sure why this is one of my favorites on his Christmas CD (A Child's Christmas, 1992). Maybe because it is a non-controversial song (unless one has some issues with candy-cane-eating elves). It's also a song that screams, "everyone join in!" When I sing it at a music gathering, the chorus is picked up quickly and soon everyone is singing "The candy, the candy cane tree, I'll pick some for you if you pick some for me, For Christmas is coming, come hurry with me to the candy, the candy cane tree." (Now, I'm not sure why I can't pick my own and, instead, ask you to pick some for me, for which I'll reciprocate . . . maybe it is possible for me to look a little less greedy if the candy that overflows my basket is picked for someone else instead of for me . . . well, there goes my issue with the post-Christmas poundage.)

Want to hear it? check out "The Candy Cane Tree" by Tom Paxton on YouTube          

Want to get the CD? Yup, it's still available, 30 years later. Used copies are available online, but I usually end up with my "Fail Safe" resource: Amazon.com, A Child's Christmas (when I checked it out it shows I've ordered it twice in the last 4 years, probably as gifts . . . it's a great choice!).

And now, what foods are sung about during these months, extolling the wonders and benefits (or maybe cautions) of the edible treats in your life?

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