Canada Waits For Christmas – December 24th
And it’s getting mighty close now. “Oh boy!” I thought yesterday, wild with anticipation to post the song “Same Auld Lang Syne” by Dan Fogelberg whom I could’ve sworn until last night was Canadian. Such a poet, a master of lyrics and voice, and a stellar musician. He just had to be Canadian. He was not. He was one of our dear talented friends from south of the border. I swore again.
Born in Peoria, Illinois (not even close to Canada!) Dan Fogelberg, composer, singer, and songwriter, died of advanced prostate cancer when he was just a year older than I am now. On his tribute website, there are posted letters in a section called “Dear Dan” that fans have sent in over the years. Got some time and love for Dan Fogelberg? These letters could make for a beautiful read.
Canadian or not, today’s the day to revisit “Same Auld Lang Syne,” a tapestry skillfully woven from threads of reunion, regret, and roads not taken. This song is the stuff of relatable human experience. Thank you, dear not-Canadian Dan. I love you anyway.
After the shocking revelation that what I considered the best Canadian Christmas Eve song wasn’t, I headed back to my home province of Alberta and moved in the direction of the Rocky Mountains. There where the foothills begin is nestled the now-rapidly growing community of Cochrane, home of George Fox. And just as Peoria has a Dan Fogelberg Parkway, Cochrane boasts George Fox Trail. (Interesting: George Fox was also the founder of the Quakers. I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess it was a different George Fox. Taking risks, it’s how we grow.)
“Three Little Pennies” is a song from George Fox’s Christmas album released in 1999. I really like it but my favourite George Fox song will always be R.B.J. I made some good memories to that song.
This song is sweet and sentimental and paints a poignant picture of the love and generosity that can happen – especially at Christmas. Don’t like the country music genre? Take heart. This song is perfectly written to fit its country melody and Mr. George Fox is an easy listen.
“There was an old, blind man
who stood on the corner downtown
He was holding a cup
filled up with nothing
from the Christmas shopping crowd
and though I barely came up to the top of his cane
I reached up and gave him
every cent to my name.”
Before wrapping up this virtual Advent calendar of Canadian art and culture for this year, we better look at the work of one more of Canada’s Group of Seven, A.Y. Jackson.
The Bishop’s Man by Linden MacIntyre is an excellent Canadian read. A few Christmases ago we travelled to visit family in B.C. When we walked through the front door, I had a brand-spanking-new hardcover copy of this then-new release tucked under my arm. I’d been reading it on the airplane. Without words, my hosts’ downcast eyes and disappointed faces told me that they’d wrapped up a copy of the same book that waited for me under the Christmas tree.
Thanks for dropping by on Christmas Eve. It was great to have you here with me exploring the Canadiana that I love and that has shaped my life experience. Sorry about the Dan Fogelberg fiasco. These things happen and, clearly, not everyone can be Canadian. Merry Christmas! – Lori 🙂