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Dan Fogelberg

Homesick for the holidays

Homesick for the holidays

Irving Berlin wrote "White Christmas," one of the biggest-selling songs of all time, with tongue planted firmly in cheek. Although the wistful tune soothed homesick soldiers in such God-awful places as Guadalcanal more than half a century ago, and no doubt it still plays in Kandahar today, Berlin most likely wrote what he called "the best song that anybody's ever written" somewhere in the sunny Southwest, probably while sitting by a swanky hotel swimming pool.

Not only was Berlin, a Russian Jewish immigrant, not thinking of some idyllic family Christmas of his youth, chances are that this anthem to homesickness was composed with more than a little...