Minnich: Tunes send me to Christmas Past 

As I entered the store I stopped short and looked around for the act of violence causing such screeching and wailing. A high-pitched female voice was so wrought with volume and exertion that I was certain I had come upon an event that would make the nightly news.

But then I heard something in the terror coming out of the store speakers that sounded a little like the word “Christmas.” But it was not just two syllables — more like 12, warbling, pealing, rising in key to challenge the tornado warning sirens I heard in Kansas City. It was four levels above a high C. At this point I reached for the rubber ear plugs that I carry everywhere in my pocket these days.


One never knows when one will encounter the modern application of human vocal athletics to what was once known as music. I refuse to surrender my inner peace and tranquility, let alone my eardrums, to most of what shoppers and diners and even unsuspecting passengers on public transport must endure: a squealing female voice like fingernails on slate; a sound that can take paint off a rusty bridge and curl the teeth.

The young people love it. But it’s not their fault. They never heard Perry Como’s rendition of “There’s No Place Like Home for The Holidays,” or if they did, they quickly stuck their earbuds in their ears to avoid Old Folks pollution. If you’re sitting there wondering who’s Perry Como, please turn the page now. Go read the ads for tush enhancement or something deep like that.

For all my childhood years and to an extent even today, it was not Christmas until I heard Bing Crosby on the radio singing “White Christmas.” The original versions of songs like that and “Silver Bells” (Doris Day?) were as sacred to me as the religious carols and hymns that are not considered acceptable today to play in public, lest someone be offended.

What’s offensive is the ruination applied to those old songs by today’s celebrities who cannot even do the national anthem justice. It is to be sung, not wrung out with a yodel.

To be honest, I was slow to accept new music even when I was going through those rebellious years. I heard Elvis grunt “You Ain’t Nothin’ But a Hound Dog” on the jukebox and predicted he’d be back driving a truck in Tupelo within the month. I thought Buddy Holly was gagging on something. I never got The Beatles, and wondered if Bob Dylan’s singing would improve if he took the doughnut out of his mouth.

I make fun, but I get it. I turned up my nose at big band music when I was in my teens because it was my father’s music. He was a horn player who liked to play the tunes of Glenn Miller, Harry James, the Dorsey brothers. Today, I have complete albums of all those bands and more, and tool along the highway on longer trips singing “I’ve Got A Gal in Kalamazoo.”

The odds are I will run out of road before those classic versions of Christmas music disappear. It gives me some satisfaction to think that many miles down the road, long after my Big Detour, today’s youthful music lovers (those who are not totally deaf) will be feeling nostalgic for Mariah Carey ripping the sheets of “All I Want For Christmas is You” and despising what teenies are committing in the name of music to those old-fashioned hit songs of 2018.