What I believe was actually a propaganda piece written at a time when real estate was cheap in Southern California to stop us all from moving there to get away from the snow and cold.
Oh yeah its a beautiful song and it warms your heart. You know what else warms your heart? How about the searing hot blood trying to get through all that bacon fat wrapped around turkey legs served with stuffing and gravy that has been lodged up in your aorta since thanksgiving while you're out shoveling feet fulls of snow just to get your car out.
That warms your heart a plenty thank you very much.
If Bing was still alive I'd drive to California and give him a good smack in the puss!
The smug irony of all this.... are you ready?
Bing lived in Southern California where they barely ever saw snow. All those TV shows showing him inside by the fire with snow falling out the window or singing to a pretty girl on a sleigh in "the park," was all generated by some little dude standing on scaffolding above them with a box of fake snow.
And while we shovel this stuff by the foot back here he was poolside laughing his ass off counting all those "White Christmas" royalties.
So can you guess what I was just doing?
I sure as hell wasn't singing "White Christmas!"
On Christmas 2020, almost 80 years after Berlin penned the classic tune, we got 750 feet of snow in Northwest Pennsylvania. We actually only got about a foot, but I count by the shovelful as I slip my way down the driveway clearing it inch by inch. The entire time I picture my doctor sitting down as he had me pick up my pace on a treadmill, wearing a white lab coat and oddly talking about cows as he watch my heart rate rise. As I huffed and puffed and questioned my decision to go to the doctor in the first place, he calmly and pleasantly said that my heart was in good shape.
So that pounding in my chest must have been rage then? He didn't have a piece of equipment that could answer that.
Actually, as much as I wish my body was still twenty-something, this shovel-fest wasn't horrible.
I got to thinking about my dad. He taught me how to shovel snow, ironically while whistling songs like "White Christmas." He also taught me to get a stress test, but that's another story.
When I was 12 the Northeast had a helluva winter. We had a weeklong-ish power outage due to an ice storm and that was followed soon after by the famed Blizzard of 78.
Yes we refer to it exactly that way. Books have been written about it.
Shoveling out after this storm seemed like an daunting task. Too much snow, hell it was higher than I was at the time.
My dad was calm soul.
A job needed to be done, so, take a breath and start. Just do the job.
I don't remember him complain that it needed to be done, he just did it. (You should've heard me this morning as I couldn't find my gloves and realized somewhere in that big mound of snow outside there lie every winter coat I own in the back of my car.)
My dad taught me to do one shovel at a time and to cut the snow into manageable chunks. That storm back in my youth dropped over four feet on us so we had to take each shovel width apart in layers.
Each shovel width took 3 to 5 scoops and tosses high over the bank to clear down to pavement. A long driveway, like my grandparents, took six of us over for hours.
I'd say it wasn't fun, but I think about it every year and that makes me think of my dad, and my little shovel they got me. I also remember learning of family dynamics and the ability to control emotions.
Remember I said my dad was calm and never complained. The most I ever heard him complain came that day in that long driveway owned by my grandparents. We helped dig them out. Grampa was out there too. He sorta started at one end and met us somewhere in the middle. My dad and I started at the road and my brothers traversed across the deep snow to reach grampa.
After several hours we managed a more than good car width path to their garage. Good, they can get their vehicle out in case of emergency. As a reward we knew there was some soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, the best of all snow shoveling meals ever.
We were packing up shovels when Grampa said "after we warm up we'll dig out rest, we need to be able to turn the cars around."
"You're kidding?" my dad said.
Grampa wasn't kidding.
So before we packed up dad, visibly pissed but not saying a word, decided not to take a break. So we kept on digging. I'm not even sure he had soup and sandwiches at the end because he wanted to leave before saying something he'd regret later. We dug enough to turn a semi around in the driveway before we got the ok that was enough.
I thought a lot about that today as I shoveled 750 feet of snow to free my car. By the way I have a garage, but it is up behind the house which would easily add about 1,000 foot of snow to shovel more, especially once I finished the turn around area.
Of course this is all in jest. I don't hate Bing or Irving or any of the other people who have sung this song over the years (though once Bing did, it almost seems worthless to try to do it again.) And I don't hate the snow, especially after my stress test this summer.
As I was writing this I decided to look up a little about the song and I read a story about Crosby visiting the troops in Germany during World War Two. Apparently he was asked by a commander if he planned on singing "White Christmas" and he said sure. The commander reportedly told me that he would listen from behind the tents because he didn't want his men to see him cry. As Crosby performed the song he too had difficulty holding back tears as he watched the soldiers in the audience tearing up. It wasn't long after that show that thousand of the men and women in the audience died in pivotal and famed Battle of the Buldge.
So Bing Crosby was not a jerk