Today’s seasonal song is ‘Let it Snow’.This song was written by lyricist, Sammy Cahn and composer, Jule Styne in July 1945. It was written in Hollywood, California during a heatwave as Cahn and Styne imagined cooler conditions. Despite the lyrics making no mention of any holiday, the song has come to be regarded as a Christmas song in North America and across the ocean due to its winter theme, being played on radio stations during the Christmas season
I love to see it snow at Christmas time. My love of Christmas snow, like most adults, was born during my childhood and has stayed with me ever since. Should I lay on my death bed one Christmas Eve, no better sight could wave off my passage into tomorrow than being surrounded by my loved ones and family and seeing the snow fall outside.
Snow at Christmas time is most special. I remember living in Canada for two years between early 1964 and 1966. For the first few months, I lived in Montreal, Quebec and when it snows there, it snows in spades and it frequently covers the roofs of cars. I will never forget a sleigh ride I had through the Laurentian Mountains in North Quebec during January 1964. I felt as though I was taking part in the David Lean screen production, ‘Doctor Zhivago’, based on the 1957 Boris Pasternak novel set in Russia between 1917-22.
I will never forget the time that I worked on the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) when I lived in Montreal. I was a server of drink and food on the long-distance runs that would often take three full days to travel to the coast of the country. During such journeys, I would marvel at the wide-open prairie that one would see, with twenty or thirty miles separating one dwelling from another. I will never forget one winter’s train journey out to Winnipeg. Winnipeg lies at the bottom of the Red River Valley; a flood plain with an extremely flat topography. It is on the eastern edge of the Canadian Prairies in Western Canada and is known as the ‘Gateway to the West. Long before one even got to the Province of Manitoba (of which Winnipeg is its Capital), different weather conditions would be experienced with every hundred miles one travelled.
I’ll never forget looking out of the train I was working on one winter’s day and seeing what looked like the tops of a community of houses in the distance. As the train passed closer, I could not believe my eyes. I was able to clearly observe the roofs of the houses but not any part beneath the roofs. I was told that each winter, the occupants would be snowed in for weeks and months at a time in snowdrifts which often reached their up-stairs bedrooms. My mind instantly went back to the film ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers’ where Adam and his six brothers who’d captured their seven brides-to-be caused an avalanche in Echo Pass as they drove through, knowing that they’d be snowed in until the following spring. Unfortunately, they’d forgotten to kidnap the preacher also to marry the couples.
I know that snow means different things to different people. To young children, it represents the fun of snowballing, sledging down hills and building snowmen with mum and dad. To mums and dads everywhere that the snow falls (however materially rich or poor they are), snow represents one of the most natural ways of playing with one’s children without it costing no more than drying off a few damp clothes and a pair of woollen mitts afterwards.
To the young man and woman courting each other, walking home through the snow holding hands with the one you love and want to marry, warms one’s heart better than any seasonal bag of roasted chestnuts or glass of hot punch ever could.
To the old person, it is not the snow they fear but often the ice that lies beneath it and the danger of falling and breaking a leg or a hip. Such bone fractures cannot be so lightly brushed off for the elderly and can lead to months in hospital and often being unable to walk again. If the fallen pensioner is very old with a fragile bone structure, a fall can often precipitate a worsening situation of them giving up the will to live any longer. At best, they are never the same again following a bad fall, and in worse-case scenarios, their lives are shortened by the trauma. It is quite common for some to die soon after a traumatic fall.
If it snows this Christmas, enjoy it if you are safely able to. Snow is a natural cleanser and purifier of the land it covers. Wouldn’t it be the best Christmas message of all was it able to purify all human thought and actions of the people it falls on?
I dedicate my Christmas song today to Chand Mahtani, the friend of mine and Sheila’s. Chand lives in a part of the world where my wife, Sheila, predominantly was raised from child to adult. Sheila told me that snow is never seen in Singapore and that is why the inhabitants love to visit Europe if the opportunity to do so arises. When are you visiting us again, Chand? The next time you visit, please stay at least three days. Meanwhile, Chand, we hope that you and your loved ones have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Bill and Sheila xx
Sheila and I wish all our Facebook friends a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Love and peace
Bill and Sheila xxx