Squeezed into the back seat of Grandma Shelby’s car, I’d rather be anywhere else. She's riding shotgun and wants to go shopping on Black Friday. I want to hole up in an empty room all by myself. Shopping has never been my thing, but always hers.
Auntie Linda plays the role of the chauffeur, one of Grandma’s caretgivers, she takes the wheel and maneuvers through the traffic. All day long, the sky has unleashed a never-ending pounding of Seattle rain. My sister Konnie sits beside me holding Grandma’s purse at the ready to help with any whim or request.
I think about my cold, wet feet. Wish my rain boots weren't locked in the trunk of my car back at the hotel. Wish I hadn't been so concerned with fashion this morning to opt for my color coordinating but impractical flats. I hate being wet more than any other feeling.
Auntie turns the dial on the radio.
Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum
“I forgot that this station plays Christmas music starting today,” Auntie says.
A new born King to see, pa rum pump um pum
“The Drummer Boy. One of my favorites,” she said.
“Don’t you know how to sing?” Grandma asks us.
“I didn't know you wanted us to.” I glance over at Konnie and we softly join in,
So to honor Him, pa rum pum pum pum. When we come.
|Grandma Shelby with all the girls|
I know instantly this moment is one I’ll want to remember. Packed away with all the other memories of Christmases past at Grandma’s house. The tree covered in angels surrounded by a white picket fence. The mounds of presents. The 13 stockings Grandma sewed with a name for each of her grandchildren. The ham and stuffing. The Star Wars movie marathons. Uncle Greg and Dad getting up to do the twist while sister Ashley and I are forced to reenact our school Christmas program singing “Rocking around the Christmas Tree.”
Today, Konnie and I sing, off key and words jumbled , through Seattle’s rain and Black Friday traffic. We are the drummer boy. Singing to honor her, hoping to see her smile.