Monday, November 26, 2012

being the drummer boy

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.

Grandma agrees.

“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. 


  1. I hate Black Friday shopping myself but love the fact that Christmas music has started playing on the radio! This is a beautiful tribute to your beautiful grandmother. I am so happy that all of you were able to spend the holiday with her and I am thankful that you shared it here!

    1. Hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving as well! Thanks for reading.

  2. Love Christmas music, dislike shopping any time but especially around the holidays. What a beautiful memory.

    1. I'm with you on the shopping, Nike. I've always blamed it on growing up in way Eastern Oregon. Shopping meant long drives to the city, following by marathon shopping when you had to get everything at once. Exhausting!