Monday, December 1, 2014
Season's Greetings 2014
My family left religious beliefs up to its individual members. We did not call ourselves atheists, but we were realists and on rare occasions when we went to church on Christmas Eve, it was to take in the atmosphere and music. December 24th was also the day on which the main events took place, and we observed the holidays as Danes of a variety of persuasions did, with great food (always a Christmas goose stuffed with fruit), good wine, and practical gifts. The latter tended to be selected with much thought, and never from a catalog. We also had a tree, a real one, lit with real candles, which was dangerous but the only way in those days, and ever so lovely.
I later discovered that several of our friends were Jewish, but I was never aware of that as a young person—coming to live in the U.S. changed that. I worked at a Philadelphia radio station, WHAT, where I was the only non-Jewish white person—I was also the only one who did not feel a need to alter my name. In Denmark, one of our most popular entertainers was Børge Rosenbaum, who had to change his name to Victor Borge when he came here at the outbreak of WWII. I recall him substituting for Jack Paar during a Christmas week and explaining to the Tonight Show audience how "we" celebrate the holiday in Denmark. It can be done just as well without bringing religion into it.
When hand-carried mail was how we communicated our holiday well wishes, I always looked forward to those decorative cards, displayed them for the remainder of the year, and stored them away for future fond remembrances. A few years back, as friends began to depart, all too soon, the cards served well to rekindle those memories.
I was very fortunate to have worked in a field that generated true friendships, and some of these are reflected in this little video compilation that I put together a few years back. I hope you like it and can forgive a sentimental old fool for lapsing into a sentimental old fool.