Somewhere along the way, she'd managed to accumulate a tape of Christmas music. It was a mangy-looking cassette tape with 90 minutes on each side containing all sorts of random Christmas tunes, cobbled together by a little friend of hers with a tape recorder, a working knowledge of the record button and tons of LPs her family had accumulated over the years. The two little girls pieced together 180 minutes of music to go to sleep by. She must have been around 5 or 6 years old.

A little curly-haired only child, we spent our nights putting her to bed with love. There would be the reading of the stories, or sometimes the making up of the stories if it was me doing the bed-putting. I knew she was really, really smart because we'd take turns telling stories that had never existed before and her parts would be just as (if not more) interesting than mine. I was trying hard, too. Sure, I'd usually have to start them, but once they took on a life of their own, she was right there at every paragraph when it was her turn, filling in details and emotions and downright scary stuff sometimes. When it came time to describe the monster that we both knew was waiting out in the woods or on the roof or wherever the story took us, no one could make up a monster better than her.

I've never seen her really afraid, but you have to know fear to make up monsters that good.

After the calming down from the story-telling or story-reading excitement, when the story had run its course and little blue eyes were drooping, there still could be no turning out the light and leaving of the room without the playing of "my tape." My wife was a big proponent of breast feeding, and I heard stories of kids who breast fed until what seemed to me to be middle age. We didn't have that issue with the breast feeding, but this business of playing "my tape" before bed went on for many, many years. Enough to make me concerned toward the end.

I often took that old cassette in my hands and scrutinized it closely to look for flaws. Just a minor crack here or a screw loose there. Never did I find any evidence that the tape was going to give out. I worried about it sometimes. I thought she was getting way too attached to this tape of hers as the years went by. But then I would think of the peace it gave her, lying there in her room by herself in this large dark world. And there was one song on it that dug itself deep into me over those years. I'd forgotten about it until recently, but I finally found what it was and found a copy of it. I cannot listen to this song without shivering and weeping like a little lost kid.

It was written by Bob Beers but the version we heard every night was sung by John Denver along with the Muppets. You could plainly hear Kermit being moved to notes a frog can seldom find.



The garment of life, be it tattered and torn
The cloak of the soldier is withered and worn
But what child is this that was poverty-born
The peace of Christmas Day?

The branch that bears the bright holly
The dove that rests in yonder tree
The light that shines for all to see
The peace of Christmas Day.

The hope that has slumbered for 2000 years
The promise that silenced 1000 fears
A faith that can hobble an ocean of tears
The peace of Christmas Day.

The branch that bears the bright holly
The dove that rests in yonder tree
The light that shines for all to see
The peace of Christmas Day.

Add all the grief that people may bear
Total the strife, the troubles and care
Put them in columns and leave them right there
The peace of Christmas Day.

The branch that bears the bright holly
The dove that rests in yonder tree
The light that shines for all to see
The peace of Christmas Day.



CST approved

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