The Jazz Corner in Hilton Head has served as a haven for jazz enthusiasts for nearly a quarter of a century. Brad and I were fortunate to take in Lavon Stevens on the piano and singer Louise Spencer this past week. Dinner was fantastic and the crowd responsive as they played a variety of holiday songs and traditional jazz tunes.
As soon as I heard the familiar strains of the classic song “Moon River,” tears began to swell.
Moon River, wider than a mile, I’m crossing you in style some day…
Memories flooded back to my childhood, to a simpler time during the holiday season. Snuggled in my pajamas with footies, the multi-colored lights from the fresh Christmas tree reflecting on the ceiling, the pine scent flooding our family room. I could hardly wait for one of my favorite holiday traditions; The Andy Williams Christmas Show. Mom turned on the TV, and adjusted the rabbit ears. The NBC Peacock appeared and then magic. Andy Williams and ensemble started crooning “We Need A Little Christmas Now.”
My five-year-old self squiggled and wiggled on the shag carpet covered floor, trying to make space among my four siblings (the youngest, Gordie, wouldn’t make an appearance for two more years). I watched my first crush sing “The Christmas Song” to his mama. My heart swelled as I felt Andy was singing to me. My dreams were dashed when his beautiful wife, Claudine Longet showed up on set.
Oh dream maker, you heart breaker, wherever you’re goin’, I’m goin’ your way…
I waited patiently, hoping to hear Moon River during the broadcast. It wasn’t to be.
But, it didn’t take much pleading for my mom to dig into the wooden cabinet filled with vinyl and pull out the album with Andy’s renditions of movie themes, including the Grammy Award winning Moon River.
The day after our Jazz Corner experience, Brad and I drove to Savannah and decided to take in the city via the Old Town Trolley Tours. We could explore the city while hopping off and on the trolley. We hit the City Market, walked through Forsythe Park, and marveled at the massive Greek Revival and Italianate style homes.
A highlight was stepping into the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist.
Volunteers were finishing up the last touches to the glorious Nativity.
Two drifters, off to see the world, there’s such a lot of world to see…
And then, after hopping back on the trolley, the little Christmas miracle happened.
“On the right you’ll see the Mercer-Williams home, built for Johnny Mercer’s great-grandfather,” our personable driver Miss Denise offered.
Denise stopped briefly in front of the beautiful home and said, “So who was Johnny Mercer? Let me play a little something for you…”
And with that, she clicked on her phone, and just as the night before, those familiar strains of nostalgia once again came back to me.
Moon River, wider than a mile…
Stop the bus! Johnny Mercer wrote the lyrics to not only Moon River, but to hundreds of songs over his career, from the 1930’s to the late 1960’s.
I turned to Brad, squeezed his hand, and cracked up.
Coincidence? One of life’s little gifts?
We’re after the same rainbow’s end, Waitin’ ’round the bendMy huckleberry friend Moon river and me
As the song wrapped, I knew I found my message for this Christmas wish for you.
I hope your holiday season is filled with fond memories, nostalgia, and loved ones to drift through this world in.