charlie brownLast night, I went to a concert that’s becoming a new Christmas tradition.

Halifax is lucky to be the adopted home of Jerry Granelli, the drummer in the Vince Guaraldi Trio that played the score for A Charlie Brown Christmas which first aired on CBS 50 years ago. He was paid $68 and got no royalties for the work, so he can be forgiven for turning his back on it for many years and cringing when he heard in airports and shopping malls.

In 2013, however, he had a change of heart (not unlike another grinchy holiday favourite). He pulled together a pianist and a bassist (he is the only surviving member of the original trio) as well as a children’s choir and they performed these holiday standards that you’d have to live under a rock to not know.

Now in its third season, the concert is being mounted across the country. I’ve been there every year, reveling in this music of my childhood that sparked a lifelong love of jazz. I have a LOT of Christmas music, and a LOT of it is jazz, but this album is my all-time favourite.

There was something new this year. Something that got me right there.

This year, Jerry told the audience how the story for the Charlie Brown special came about. He’d only just learned it himself. It’s based on Hans Christian Anderson stories like the Ugly Duckling, where an unlikely character becomes the hero.

Cue the iconic little tree with its single red ornament.

I think we all feel like the Ugly Duckling now and then. And we like the idea that it (we) can be transformed into something beautiful.

Last night, I didn’t just like the idea. I felt it. I embodied it.

When I went to the first edition of this concert, I’d only just sold the marital home and moved into the condo that I’m still not crazy about. I put up a tree and baked but there was no merry that year. I just couldn’t muster it. I was deep in my grief, mourning the loss of all that I’d hoped my life would be.

peanuts 1Last night, I felt full of possibility. I could see many paths and many open doors in my future. The fact that I’m not yet sure which ones to choose is ok. I’ll figure it out as I go. Because I can. There’s nothing stopping me.

Sistabuttafly is still in her cocoon but she’s transforming, getting ready to take flight.

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