Posted by: donrhymer | January 9, 2012

Mall Epiphanies

“Have yourself a Merry little Christmas…

Written by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane for the 1944 musical “Meet me in St. Louis” most people know the original lyrics were much darker. Judy Garland refused to sing it at first because it was just – “too damned depressing.”

“…It may be your last. Next year we may all be living in the past.”

Yeah, I told you they were dark.

I went to the doctor on December 23rd with visions of sugar plums dancing in my head and yet another suspicious lump on my neck. My surgeon quickly confirmed my worst fears and told me that yes, for the fifth time in three years my cancer was back.

I immediately did what any man in my position would do. I drove to the nearest mall and ate a Cinnabon.

Martin initially refused to change the lyrics, from his perspective he was writing a song about anticipating a better future, not a celebration of Christmas present, but MGM was paying the checks so the movie going public heard this version …

“Let your heart be light, next year all our troubles will be out of sight.”

Listening to this song, eating my Cinnabon, and yes, I did get the extra frosting… I was angry. All these people wandering past me in the mall, not a care in the world. Perfect, happy, totally healthy people. Why me? Why the hell me?

In 1957 Frank Sinatra asked Martin to do more revisions to the following line…

“Until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow.”

He told Martin the name of his album was “A Jolly Christmas” and couldn’t he jolly up that line for him?

“Hang a shining star upon the highest bow.”

We don’t want real life to intrude on our holidays. We want our hearts to be light and filled with shining stars, hung from points on high. And as I sat there listening to the song winding down it hit me that all evidence to the contrary, these weren’t perfect, happy, healthy people. Real life was in some way or another, probably closing in on most of them. We wander through life dealing with our own particular brands of pain.

I realized I didn’t know any more about their lives than they knew about mine.   We are all starring in our own little movies and we rarely bother to peek into the theater next door.  Hell, to them I was just a guy in a turtleneck knuckle deep in frosting.

“Through the years, we all will be together, if the fates allow.”

I won’t presume to know what “the fates” are up to, but for me, for now, it means five days of intensive radiation treatments. Seven and a half more hours under the mask.  Yes, it feels like a race where someone keeps moving the finish line, but… we’re doing okay.

By the grace of God and an occasional Cinnabon, the Rhymer’s will muddle through somehow.



  1. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Kelly keeps us posted as well. Love, your “sort of” mother-in-law once removed?

  2. You remain in our prayers, brother.

  3. Hi Don – know that I am thinking of you, praying for you and concerned. Shine on you crazy diamond and thank you once again for the clever post and insightful reminder…. cherish what I have that is eternal.

  4. And unbelievably, in the face of all that, it was a merry little Christmas. Favorite moment: the kids dancing to wagon wheel in the kitchen. (They’ll do anything to get out of holiday dishes.)

  5. Don, I pray for you ever day. I know that you are a strong man with a great family but you are in my thoughts each and every day. I wish I was there to give you a hug and have a cinnabon too.
    Your brother-in-law. Jim

  6. Don, I have been praying for you too. Know that we’re here if you need us. Love you all.

  7. Well, this is a sucky turn of events. Cancer should have a statute of limitations. Four recurrences is enough for one person. What’s Cancer’s problem? It’s like it’s obsessed with you. “I’m Cancer and I can’t quit you!” Screw you, Cancer. Move on already!
    I’m thinking of you and look forward to the day when this is behind you!

  8. Well that just sucks! The way you’re handling all this is truly inspirational, though. Helps keep life, family, friends in proper perspective. I know God is using you to touch a lot of people. Praying the climax is full remission. BTW, did you know there is an ad for a dating website at the bottom of your post. Your posts must be doing pretty well with the young singles crowd.

  9. In the words of Peter Boyle (can’t think of his character’s name on Everybody Loves Raymond) “Holy Crap”! Will be praying for you. My daughter Mary Frances loves to pray (at last – someone in our family who really does pray -the rest of us just say we will). Keep us posted. Love to you and Kate
    By the way do you know David Hudgins???

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: