Driving home from the hospital, where my dad is spending Christmas weekend, I watched the city start to shut down for Christmas Eve.
As 5 p.m. arrived, last-minute shoppers lingered at Shopko, their cars clustered near the entrance. Last-minute diners lingered at McDonald’s, but its sign was off. Taco Bell had gone dark. The “Open” sign was still on at Subway, but it looked like they, too, were just about out the door.
So it is on Christmas Eve, the one night of the year when, well, all is calm.
Then you hear Irma Thomas’ voice piercing the quiet in the best possible way.
Nine years ago, my friend Rob in Pennsylvania called this “goosebump-inducing stuff.”
It still is.
Reverent yet thrilling, this version is done as a New Orleans-style dirge with some moody Hammond organ and some terrific gospel voices singing backup.
Embrace the moment, especially at Christmas.
Enjoy your holidays, everyone.