Every year around this time, I patiently wait for the one experience, that one special moment that will put me in the Christmas spirit.
Three years ago, it was a family trip to New York City, Rockefeller Center to see the big tree.
The following year, it was an email I received that the two Hess trucks (one for me and one for my son) would be here two days before Christmas. Last year, it was the purchase of the best smelling Christmas tree in Hamden, Connecticut.
This year, I felt a little something after Thanksgiving when once again I received an email informing me that my 2016 Hess Trucks would be delivered 10 days before Christmas. Go Hess! Though I was happy about the early arrival of the trucks, the Christmas spirit still alluded me, and I was starting to get a little worried.
Then it happened.
My wife reminded me that we would be going to see the Nutcracker at the Bushnell Theater in Hartford, Connecticut. We would be going with the Jack and Jill mothers from the Hamden Connecticut chapter. I remember thinking, okay, there will be about 20 mothers, and about 30 screaming kids. I was positive that someone would say or do something beautiful, and I would be in my Christmas space, singing Christmas carols, buying gifts and thanking God for all of the wonders that He has given me.
Unfortunately, this did not happen. The mothers were great as were their kids, but they were not totally responsible for what happened to me that evening. You see, I neglected to tell you that I didn’t go to see Tchaikovsky’s version of the Nutcracker. I went to see the updated Hip Hop Nutcracker featuring, Kurtis Walker.
You might know him as the legendary rapper, Kurtis Blow!
When Kurtis hit the stage, he didn’t waste any time with small talk. After greeting the crowd, he jumped right into it with a melody of hip hop’s greatest hits, some his, some belonging to others. Kurtis had everyone on their feet singing all of the songs word for word. He had the mic and all of us in the palm of his hand, and as I looked around at the Jack and Jill mothers, some who were dancing on beat and offbeat, I also looked at all the kids who really didn’t have a clue as to why we were all going so crazy over Kurtis. I especially looked at my son and my daughter as they curiously watched my wife do the wop, the freak, the running man and the cabbage patch and I didn’t bother to try and explain what was going on.
This was a blast from the past and even if I tried to explain it, they just wouldn’t understand. Kurtis did a wonderful job of setting us up for one of the best Christmas shows I’ve seen in a long time.
However, I would love to tell you that this is what got me there, that Kurtis’ music did it. Unfortunately, I cannot.
So I guess that you are wondering what is it that got me to this happy space that I am in right now. What is it that has me whistling and singing Christmas toons. My wife had called Mrs. Walker and asked if Kurtis wouldn’t mind attending a private meet and greet with the Jack and Jill kids. Mrs. Walker, bless her heart, thought that this was a wonderful idea for the kids and within minutes after the show, Kurtis Blow was a foot away from me shaking hands, taking pictures and hugging babies better than any politician I’ve seen.
Kurtis was doing what every celebrity should do, which is to simply be human, be grateful and acknowledge your fans because this simple acknowledgment creates an unforgettable moment that rests edged in the mind for years.
So, right here, right now I would like to formally thank Mr. Kurtis Walker Blow for taking the time out to shake my hand.
I would like to thank him for taking pictures with every single Jack and Jill mother and child,
I would like to thank him for the joy that he continues to bring to the world through his music, and finally…
I would like to thank his wife, my wife, the Jack and Jill mothers and all of the kids for getting me to that “oh so special place.” Merry Christmas Kurtis, and to all, a good night.
Photo credit: Getty Images