Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

For me, Christmas Day never seems to happen on December 25th.

Back home in the UK, I would often do my Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve, before spending most of Christmas Day wrapping it all up.

And then there was Christmas 2001, when I spent most of the 25th digging a grave for the cat. The first shovel broke, so I had to borrow one off of Herschel, but that turned out to be made of rubber. It actually was 6pm on the 26th when we opened the first card – none of us felt like having Christmas until Phantom had been properly laid to rest.

Oddly traditional then, that today, January 6th, should be the day on which I receive last year's Christmas present from home. (predictably, I don’t think I got around to sending them anything)

For years now I’ve wanted a CD of Elvis singing Are You Lonesome Tonight?, but I specifically wanted the version that he sang at the International Hotel in Las Vegas on 26th August 1969, together with The Sweet Inspirations, Kathy Westmorland, J D Sumner and of course the Stamps.

Why? Because that night Elvis decided that he would sneakily change the lyrics. Hence, the original lonesome line “Do you gaze at your doorstep and picture me there?” became “Do you gaze at your bald head and wish you had hair?”

What happened next is the stuff that I stay alive for.

He got the giggles. And he never recovered. Not even when he had to struggle through that whole "I wonder if you're lonesome tonight" monologue in the middle.

Ohhh, it's so terrible in the most joyous of ways, and at long last I possess a copy of it!

Now this is what I call having a merry Christmas and a happy new year!

Thank you Elvis - may you laugh forever.

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