Tuesday, December 24, 2013

My Yearly Christmas Tradition: Darlene Love Sings The Holiday (This Time From Yankton, S.D.!)

Here's my annual tradition that I've presented in this blog for each of the past four years or so now: Darlene Love's annual performance of "Christmas Baby (Please Come Home)" on David Letterman.
Husband Jeff Modereger gets his ducks in a
row as he decorates the family home
 for Christmas

The Darlene Love performance is at the bottom of this post. Scroll down later to see and hear the  mix of emotions, but mostly joy, her performance brings.

I'm 51 years old and this will be the first Christmas I've ever spent outside Vermont.

Yep, I'm reporting live from Yankton, South Dakota. I'm with the in-laws, as my husband Jeff and I drove cross country from Vermont to the Great (cold) Plains to be with family.

This is awesome. The Moderegers are definitely into Christmas. My mood is like the closing scene of the Grinch, when my bah-humbug heart grows three sizes bigger, breaking the frame of the picture of my holiday intoxicated heart.

Sure, I miss Christmas with my relatives in Vermont, but we'll have a nice celebration with them when we get back to the Green Mountain State. So it's all good.

The Moderegers of Yankton love Christmas traditions, and now I'm into it, too. When he arrives a couple days before Christmas, Jeff always decorates the house perfectly with his professional, caring set designer eye.

Jeff manages to turn a pleasant sun room at the Modereger house into a holiday wonderland within an hour. It's like he waves some sort of magic wand or something.

The Modereger men all wear red sweater vests on the holiday, so I have mine on.  (The official family Christmas portrait with the red vests happened this afternoon. ) The family Christmas tree is loaded with decorations and mementos that date back through decades of Modereger family history and lore.

The family all gathers at the home of patriarch and matriarch Don and Lois Modereger, and it's a scene of happy chaos. Booze is stored in the chilly garage, at the ready for the daily parties.  We gather at tables and on hastily arranged chairs, and talk into the night.  The Moderegers tend to be smart and funny, which always makes for a good time.
Jeff has his first face to face meeting with
Poppy, our grand niece, at this week's
Modereger family Christmas gathering.  

It's mostly stories of Modereger family history, the clan's happy moments, it's revered dearly departed grandparents and uncles, the past teenage escapades,  the quirks and talents that make the family so cool.

I love listening to these stories. Some are ones I've heard before, and I never get sick of hearing them. Other stories are fresh news to me. With each story, I feel closer to the family.

Jeff and I are starting to add our own stories to the mix, to be woven into the fabric of Modereger family history.  We hope our stories are as interesting and fun as the rest of the family's.

At night, exhausted from the festivities, we slump in spare beds, in easy chairs, on couches to rest, and then do it all again the next day.

We've come to this South Dakota house, from Minnesota, from Kansas, from Vermont to celebrate what we've got. We've heeded Darlene Love's call, and baby, we've come home for Christmas.

And I couldn't be in a better place right now.  I wish all of you the best of Christmas. Especially the Moderegers in South Dakota and the Sutkoskis in Vermont. You're all awesome.

Take it away, Darlene!!

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