Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas tape

in december 1999, i was rounding out my first year as a missionary in japan, trying to stay warm and focused in my second area (it's amazing how cold weather can make a minnesota boy homesick.) one day, i received a cassette tape (remember those?) in the mail from the soga family. i had made some friends in my first area (thinking about it, all of my japanese facebook friends are from there, actually), but i don't think i would have counted the sogas as people who i knew particularly well.

they were a married couple with a young daughter (if i remember correctly), very friendly to us and they spoke some english, which was a joy for a confused missionary. but i really only remember visiting them once in the six months that i was there. nevertheless, they had sent me a tape of Christmas music and a short letter, saying that they knew it was my first Christmas away from home and hoped that this would make it a little easier for me.

it was an excellent mix, with some of my personal favorites (like nat king cole) along with songs that i loved but didn't know at the time (like the carpenters' "carol of the bells.") i listened to the tape all that season and gladly put it in again a year later, when i was a much stronger missionary during my final weeks in the orient. as i was packing to leave, i left it with my companion, a greenie who was spending his first Christmas in the field. more than a decade later, i still don't know why they thought of me but that tape is something i've never forgotten.

merry Christmas eve,
(you knew this was coming)


Em said...

You were that old before you became familiar with the Carpenters Christmas Portrait album?! I'm aghast. It's one of the top 5 greatest Christmas albums EVER. (As is Nat King Cole's, so there you go).

The Former 786 said...

Have you tried to recreate the tape in iPod playlist form? It's a fun way to re-live those old mix tapes.