The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting is upon us, and the giant spruce will remain lit through Jan. 7. The event brings back memories that seem more appropriate for a poem than prose.
So here you go:
Tonight they’ll be lighting the Rock Center tree.
And floods of sweet memories will pour back to me
Of a young Brooklyn boy on his way to “the city.”
(“Brooklyn’s also the city!” would only draw pity.)
Those gigantic blond people blocking my view
Did not look at all like the neighbors I knew.
But tourists were part of the whole magic scene,
As the colored lights shined on pine needles of green.
The Christmas tree lighting drew loud gasps and cheers
As I looked up in wonder and mom held me near.
The skaters below were a dazzling sight
As they whirled ’round the rink on this magical night.
These beautiful people of such style and grace
(Tho’ there always was one who’d fall smack on his face).
While I watched from above as ice queens below twirled,
I was so mesmerized by this magical world.
There were no TV hosts then to guide us along
No Roker, no Lauer, no one singing songs.
There was no Pentatonix and no Gwen Stefani,
Just my mom and my dad and my goofy friend Lonnie.
But that’s all we needed, my family and me,
And my friend and the rink and the lights and the tree.
This magical memory won’t fade away,
A tradition that carries on right ’til today.
The smiles on the faces, the season’s first snow,
New York at its best, and it still makes me glow.
The sights and the sounds and the sweet chestnut smell
As the lights filled the plaza — and our hearts as well.
Playwright Mike Vogel blogs at newyorkgritty.net.