Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bob's Christmas Music

My husband and I were closing in on fourteen hours of a sixteen hour drive to Texas when the radio scanned Bob’s Christmas Music Station out of Wichita Falls, Texas. Immediately we wondered who Bob was. As we continued to carry along south, we enjoyed Bing, Aretha, the Beach Boys, Faith Hill, and others but didn’t gather any answers about Bob.

Once home, my curiosity drew me to Google “Bob” and there he was in the form of a radio station: “100.9 BOB FM.” I find that others had asked the same question, “Who’s Bob?” The website explains to the curious that Bob, a child of the sixties, was born in Texoma, an area on both sides of the border between Texas and Oklahoma. Throughout his adult life he amassed a large music collection, regularly burning CD collections for friends and family. Then in 2007 he decided to share his passion with a larger audience and signed on with the only independently owned FM radio station, currently referred to simply as “BOB FM.”

With two hours left in our drive, the novelty of Bob and his music had a way of reminding me my husband and I would be spending our first snow-less Christmas away from home in 34 years. Christmas ornaments collected during our marriage remained tucked away in their storage boxes in the basement at home. As I listened to Away in a Manger, I realized the Texas landscape outside the car window and beneath the starry night would most likely remain a dry landscape on Christmas morning. Our family wouldn’t think about cross country skiing or laying a fire on Christmas Eve. We wouldn’t feed the horses after a late Christmas morning breakfast nor would we have Christmas dinner with extended family. Our Christmas would be recast in Texas as we gathered around our two adult children.

Our daughter was ready to begin her research project at Texas A&M University. In preparation for studying the role of magnesium in horses tying up, she had broken and trained the horses to drive a weighted sled. This would create the stress load needed for her study. In order to be ready for the starting date she had to remain at the University to keep them in good physical condition. So, we decided what many parents do, we’d gather around our children, wherever they may be. Our son was not far away outside Fort Worth so, we would embrace a Christmas away from home together.

Closing in on our last hour, we were disappointed that Bob’s cheerful accompaniment didn’t last. A hundred miles or so out of Wichita Falls, the music ended, disappearing into a dark December night. However, about that time the Christmas lights began appearing in the small north Texas towns we passed through. Texans seemed to love their Christmas lights: candy canes, nativity scenes, Santa and his sleigh, and houses lit up like sparkly gingerbread houses. The most creative were custom designed and lit structures of oxen pulling carts, John Deere tractors, teams of horses pulling stagecoaches, and trees covered fully with white lights.

It was clear. Snow was not a prerequisite for Christmas in Texas. And neither was it for us. We found Christmas in simply being with one another: wandering in a Texas-sized market and making plans for dinner; by sitting with our stockings on Christmas morning waiting to see what Santa had dropped into each one. We found it in the extraordinary Christmas light display created by an entrepreneur with a little land, a handy hammer, and an eye for design; we found it in creating a new family tradition of a taste testing foreign microbrews and cheeses; and we found it in joining new friends for Christmas dinner, their home open and warm, much like the Texas people we’ve come to know.

We appreciated hearing Bob’s Christmas music that night. Looking back, it seemed to serve as encouragement to embrace a change in our Christmas history. We found Bob’s music a pleasant surprise, the novelty awakening us to what we might find in the coming days, Texas style.

For more information on BOB FM, click: www.bobradio.fm/about.html

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