Handel’s Messiah (My Favorite Love Song)


Teresa gave me the best gift of the holiday season last night when she took me to a Sing-Along Messiah concert at the Washington Street United Methodist Church where I sang along with a packed church audience of  other “Messiah” lovers who were mostly white-haired like me but had a good mixture of younger voices that gave me a feeling of hope for many more years of these sing-alongs.

It was a special night for us because the first official “date” we had fifteen years ago this Christmas was to go to a presentation of Handel’s Messiah by the choir and orchestra at the Park Street Baptist Church here in Columbia.  I remember how nervous I was to ask her to go, although we had been friends for many years and done lots of things together like going to Panther football games several times, eating lunch frequently to discuss Guild business, meeting at my office for work on Guild mailing lists. We had been friends and activists in our community for seven years, but now things were different because we were both “available.”  Our other long-term relationships were over.

Teresa laughs now because she said she didn’t know I was asking her out on a “date” when I asked her to go  hear the Messiah. She says she was surprised that I asked her to go because neither of us went to church –  and even more surprised when I suggested we go to dinner afterwards since I hadn’t said a word about that in my original “ask.”  She was busy. She had to mail her Christmas cards. She had her fourteen-year-old son Drew to get dinner for, she said when I tried to prolong our evening. I must have looked so disappointed that she took pity on me.

Hm. Why don’t you go to the post office with me to mail my cards and then we can get a pizza to take home to Drew?  Sure, I’d said, as my dream of a romantic dinner evaporated right there in her car in front of the Post Office on Assembly Street while she rummaged through her large purse looking for stamps for her cards. Before I knew it, I was sitting in Teresa’s living room eating a pepperoni pizza with her and her son watching her wrap Christmas presents. Her dog Annie stared at me from the safety of her vantage point under the coffee table. I stayed way too long.

The music last night transported me to the many wonderful places I’d performed Handel’s Messiah as a chorus member and soloist – even director in cities from Seattle, Washington to Fort Worth, Texas to Cayce and Columbia, South Carolina. I had always loved this music that symbolized Christmas for me whenever and wherever I’d heard it.  Last night, however, I found those memories as fuzzy as the notes on the alto lines were as I tried my best to keep pace  with the  sing- along.

The most magical place the music took me last night?  The living room of a little house on Wessex Lane where I sat eating pizza with a woman and her son. The most vivid memory? This was the night I realized I was falling in love with my best friend. Now that’s a memory to cherish.

I wish you all the hope for peace that this season offers and the joys of your favorite sounds of the season, but most of all, I wish you love.

 

 

 

 

About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is an essayist with humorist tendencies who periodically indulges her desires to write outside her genre by trying to write fiction and poetry. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press is publishing her collection of first-person accounts of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBT organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBT history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published four nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and a group of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike and Charly. Her Texas roots are never too far from her thoughts.
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10 Responses to Handel’s Messiah (My Favorite Love Song)

  1. Dianne says:

    Hope you have a Very Merry Christmas, Sheila.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Anne Boring says:

    Thank you for sharing something precious, Sheila !!! I met C.H. on a blind date, when he was driving me to the airport to eat dinner in New Orleans! I refused to go because I didn’t want to walk back if he got out of line. He said “Trust me, I’m a Fire Chief” He never lived that one down for 40 years. Two months later we were married! I love to hear how people met.
    You and Teresa are very special people. You have heart. And so does the Messiah ! Have a blessed Christmas and a happy, happy New Year.
    Much love,
    Anne

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Anne,
      I never knew the story of how you and C.H. got together, but I can just hear him saying “Trust me, I’m a Fire Chief!” He was a character and I adored him. I am glad for your happiness together for forty years. It’s a testament to you both and a testimony on marriage, too.
      Thank you for your taking the time to write a note tonight – it keeps me connected to my family at a time of the year when I often feel the distance that separates me from them.
      I wish you and all of your family a very special Christmas and a wonderful 2016!
      Much love,
      Sheila

      Like

  3. Oh Sheila! Another dimension to your story. What a great way to celebrate an anniversary of love and commitment – to return to moment in time when you fell in love; a funny, awkward, comfortable, tender, sweet, dear, happy moment seen from the vantage point of 15 years of deepening unity. Teresa gets you and you get her. What more can we ask for in a relationship?! Oh and Annie! I cried.

    Merry Christmas! To many more years of music and love. Saluto!!

    Ann

    Like

    • My dear Ann,
      You are always so sweet to read the stories and love them, too. Honestly, it really is all we can ask for in this life and of course, it was a wonderful moment to share with T. I’m not sure how I got so lucky to be with someone who makes me laugh every day. I love to laugh. I always tell her, You know I’m a humorist, and sometimes she says, There’s no demand for humor. 🙂
      But truly, I think we rescue each other from the sorrows of this world we live in by the laughter we share.
      Every day I am able to get around by myself I know how lucky we really are.
      Merry Christmas, my friend, to you and yours and may 2016 be a banner year!!
      Much love,
      Sheila
      Annie was there – and she is still with us.

      Like

  4. Luanne @ TFK says:

    I loved hearing about your first date! What a charming story! Merry Christmas to you and Teresa, too, and the rest of the bunch.

    Like

    • Holiday Greetings, my dear friend Luanne!
      My books came in yesterday, and I wanted to send you a copy as a thank you for the “blurb.” It occurs to me I don’t have a mailing address – please email me at smortex@aol.com with your address!!
      I hope you and hubby and your daughter and the cats have a wonderful time together – I am behind on my Reader – it’s been a frantic couple of weeks…I will catch up this weekend! I miss out on things when I’m gone!!
      Happy New Year – I hope 2016 will be a great year for you and your family, too!!
      Much love,
      Sheila

      Like

  5. I smiled bigger with every line I read. Love totally rocks.

    Liked by 1 person

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