NOTE: This is a transcript of a podcast for those with hearing difficulties, those that prefer to read, and those who would prefer to not hear the sound of my voice. 😉
You are listening to ‘300 Seconds with Eduardo Soliz,’ and this is episode number one hundred and thirteen: “Twenty-twenty, the Year in Me-view” so let the 300 Seconds begin!
A quick note before I begin: It is almost nine o’clock as I record this, so you will likely hear my neighbors getting an early jump on the festivities. I was tempted to wait until tomorrow to record this, but it just didn’t feel right. And now, on with the show.
What can I say? It’s been a crazy year, and like all y’all, I can split up the fifteen months of 2020 into before and after the coronavirus upended life as we know it…or rather, knew it, because as the last day of this year comes to a close, we are still a long way from being back to anything even approaching normal.
When 2020 began, life was pretty good; I had just started a new job two days before Christmas, and I was back to living in my own place after staying with the family for a bit while I got my job situation worked out.
And now, hours before the year is over, I have just started a new job two weeks before Christmas and I’m back to living with family after living on my own for a bit while I get my job situation worked out.
That said, life is still pretty good.
I started off the year with a new job at a night school, and except for the weirdo night school schedule, it was a pretty nice gig. In fact, for the first time in my career, I had an actual office with a door and everything, which was pretty doggone sweet. The end of February bought with it Furry Fiesta which, as always, was a load of fun, and indeed, would be the last big fun thing I would do before the pandemic hit.
Of course, March bought with it the big shut down. I did the work from home thing for a while until the Powers That Be figured out that, one: there were too many remote techs for the small amount of work to do, and two, things weren’t going back to normal anytime soon. Thus, I was laid off from my job at the end of April and suddenly found myself with way too much time on my hands, as the old song goes.
In an effort to stave off cabin fever by giving myself something to do, I started reading one of Aesop’s fables every day from a book that I had back in May. I have managed to do a pretty good job of keeping up with it and I’ll be finished with the book sometime in mid-February. In June, I had another one of those doctor visits. Those of you who are a bit on the heavier side will know what I mean when I say that. I had made some progress with my weight loss; I was down a bit from my heaviest weight, which was good, but I still had work to do, so in July, I decided to finally get serious about losing weight.
Thinking back, starting a weight loss plan at that point in time was perfect: I couldn’t go out to eat as often and, being out of work, I had lots of extra time to develop good habits like keeping track of my eating, measuring out portions, and of course, exercising. When it’s all said and done, I should be down more or less about thirty pounds on the year, partially depending on how much awful eating I do at home today. I have my next checkup in January, and I’m actually looking forward to it.
Speaking of home, I had a decision to make as the end of my apartment lease at the end of September came closer and closer. I had been searching, but job prospects were pretty dismal. Since being laid off in April, I had only been called for two virtual job interviews. Thus, I decided to move back in with family, just like I had done in 2019.
I did land a two-month contract job in September which turned into a longer contract. Godwilling, will take me beyond the end of this coronavirus mess. Until then, I have a job, a roof over my head, family, and faith that things will get better in the new year, and you know what? That’s pretty good.
This has been 300 Seconds, the next episode will be posted after I burn my calendar. I am Eduardo Soliz, if you’d like to hear more wonderfully witty words that I’ve written, subscribe via your favorite podcast app and visit Eduardo Soliz dot com for more. Thank you for listening. Be Good, Take Care, God Bless and here’s to a better 2021!
Welcome to Super-Short Storytime, literature listeners and audio aficionados! I am Eduardo Soliz, the composer and narrator of the curt Christmas carol that you are about to hear. So, without any further ado, I give you, “Santa’s Prayer”
Another Christmas morning sun arises,
And Santa has come home,
Somewhere out in West Texas,
And not quite the North Pole,
The Mrs. takes his hat and coat,
They share a loving kiss,
He goes up to his room to sleep,
But before Saint Nick can rest,
He gets down to his knees to say
A prayer of grace and thanks,
To God, from whom all good things come,
And so, dear Santa prays:
“Thank you, Lord for another year,
And another chance to share,
Our gifts and generosity,
With children everywhere,
Thank you for my loving wife,
Thank you for the elves,
Thank you for the reindeer,
And all of my helpers,
Thank you for the moms and dads,
All doing the best they can,
Thank you, Father, for all the kids,
In each and every land,
Bless all those children, everywhere,
Whose wishes I can’t fulfill,
So much pain, fear and loneliness,
That I can ever hope to heal,
And so, Dear Father, I do pray
For those children in the world,
For whom a toy will bring a smile,
But who need yet, so much more,
Bless the little ones without families,
The ones who cry in pain,
Bless the ones who live in war and strife,
May they know your peace again,
Bless the hungry ones, so many of them,
May their bellies be empty no more,
Bless the angry ones, who lash out,
May your grace find and make them whole,
Let others find it in their hearts,
To take their blessings and share,
With some of those who need it most,
Fill their hearts with love and care,
And finally, Dear Father,
Please bless and hold dear,
The parents of all the blessed children,
That I will not see next year.”
And then good Santa says “Amen.”
Lays down and closes his eyes,
To dream of a world where all is just,
And children never cry.
Perhaps, as someone once sang: “Someday at Christmas,” Dear Listeners. This has been Super-Short Storytime and I am Eduardo Soliz and I thank you for listening. Be good, take care, God Bless, and a Merry Christmas to you and yours.
“A Winter’s Tale,” Queen, 1995.
This stream of consciousness ballad was written by Freddie Mercury as he looked outside the windows of various places in Montreux, Switzerland. The song was part of the album “Made in Heaven,” the last Queen album with Mercury, who died in 1991.
TRIVIA: In the video game Resident Evil 2, characters Chris and Claire Redfield sport jackets with “Made in Heaven” on the back.
“The Man With All the Toys,” The Beach Boys, 1964.
Released on The Beach Boys Christmas Album, this yuletide tale is overshadowed somewhat by “Little Saint Nick” (which made my original list) but is a charming tune in its own right.
TRIVIA: A second Christmas album, “Merry Christmas from the Beach Boys,” was recorded for a 1978 release, but would be rejected by Warner Brothers Records.
“My Christmas Wish,” Johnny Colla, 2020.
One of the founding members of Huey Lewis and The News (who’s a capella version of Winter Wonderland landed on 2015’s list), Colla has released two solo albums and gives us this peppy ode to holidays spent heartbroken, yet hopeful.
TRIVIA: Johnny co-wrote 80’s classics “The Heart of Rock and Roll,” “The Power of Love,” and “If This Is It.”
“What Christmas Means to Me,” Stevie Wonder, 1967.
This classic was featured on Wonder’s “Someday at Christmas” album. I thought I had already added it to my list, but here it is now!
TRIVIA: Despite containing two songs that would go on to become holiday classics (with the title track being the other), “Someday At Christmas” failed to chart on its original release.
“Merry Christmas Baby,” Otis Redding, 1968.
This R&B Christmas standard was originally recorded in 1947 by Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers featuring Charles Brown on vocals. Redding’s cover ups the tempo and adds a distinctive electric organ.
TRIVIA: Charles Brown would go on to sing the classic “Please Come Home for Christmas” in 1960.
“Twistin’ Bells,” Santo and Johnny, 1960.
Just based on their names, I always thought this instrumental duo were Latinos, but brothers Santo Anthony Farina and John Steven Farina are Italians from Brooklyn. Their distinctive sound comes from Santo’s steel guitar.
TRIVIA: The beginnings of Santo and Johnny’s most famous song, “Sleep Walk,” came about when the brothers decided to work on music one sleepless night after a gig.
“All Alone On Christmas,” Darlene Love, 1992.
When I first heard this song, I thought it was much older than it actually is. Come to my surprise, the song is was featured in the film Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. Darlene Love also recorded 1963’s Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) which is also one of my faves, and likely accounts for my confusion.
TRIVIA: Members of The E Street Band and The Miami Horns perform.
“Same Old Lang Syne,” Dan Fogelberg, 1980
This is one of the few Christmas songs that is based on a true story. Dan Fogelberg bumped into an old flame sometime in the mid 1970s and the encounter inspired this song. Naturally, he took a few poetic liberties.
TRIVIA: The woman Dan bumped into is Jill Anderson Greulich, who told her side of the story in a December 2007 article following Fogelberg’s death from prostate cancer.