When I was in elementary school in Evanston, Illinois, one of my best friends was Virginia May, daughter of Robert May who wrote the original story of Rudolph. (She is not the 4-year old daughter mentioned above. Virginia "Ginger" was born in 1946.) Each year at Christmas time, there was a large "Rudolph" on their lawn. We didn't think much of it at the time, but my grandchildren have been excited to know about this relationship. Today Virginia manages the Robert L May Company which I would assume is based on proceeds from the book and any subsequent licensing.
Are you familiar with fractals? They are designs that you can zoom into almost indefinitely, with deeper and deeper levels of complexity. Anyone's life, anyone's story, is a fractal. There's always more to be said, more details, more explanations. I think that the success of "Serial" and all its spinoffs owes much of its success to the fractal effect. (I know, I know. I'm obsessed.) So I started out with a simple little idea that I'd write about the true origins of the Rudolph character, and I stumbled upon this fascinating man and the tragedy in his life that was occurring as he wrote his story, and now I've found out a great deal more. (Just one little factoid--I promise! May made Rudolph a deer because his daughter Barbara, the one who was four at the time, liked the deer at the Chicago zoo. But . . . he had to know about Santa's reindeer in "The Night Before Christmas." So even that one little idea probably isn't all that simple.)
I hate to close this post, because then I won't have any reason to write about the Chorale until we start our rehearsals back up again in 2016. We will be performing our every-other-year Celtic concert, with bagpipes, and special singers, and my chocolate stout cupcakes at the reception. (Well, we've had that last item exactly one year. How old does a tradition have to be before it's a tradition, huh?) But I must stop. We return to rehearsals on Jan. 5, I believe, so I can legitimately start up again in the first week of the New Year. So there will be only a two-week break. Hey, if you didn't get to our concert, take a look at the video here. And then be sure to come to the March concert if you possibly can!