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From the Songbook: “Who Do You Think?”

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And who do you think could believe such a thing
Could believe that the story is true
And who do you think could believe such a thing
Well here's hopin' to Heaven you do.
— The Statler Brothers, "Who Do You Think?"

In celebration of the season, I’m going to do my level-headed best to make the month of December all about Christmas carols. Either love them or hate them, songs of the Christmas season hold a special place for all of us. You’ll always remember where you were when you hear that one song or another carol will take you back to a place long ago, a memory fond or maybe even bittersweet.

I’m going to start this effort with "Who Do you Think?" by The Statler Brothers. Let me state this emphatically: Christmas did not start in our house until Dad blew the dust of the vinyl album, cleaned lint off the needle of the record player, and the crackle-crackle, pop-pop sounds of this album filled our house.
Dad was the one in charge of the music in my house. With a collection of over 1,000 records, the man was a music store. But it was Mom who truly loved this album and Dad always made sure this was the first one played. I couldn’t have realized it then, but there was always a moment, or so it seemed, that passed between them when the album started, a silent, gentle, “I love you” exchanged.

Now I know Christmas memories get wrapped up and distorted with nostalgia, but right then, at that moment with the music of the country quartet filling the air, everything was alright in my little world at the time.

Dad, a career military man as a cook, was always standing behind the long kitchen counter my parents had installed, working on something — cookies, candies, pie, dinner — and Mom was sitting at the dinning room table built by my grandfather, the Sears Wishbook in front of her.

I’m telling you — I was convinced that Santa Claus lived in the Sears Wishbook. The only way I was going to get my little heart’s desire was to make sure that I had properly put down the item number for gizmo, gadget or toy my little heart desired on my letter to Santa so when Mom called him up there would be no mistake on what I was after!

Visions of G.I. Joes and Star Wars action figures (Return of the Jedi Luke Skywalker with real light-saber action, please) filled my head as I anxiously waited for one of my siblings to finish looking through it. With there being five of us kids, some days the wait felt excruciating. Often times, my brother Patrick, just 11 months younger, and I would sit there together going through the catalog, planning out massive war games with our soon-to-be new action figures or other adventures with the pictures we saw exploding out of the catalog in high-gloss definition.

My Dad still has that album. The grooves of the record are worn down from so many years of play. We five kids have scattered to the wind, each of us traveling our own path. My youngest brother Shaun, his wife, and their little girl Heather currently live with my folks. I’ve a pretty good idea that the Statler Brothers Christmas album still gets played every year at my parents' home in Texas and I have no doubt that my little Christmas tradition is being passed down to another generation of the Cossel family.

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