Stories for My Grandchildren

"Jingle Bell Rock"

It was the Christmas season of 1957 and my grandmother, who we called Nan, was coming on the "Phoebe Snow" from Newark, New Jersey to visit. In those days I called every diesel passenger train the Phoebe Snow because I had once ridden her when I was a bit younger. We drove the 30 miles from South Boston to Danville, Virginia in a little under an hour. We got there quite early and stopped for drinks in a small diner on the outskirts of town not too far from the train terminal. The diner was decorated sparsely with Christmas decorations but it was warm and the fellow who waited on us was very cheerful. As he brought us our drinks or food he asked us if we had ever heard of a song called "Jingle Bell Rock." We all answered we hadn't and he took a dime out of his pocket and went to the jukebox. This was the first time I heard Bobby Helms sing what is now a timeless song. After the song played the man grabbed another dime and played it again because my brother Cliff and I enjoyed it so much. He must have played it a total of 3 or 4 times before we left. I hope my parents tipped him well because that little act of kindness has stuck with me all these years.


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