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Posted: December 6, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Bing won’t be home...

 I went out to buy some Christmas music. What I like to do during Christmas is build a fire, sit by it and listen to, as the radio announcers say, songs of the season.

 What I really wanted was Bing Crosby. Christmas comes and I normally think of Bing Crosby singing "White Christmas" and "I’ll be Home for Christmas."

 I went into one of those stores that carries albums and tapes.

 One of the sales clerks, a girl perhaps 11 years old, waited on me.

 "I’d like to see some Christmas tapes," I said.

 "Any particular artist?" she asked.

 "Yes, I’d like to see some Bing Crosby."

 "You mean Crosby, Stills and Nash?"

 "No," I continued. "Bing Crosby. You know, Hope’s pal. ‘The Bells of St. Mary’s’ and all that."

 "I’m afraid we don’t carry Ben Crosby," the girl said.

 "Not ‘Ben,’" I tried to explain. "It’s ‘Bing.’ He smoked a pipe and . . . "

 "I’ll get my supervisor," said the clerk.

 That’s more like it, I thought. At least now I could deal with an adult.

 "There is a problem, sir?" asked the supervisor. He might have been 19.

 "No problem. I just want to buy a couple of Bing Crosby Christmas tapes. My dog ate the old ones."

 "Would this Crisby . . . "

 "`Crosby."’

 "I’m sorry. Would this Crosby be rock, country and western or rhythm and blues?"

 "I can’t believe this," I said. "Bing Crosby was one of the greatest singers who ever lived. His Christmas music is legendary. You mean to say you’ve never heard of Bing Crosby?"

 "He must have been a little before my time," the supervisor explained. "We do have a rather extensive list of Christmas albums and tapes by other artists, however. Would you like to see some of them?"

 "Sure," I said. "How about Perry Como? Do you have any Perry Como?"

 "No, but we do have Nasty Ned and His Nine Nasty Nose Pickers and their Christmas album, ‘Rock Around the Christmas Tree Until You Throw Up.’"

 "No, thanks. How about Andy Williams?"

 "I don’t think we have that, either. But we do have Stark Nekkid and the Car Thieves and their latest, ‘Santa Got Caught in my Chimney and the Bats Ate Him.’"

 "Johnny Mathis?"

 "Nope."

 "Roger Whitaker?"

 "Afraid not."

 "Robert Goulet?"

 "Never heard of him."

 "Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme?"

 "Aren’t they on ‘Hart to Hart?’"

 "Forget it," I finally said. "Just show me where you keep all your Christmas music and I’ll make a decision."

 I wound up buying "The Chipmunks’ Christmas."

 They aren’t Bing Crosby, but for small, burrowing animals, they don’t sing half bad.

 

 Lewis Grizzard was a syndicated columnist, who took pride in his Southern roots and often wrote about them. This column is part of a collection of his work.

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