Joy to the Fishes in the Deep Blue Sea


About four years ago, I was living in Idaho, and all six of my of my children, their spouses, and my grandchildren came for Christmas. For years when asked what I wanted for Christmas I have told them “a clean house and kids that don’t fight” —but I had never actually received that particular gift, until Dec. 2011, they went out of their way to help out, and to keep things calm (they are all very independent and opinionated, and they can get into it); all weekend, the running joke bandied about among them was along the lines of hey, calm down, do you want to ruin Mom’s Christmas?  I am pleased to say, after 20 some years,  I really did get a clean house and no fighting, which is a wonderful gift for any mother to receive.  

Pictures from Christmas 2011 – My parents with my grandchildren, our Christmas tree, moi, and my son with his guitar.

Christmas 2011.jpg

Because we were all together and in Idaho they wanted to visit the cemetery where my husband, Kelly is buried. We got there just before sunset on Christmas Day, and it was freezing cold. We hadn’t planned anything, and had nothing to leave, and were all just standing there, milling around.

Because it was Christmas, and because one of our family traditions had long been singing on Christmas Eve, Kelly accompanying us with his guitar as each child chose a Christmas song to sing, I suggested we sing a Christmas song for Dad.

 And my kids, in unison, without missing a beat started singing “Joy to the World . . . all the boys and girls, joy to the fishies in the deep blue sea, joy to you and me. . . ” and they kept singing until they had sung every verse of Three Dog Night’s, Joy to the World — which is what Kelly always broke into when the request for Joy to the World came up during our Christmas Eve sing-along.

Kids at Cemetery

As I listened to them sing together, harmonizing and putting great energy into every chorus, it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, even though it was freezing there in the cemetery.  After they finished their rendition of the Three Dog Night song, they stumbled through the traditional version of the song – mixing several verses together.  Kelly loved it I’m sure.

Fast forward. . . and today at Church the opening hymn was Joy to the World.  As the opening strains of the music began, instead of the traditional Christmas hymn,  superimposed, in my mind, I started hearing the Three Dog Night song by the same name.  And I smiled because it reminded me of Kelly, and of my kids, and family time. It’s kind of a thing now.  They often sing it when they get together.  The last time was at Katie’s wedding when their Grandma Nanette wanted to hear them, and they were on it. Katie’s her new husband,Jeff (in the vest), walked up to them, just in time to add the bass.  

Singing at Katie's Wedding


The song always makes me think of Kelly and smile.  So when you hear the strains of, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come” this year,  take a minute and also listen for “Jeremiah was a bullfrog, was a good friend of mine” to echo in your mind too.  

Kelly performing at a family Christmas party shortly after we were married.

PS: If the song is stuck in your head, here’s a link to give it a listen:

Please feel free to comment and share your Christmas or other Holiday traditions.



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