‘Once Upon a Christmastime with the Oprah Show’ and how it inspired CHRISTMAS ONCE AGAIN… by Jina Bacarr

December 11, 2019 by in category Jina’s Book Chat, Writing tagged as , , , , , with 2 and 0
Home > Columns > Jina’s Book Chat > ‘Once Upon a Christmastime with the Oprah Show’ and how it inspired CHRISTMAS ONCE AGAIN… by Jina Bacarr

Once upon a Christmastime, I had a fun experience with the Oprah Show that has remained a fond memory… even if it took a different path than the show planned…

============== 

‘Ring… ring… ’

I was halfway out the door when the telephone rang. I slammed to a halt, clutching my car keys, my purse slung over my shoulder. Who could be calling me this early in the morning? 

It was 8 a.m. 

I was running late for a meeting and the last thing I needed was another telemarketer trying to sell me carpet cleaning for Christmas.

Then it hit me. I remembered the Christmas tradition story I wrote about my mom and her old piano and sent to the Oprah Show

I swallowed hard. It was 10 a.m. in Chicago. Oprah Time.

I grabbed the phone and mumbled a breathless, ‘Hello…

‘Hi, this is the Oprah Show calling.’

‘Did you say Oprah?’ I gulped, my heart pounding like a million elves working overtime.

“Do you have time to talk?” the producer asked, hopeful.

I cleared my throat. ‘Yeah, sure… no problem.’

Wait till I tell my boss why I’m late today.

‘Awesome. We received your story about your Christmas tradition… ’

I tossed my purse and car keys onto a chair, my pulse racing out of control. ‘Yes?’

‘We’d like to use it for a segment on our holiday show.’

You do?’ I said, my voice squeaking like a little kid seeing Santa Claus.

The producer chuckled. ‘Yes… now here’s what we need from you.’

Knees wobbly, I fumbled in my purse for a pencil while the producer give me instructions on what happened next. Tears misted in my eyes. I couldn’t believe it. My Christmas tradition was going to be on Oprah.

I let out a deep sigh. If only my mom could see this, praying somehow she did know.

My mother loved to play the piano, especially at Christmastime. She knew every holiday carol by heart and every year, she’d sit down at our old studio upright piano and take us on a musical trip to Bethlehem or a journey with the Three Wise Men or rock ‘n roll with Jingle Bell Rock.

We lived in the Pennsylvania woods when I was a kid and one Christmas we were snowed in and couldn’t get into town to buy a tree. So my mom decorated our old piano with shiny, silver tinsel and red and blue and green balls with a gold star on top.

After all, a piano is made out of wood, and that wood was once a tree.

 So why not a Christmas Piano Tree?

 My mother passed away a few days before Christmas many years ago. I didn’t have the heart to trim a tree that year. Then I remembered her Christmas piano tree. I decorated that same old, wonderful studio upright with Christmas ornaments that year and I do so every Christmas since then as a tribute to my mom.  

It was an exciting time after the Oprah Show producer called. They asked for photos of my Christmas piano tree, then we taped the segment for my holiday tradition with me reading what I wrote about my mom. The sound crew added holiday music and I got all ready to watch the show when it aired…

But the show ran overtime, so my segment didn’t make the national broadcast. I was devastated, but the Oprah producer promised she’d do something for me.

She did. The next year the Oprah Show ran my old home Christmas movies and used them as part of their promo for their holiday show.

So here’s my pretty young mom at Christmastime hanging up Christmas stockings.

Awesome…

When I wanted to write a Christmas time travel story, I thought about how much I missed my mom every year and those wonderful holidays when I was a kid in Pennsylvania. If only I could go back in time and see her again and tell her how much I loved her…

I dedicated CHRISTMAS ONCE AGAIN to my mom. It’s the story of the Arden Family during World War 2 on the home front with Kate, the older daughter, as the heroine sending the man she loves off to war in 1943… she never sees him again.

Then years later she has the chance to go back in time and warn him about a secret mission gone wrong in France. Will he believe her?

All she wants for Christmas is to save the man she loves…

Christmas Once Again is available at e-tailers everywhere, print, and audio book, too!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Jina

PS – some of my favorite scenes in Christmas Once Again are when Kate reconnects with Ma…and their wonderful moments together.

———– 

CHRISTMAS ONCE AGAIN is on sale for 99 cents for a limited time!

US Amazon https://amzn.to/2pcz2eN

UK Amazon https://amzn.to/31rF4pZ

Audio US https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07YL6KG3W

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Author Details
Author Details
I discovered early on that I inherited the gift of the gab from my large Irish family when I penned a story about a princess who ran away to Paris with her pet turtle Lulu. I was twelve. I grew up listening to their wild, outlandish tales and it was those early years of storytelling that led to my love of history and traveling. I enjoy writing to classical music with a hot cup of java by my side. I adore dark chocolate truffles, vintage anything, the smell of bread baking and rainy days in museums. I’ve always loved walking through history—from Pompeii to Verdun to Old Paris. The voices of the past speak to me through carriages with cracked leather seats, stiff ivory-colored crinolines, and worn satin slippers. I’ve always wondered what it was like to walk in those slippers when they were new.
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    I discovered early on that I inherited the gift of the gab from my large Irish family when I penned a story about a princess who ran away to Paris with her pet turtle Lulu. I was twelve.

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I discovered early on that I inherited the gift of the gab from my large Irish family when I penned a story about a princess who ran away to Paris with her pet turtle Lulu. I was twelve. I grew up listening to their wild, outlandish tales and it was those early years of storytelling that led to my love of history and traveling. I enjoy writing to classical music with a hot cup of java by my side. I adore dark chocolate truffles, vintage anything, the smell of bread baking and rainy days in museums. I’ve always loved walking through history—from Pompeii to Verdun to Old Paris. The voices of the past speak to me through carriages with cracked leather seats, stiff ivory-colored crinolines, and worn satin slippers. I’ve always wondered what it was like to walk in those slippers when they were new.
  • Tari Jewett says:

    You already know I love the book, and I love this story about your mom (and Oprah)! What did your boss say when you told her why you were late? I grew up in a small town in Ohio, and especially this time of year, I wish I could go back in time. I wish that my boys could see Christmas the way I had it, and what life was like in the little town where we lived, and where my father had also grown up. Merry Christmas Jina, and thank you for your Christmas stories!

    • Jina Bacarr says:

      Thank you, Tari, for your wonderful thoughts about Christmas! Yes, it was a wild time back then — everyone jumping around, excited. I so understand what you mean about wanting to ‘go home again’ and share those times. But we are so lucky to make ‘new Christmas memories’ with our stories. Have a very Merry Christmas to you and your family!! I wish you the best…

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