Just three weeks from today is Christmas — though of course you knew that, since you’ve already been hearing holiday music for more than a month. In fact, you’ve probably already heard “Silver Bells” a few times this year.
And while it is a wonderful Christmas song, and therefore appropriate for this month, “Silver Bells” is here for an entirely different reason: Because every time I hear it, it reminds me of where Joanna and I got married: the Silver Bell Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas.
In fact, if you’ve ever seen the movie “Lost in America,” starring Albert Brooks and Julie Hagerty, you’ve seen the place. We haven’t lived out the rest of the movie, though we have also been in most of the other cities in it.
As we prepared to move from Idaho to Arizona, planning to marry in Las Vegas, Joanna simply assumed in those pre-Internet days that there would be a Silver Bell Wedding Chapel. Actually she asked for “Silver Bells,” and there is one of those, too, but the information operator gave her the number of the singular Silver Bell chapel.
After a 19-hour drive through a blizzard with three kids and a cat, we got our marriage license, found a motel room, and made it to the chapel in time for our 8 p.m. wedding. We then took the kids to the all-you-can-eat buffet at Caesars Palace, saw a few of the sites, and went to a midnight show featuring Natalie Cole and Bill Cosby (at the Las Vegas Hilton, a night before a fire there killed eight people).
This version of “Silver Bells” come from a Crosby, not a Cosby — Bing Crosby, who spent most of his youth in Spokane and whose name graces a local theater where we’ve enjoyed many concerts. Crosby and Carol Richards were the first to record it, though it had already been done by Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell for the then-yet-to appear film, “The Lemon Drop Kid.”
Lyrics here, with video below.