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Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy
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When I was a very tiny girl, my parents gave me a record player in a case that looked like a square suitcase (even had a handle so you could carry it). Along with the record player were three or four small plastic records (smaller than the turntable) in primary colors of red, blue, yellow and green.

The red, blue, and green records were forgettable recordings of things like The Farmer in the Dell and Pop Goes the Weasel. They quickly changed purpose and became platters for my little tea set.

But the yellow record! Ah, the yellow one. It was "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" and I loved it. I played it over and over and over, until my mother would ask me to put it away and go play with my doll.

Eventually, the record and the record player were given away when we started moving every few months--they took up too much room in my one footlocker, and there were other toys I treasured more.

Music, though, isn't just in the mechanical device. It is also in your mind's ear and in your memory. And to this day, I can replay it whenever I want to. You can't hear it right now, but I can.

I did not know it was part of Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker" until several years later when I went to a performance of the ballet. Hearing and seeing it performed was like meeting an old friend after many years' separation.

The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy may have turned into Christmas elevator music, but to me it will always be special.

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