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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Baby Jesus in a Onesey


Baby Jesus in a Onesey
A few more hours, and the big day is here.
Merry Christmas to all, whether it be Kwanza or Hanukkah or the celebration or not of your choice.
I heard a report the other day that 78% of Americans still believed in the traditional Christmas. Of the remaining 22%, 8% believed in nothing.
I was glad to hear the 78% figure for given all the hue and cry in the media, Christmas is on the way out. And that would be such a shame for there is nothing to my way of thinking any more precious to a parent than the excitement and anticipation twinkling in his child’s eyes as he hears the Christmas story and looks upon his presents under the tree. And how do you measure the joy in his face when he tears into his presents?
The weeks leading up the day of Jesus’s birth have always taken on something special to me. I can’t explain it except that it seems as if everything about us is a little more hopeful, a tad more promising, and bit more happy. Maybe it is all in my imagination, but I don’t think so. I like to think it is the inherent goodwill in mankind making its way to the surface after months of wear and tear we’ve endured living the ‘normal’ life.
Churches around us help stimulate the feeling just like the children’s play last week at Proctor Street Baptist.
The play wasn’t the typical Christmas story, not exactly.
Entitled ‘O Little Christmas Town,’ it was a musical with a subplot of the community trying to decide whether they wanted to let their town grow larger or keep it small. The discussion was moderated by a character named ‘Mrs. Talkalot’ who was played by Anna Licatino.
The youngsters did a fine job. The three citizens were Raegan Graves, Vivien Thames, and Keegan Johnstone, the latter who happens to be my grandson. Darrell Marsh played the Inn Keeper, Alyssa Licatino was Ima Gossip, and Ross Marsh played the shepherd.
The townspeople were Logan Chapa, Ayden Licatino, Caylee Licatino, and Mikey Wood. Mikey is also my grandson. Ayden and Caylee also played the angels in the next scene.
During the community discussion, word came of baby Jesus.
The players left the stage, and then here came Joseph and Mary with baby Jesus in her arms. Baby Jesus was played by the world acclaimed actor, Noah Wood, who incidentally happens to by my little five-month-old grandson. Mary was his sister, Hannah Wood, who was a perfect Mary. Eric Bankston was an excellent Joseph.
Little Noah’s whole family, both sides, was sitting on the second and third rows, holding its collective breaths.
Decked out in his striped onesey, an infant sleeping type garment, he did fine, no crying, no tantrums; he just lay quietly in his sister’s arms staring out as the hundreds of eyes watching him. He was perfectly content as long as Mary kept feeding him his pacifier.
Now, there were couple spots that didn’t fit in that time frame, but I’m sure the fact that baby Jesus was wearing a striped onesy instead of swaddling clothes, and was nursing on a pacifier did not detract from the story.
The only grandchild not in the play was my younger granddaughter, two-year-old Kenli-bug. She’s a little fireball. She would have been all over the place, even inspecting the star on the tree. Fortunately, she was quite content back in the nursery drawing Christmas trees and making decorations.
The little production was very enjoyable, and fortunately, my two grandsons, To our relief, Mikey and Keegan, didn’t stumble over their long robes or fall down the steps.
Now, I might be mistaken here, but after the service when we went to the nursery to see Kenli, I could have sworn I saw the nursery attendant breathe a sigh of relief when my wife and I walked into the room.
Thanks, Proctor Street. I have a feeling that if the other 22% who don’t believe in Christmas had seen the little play, some of them might have given their beliefs a second thought.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas is on the Way


Decorations are strung (almost), tasty treats are being prepared, folks are enjoying cheese and libations in front of a cheery fire, a sense of goodwill is in the air.
Unfortunately, there are always the Scrooges.
It once was that the bah-humbuggers made only themselves miserable, but today, they do their best to make everyone as miserable as they.
Regardless, the season is here despite the war the folks are trying to wage against Christmas.
How well I know times today are different than fifty years ago. People claim to be much more tolerant, but if you’ll permit me to say, I’ve noticed that their tolerance extends only to the points at which you begin to disagree with them.
I watched a news story recently of an elementary school taking some of its students to see a play called ‘Charlie Brown’s Christmas’, being held at the local church.
One parent did not like the idea so she went not to the school, but the local ‘Free Thinkers Organization’, an Arkansas group whose mission is to create a supportive non-religious community for atheists, agnostics, skeptics, scientists, and free thinkers.
And no, I’m not making this up. Check the group out.
But, back to the story.
From one disgruntled parent’s complaint, the Free Thinkers bombarded the church with tons of hate mail and threats of lawsuits.
The church caved.
The kids stayed at school.
Who lost here? Not the idiot parent. Not the idiot Freethinkers. The kids lost, little kids who possess an innocent sense of fair play of which that parent and Free Thinkers have no concept.
Christmas is that time of the year when grownups make themselves happy by making kids and the less fortunate happy.
So maybe you think that’s corny.
Those of us who believe in Christ (supreme being- sorry, satan not included) understand that helping others is a bottomless source of satisfaction and joy.
Living only for yourself insures you a cold and withered existence despite surrounding yourself with expensive toys.
What someone wants to believe is his business. Why do they assume they have the right to make life miserable for others just because their decisions have made them miserable?
I feel sorry for those people.
A perfect example of Christmas joy took place at our house the other day with Keegan, my grandson. He’s eight, and he’s already been questioning his Mom about Santa Claus.
My older daughter, Susan, an RN working in hospice, is pretty good with the computer. She found a program called portablenorthpole.com. A cute program, it personalizes, via email, a youngster’s visit with Santa Claus at the North Pole.
She did it for her son, Mikey, and he was blown away with it. I would have loved to have seen his reaction. It was probably pretty much the as Keegan’s when he saw the video.
She put it on my computer. When Keegan came over, we told him there was a message to him from Santa. “He wants to talk to you.”
His eyes popped open. The cold see the excitement on his face. Money couldn’t measure the anticipation in his eyes.
I said ‘Let’s go watch it.”
“Oh no.” He insisted on watching it alone.
Gayle and I grinned at each other. The little guy was kinda leery about what Santa had to say.
We let him got to the computer by himself.
A couple minutes later, he called out. “Mee-mee, Pa. Come see.”
Apparently, he liked what Santa had to say.
The video was cute as Kenli Bug, my little granddaughter.
The North Pole was as we all imagined, snow, big house, gadzillions of stars. Santa welcomed Keegan by name, went to a huge library of books, found the one titled, KEEGAN, and sat down by the fire. He showed pictures of his elves looking over Keegan’s room as well as reading notes from the book about Keegan’s behavior. Keegan had been a good boy, but he needed to be sure to keep his room clean, mind his Mom and Pop, and be nice to everyone.
Then he showed Keegan through the workshop with all the toys, pointing out a couple boxes slated for Keegan’s Christmas tree.
Talk about excited. His eyes shone and he jabbered on and on about Christmas.
There was no one any more tickled than his grandmother and me. Right before us was the epitome of Christmas.
Now you can see why I feel sorry for those who do not believe in Christmas.




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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Don't Forget Pearl Harbor



Hard to believe it’s been seventy-one years since Pearl Harbor. Not too many of us around who remember it, at least in real time. Last figure I saw was that about 13 or 14 percent of the population is over seventy. That means around 85 percent of our country came along after December 7, 1941. (you see, I’m not too bad in math)
I tried a little experiment the other day, and in doing so probably reaffirmed what a lot of folks probably think about me, that I’m halfway nutty.
At random I asked various individuals (as in strangers) what they knew about Pearl Harbor. I followed that with inquiries about Fort Donelson. Gallipoli, and Luzon
I was not surprised at most responses, or lack of.
Time is a devious foe and/or collaborator. Time soon erases the memories of battles the carnage of which at the time shocked the world. None with whom I spoke remembered Fort Donelson where, according to AmericanHistory.com, over 30,000 casualties were suffered in February, 1862. In all fairness, that was 150 years ago. Only a Civil War scholar would recognize the name.
Nor did any remember the Battle of Gallipoli in WWI where 400,000 casualties took place. Some thought it was Italian pizza.
Now, some recognized the WWII Battle of Luzon in August 1945, but naturally everyone knew Iraq and Afghanistan.
Some, the younger, had never heard of Pearl Harbor.
I can still remember when we heard the islands had been attacked.
In our little town, there was one picture show (theater, movie), The Rogue, and it had Sunday afternoon matinees, one showing, preceded by a newsreel and a cartoon.
“Wizard of Oz’ was the matinee feature. Halfway through the film, the lights came on. The owner, Mister Guthrie, hurried up on the stage and gave us the terrible news.
I didn’t know what was wrong. All I knew they weren’t going to show the rest of the film. It wasn’t until I got back home where a lot of the family had gathered, that I realized whatever had happened at Pearl Harbor, wherever that was, was bad.
For all I knew, Pearl Harbor could have been over in the next county by Pampa or Borger.
All the men in the family talked about ‘joining up’. Dad too, but Mom was pregnant with my younger brother, Sam.
Dad was thirty, and they didn’t take him right away. He kept trying to volunteer, and finally got the Navy where he wanted to be. He trained on the East Coast, then was shipped to Los Angeles, Albuquerque, Kansas, and then South America.
Our little town of farmers and small business people were furious over the sneak attack. People all around the country were, and while there was some dissent, by far the majority pitched in with work, sacrifice, and hard-headed stubbornness that screamed victory at the top of its lungs.
We followed Dad to Los Angeles. Mom worked at a service station. She left my brother with our neighbor in the duplex in which we lived. Days I wasn’t in school, she took me to work with her.
It hurts me to say I don’t really believe our country will ever again see such strength, such cooperation, such support from ninety plus percent of its population.
Those at home gave the men and women overseas all the weapons and ammunition and supplies they needed. Aircraft and tanks rolled off the lines. Great battleships were launched one after another.
Talk about working together!
For four years, Americans did without so our fighting women and men could have what they needed.
We had paper drives, metal drives. We rationed gasoline, tires, sugar, and just about everything else except sweat and determination.
I couldn’t help noticing there wasn’t too much said a few days back on the anniversary of President Kennedy’s death. I hope we don’t forget about Pearl Harbor like we did him.
I’ve been urged to ‘get with the changing times’, but there are some times that we need to remember.