Whilst sorting through some old files I stumbled on a series of articles I had written for a community paper back in the eighties. I thought I’d like to share one of my Christmas contributions.
‘Twas the night before Christmas…and that’s about as far as the traditional poem goes around our house.
I’m philosophically looking up at a million stars and wondering how many other dads are sitting on the front steps trying to figure out why their kids don’t ‘nestle’ on Christmas Eve. ‘Hot Wired’ is a far more accurate description. And Mom? She’s in the kitchen trying to coax Tom Turkey into the refrigerator. He doesn’t want to go and I don’t blame him. He’ll be tucked in there beside pies, cranberry sauce, and a clear plastic dish of green jelly stuff full of red, orange and yellow floatie things. If Santa had only heard what Momma had called that bird….
Then there’s Harold.
Harold’s a snowman of few words. His nose is bark, his eyes are two chunks of broken cement and his shocking red brushcut is a shocking red snowbrush that has seen better days.
As a matter of fact, so has Harold. He’s survived kids with snowballs, above zero temperatures and dogs with no discretion whatsoever. Yes he’s seen better days but no better nights. The air seems to crackle. Mom’s run out of nice things to call the bird, the kids’ batteries have finally died and Harold and I are just enjoying the moment.
There’s a hint of wood smoke wafting through the neighborhood. The faint perfume mingles with the thoughts of the snowman and philosopher.
A zillion stars all over the world. In China, Bosnia, Somalia…everywhere. If everyone could just take five minutes, stop what they’re doing and look at those stars, all at the same time.
Oh, I know it’s noon somewhere and breakfast someplace else but hey, it’s just a thought.
Most everyone has a Christmas cease-fire. I wonder who decides when the allotted time for being kind to your fellow man is up? And why? I can’t imagine thousands of soldiers checking their watches so they can be the first to get back to work.
Maybe just a few moments earlier they were looking up at the stars and wondering…just like Harold and I.
It’s starting to snow a little. If it had done this yesterday I would have been able to suggest a few more expletives for the turkey. But tonight, snow’s OK. It always seems to snow on Christmas Eve. I think nature planned it that way so that people like me could appreciate the stuff.
And I can see my breath. Somehow though, it’s not cold. Maybe it’s the spirit of the season. You know…warming of the soul and all that. It’s like feeling all alone yet being surrounded by…something. It’s wanting to shout soppy and sentimental things to the world but not knowing what to say.
It’s like Harold.
Life goes on all around him while he just stares at the world through concrete eyes, hair always in place. My daughter and I made him what he is and he’s happy with that.
So’s my daughter, although I figure he should have been taller. He wishes no ill to anyone, even those who try to knock him down. Harold’s got it all together and I think I have too. Even if I’m sure I hear bells in the night sky.
I wrap my scarf around Harold’s thick neck, pat his brush, and wish him well before I head into the house. Then that old poem comes back…
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.