Sunday, December 20, 2009
It's That Time of Year by Doris Ann Norris
Doris Ann Norris is also affectionately known by many as "the 2000 year old librarian." She is retired as a library director, but subs at two Ohio County libraries as reference and reader's advisory librarian. Doris Ann manages to go to four mystery conferences a year and just finished up a five year term on the Sisters in Crime board as library liaison.
It’s That Time of Year by Doris Ann Norris
When I first selected this date to be Kaye Barley’s guest blogger, I had a rant in mind concerning the schmaltz, commercialization and secularization of December holidays, including Christmas and Hanukkah.
But things change in our lives.
In my case, this will be the first Christmas without my mother, who left this plane in November at the age of 96. True, as the last five years saw her sink deeper and deeper into dementia. The last three years she didn’t know her children or even what her birthday, Mother’s Day, Christmas, meant.
She’d ask what those presents were doing on the table.
The December holidays truly change as we grow older and we often become dispirited and depressed, as these supposedly joyful and family-bonding times of love don’t seem to materialize.
But this year I have nothing but happy, glowing and warm memories of past holidays with my parents, four brothers and my only sister as well as the family as it grew to receive spouses of siblings and nieces and nephews. It’s, no doubt, part of the healing process in the recovery of loss. Gone are the bad memories and only the happy ones remain….at least for this year.
So, I’ve been watching the Hallmark Channel and other old movies and some not-so-old ones. Everyone ends up full of happiness, love and often with a Christmas miracle.
Christmas is saved by Ernest, by a red-nosed reindeer, by a squirrel, by dogs, etc. Angels, including Peter Falk, Harry Dean Stanton, Patty Duke, Katie Sagal, et al come down to Earth. In fact, Falk plays Max, an angel, in at least three made-for-TV movies.
Then there are ghosts that come back to make their family Christmases complete.
The most famous ghosts, however, are those of Charles Dickens in A CHRISTMAS CAROL. How many “straight” versions have been made? My favorite is the one with Alistair Sim, followed by George C. Scott version. The first movie recorded was made in 1916 and this year there is a new one with Jim Carrey.
Then many a television series has included an adaptation featuring the Dickens’ characterizations, including one I caught of the TV series THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR featuring Charles Nelson Riley as the Scrooge character.
In fact those ghosts, including Marley and Christmases Past, Present and Future have been reenacted by dogs, Muppets, Mr. Magoo and more.
Don’t forget the Bill Murray version or those featuring Susan Lucci, Tori Spelling Cicely Tyson, Hoyt Axton, Vanessa Williams uttering “Bah, humbug.”
One of my favorites is A CHRISTMAS STORY by Jean Shepherd with the boy who wanted a Red Ryder BB gun.
Many people list IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE as their favorite holiday story, and here is my rant about this classic film. Jimmy Stewart as George is wonderful. His persona which he played so often is “Everyman”, as we’d like to see him…honest, sensitive with so much integrity as well as a sense of humor and humanity.
But I have learned to hate this movie…and blame Frank Capra. Jimmy, aka George Bailey is never born and all kinds of terrible things happen which he could have prevented.
And what terrible fate awaits Donna Reed as Mary? If George isn’t born she ends up…horror of horrors…as a spinster librarian in their small town.
Let me tell you Mr. Capra, being an unmarried librarian in a small town or a big city can be a “wonderful life” as well.
May all of you who are celebrating Hanukkah have nothing but light in your lives. May everyone of whatever religion of culture have your 12 Days of Christmas, as well as the 12 months of 2010, and the rest of your years be filled with love and laughter, peace and prosperity, family and friends and, of course, wonderful books.
Doris Ann Norris, the 2000-thousand-year-old librarian