Back in the day when you stood for hours in a video rental store, picking up tape after tape, reading the backs of the boxes to try and find something that the whole family…the family that was smaller in age and number back then…could watch, I brought home a movie called “Sourdough”.
Years later, I ended up writing a blog post about it.
When I wrote that post, I sent a link to the fellow who made the movie, Rod Perry, and he sent me a really nice email thanking me for writing my short piece…and filled me in on some of the details on the making of the movie.
Anyway, long story short…that was my introduction to Rod’s Blog…and this piece of Christmas writing that he did last year.
I told him when I ran it last year that I might make it a Christmas tradition…so, here goes.
My mother spent her last years here with us near the old Iditarod Trail. But she grew up in a sod house and half dugout on a land claim in New Mexico Territory. She was born at a time when Pancho Villa’s raiding was keeping things lively thereabouts, before the territory became our forty-seventh state.
Among the frontier folk who scratched out a bare living scattered about the arid, sparsely-grassed country were many that were hardly schooled. Once a good little wife and mother walked five rough miles across the plains (then five back home) to borrow from my grandmother some “ingredients.” When questioned what ingredients in particular she sought, the poor dear looked puzzled. She explained that she had flour, salt, baking powder, and everything else called for except the item, “ingredients” she saw mentioned in the recipe.
My mother happened to be in the general store when a little girl came in to pick up an order. “I came to get wipin’ paper. Ma said put it on our bill.” The store keeper, not recognizing which family the girl belonged to, asked, “Little Lady, who is this for?” To which she answered, “All of us.”
Parents on a distant claim sent word around that they would be holding a birthday party for their son. A social event of such rarity drew every kid within walking or riding distance. My mother went, as did three sisters who came as they did each day to school, astride Ol’ Silas, their mule. Upon arrival each guest paid respects to the birthday boy then joined in the festivities honoring him as the center of attention. That is, until a young chap, getting there late, burst through the door. With not so much as a look in the direction of the one whose birthday was the sole reason for the entire gathering, he loudly proclaimed, “I come for ice cream and lemonade!”
Now, looking around during the Christmas season, I see parties, celebrations, plays and performances, going home for the holidays, family, children and friends. I see Santa and traditions, gift giving and benevolence to the needy. Center Jesus in his rightful place and it’s all so rich. But those celebrants who leave out the Savior, never stopping to so much as acknowledge God’s greatest gift as the very reason for the season, well, they are as crudely off the mark as that boorish late-arriving boy at the party on the plains almost a century ago. Leave Jesus out and even the highest and best of the rest is only, “I come for ice cream and lemonade!”
A “Happy Holidays” kind of Christless Christmas season, one that ignores, circumvents, or purposely shuts out both the Christ and the mass (celebration of his birth) might best be summed up using words of the famous trailsman, gold rush dog driver, Old Ben Atwater. “Whagh! Why, it’s all worth no more than a cold half pinch of last years’ bear scat!”
If even that.
I loved this post then…and it’s just as good a year later.
Christmas is rapidly approaching…thanks for writing this, Rod.