Mosby removes cap

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Mosby removes curmudgeon cap for Christmas

“May your days be merry and bright, and may all your Christmases be white.”            —Irving Berlin
ROLLING FORK—As a lot, newspaper folk, particularly those of a certain age, are not renowned for their sentimentality, and as a general rule I suspect that the ole Different Drummer embodies that more than most.
But their is one caveat to that—except around Christmas.
Crusty old curmudgeon that I am most of the time, honesty compels me to admit which those closest to me already know, that I tend to become something of a softy on the days leading up to Christmas. And there are some reasons for that, I reckon.
One, I guess, would be that I saw the same thing happen to my Dad every year for a lot of years. Though he tended to be a bit more sentimental about most things than am I, he would invariably, progressively evolve into marshmallow status in and around Christmas, so I suppose I inherited that gene.
Then there’s Christmas music, the “sounds of the season,” that for some reason I have always truly loved and enjoyed. I tend to catch myself humming along, singing along in the car, and once that happens, the Christmas spirit has successfully made its annual move on me again. And, for the record, I am of the opinion that “Oh, Holy, Night” is one of the most beautiful pieces of music of any sort, ever written, and simply stunning when properly performed.
And, finally, there are the old traditional Christmas movies. I am simply a sap for Christmas movies.
My favorite, of course, as has been discussed in this space before, is “It’s A Wonderful Life.” Jeez, what a great movie: Jimmy Steward, Lionel Barrymore, (a stunning beautiful) Donna Reed. Small town reality versus big city dreams. Through his apprentice guardian angel, a good man comes to realize just how much his life has meant to others, even as he sought to end it.
Just might be the best movie ever made. I’ve seen it a hundred times and a tear works its way into my eye every time in the final scenes.
But there are other great ones, too.
There’s “Miracle on 34th Street”—the original, mind you, I don’t go in for those tacky remakes.
I can remember sitting on the couch in my parents’ den watching it with my kid sisters (eight and ten years younger), whose anticipation then of Santa Claus’s coming to town was what every kid’s should be, and feeling, I don’t know, the good part of being big brotherly, as we watched.
It’s seasonally perfect: One of the cinematic lawyers you could really like convinces a mother and her daughter into believing that it is okay to believe in Santa, then his Kris Kringle client makes him reaffirm his own belief in Christmas magic. Great ending: John Payne saying to Maureen O’Hara: “Maybe I didn’t do such a great thing after all….” Great movie.
And then, of course, there are “A Christmas Carol” and “Christmas in Connecticut” and “Holiday Inn” and “A Christmas Story,” (“You’ll shoot your eye out, kid…”) that has become something of a modern cult classic for a subsequent generation.
Just Saturday evening, my dog (Lassie, she ain’t, but she loves me, bless her heart) and I were sitting on the couch when some channel surfing came across one of the classics, “White Christmas.” I think it may have been Dad’s favorite: Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, Vera-Ellen, Dean Jaggar, beautiful scenery, music by Berlin.
Dingo and I sat there for the better part of two hours, captives within a different generation’s different morality and ambiance until the clan had managed to save their old war buddy’s retirement venture and had finished crooning the last refrains of Berlin’s tune with the same title as the film’s: “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones I used to know…”
And that did it.
Instant sentimentality. Just like Kool Aid into water, the grizzled newsman became predictably sappy. I usually manage to hold out until  “It’s a Wonderful Life,” gets me again, but this time, while stroking the head of the dog who had managed to work her way mostly into my lap, old Bing turned the trick for me this year.
“Christmas is really for the children,” a lot of us tend to say to ourselves this time of year, some because we mean it, some because it seems like the right thing to say. But you know what? Sometimes Christmas is for ink-stained old farts, too
(Ray Mosby is publisher of The Deer Creek Pilot in Rolling Fork. Contact him at

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