Banman – I wish to emulate Bob Cratchit |

Banman – I wish to emulate Bob Cratchit

Larry Banman/Without a Doubt
Kremmling, CO Colorado

Christmas is supposed to be a time of peace, love and goodwill to all. Too often, the hustle and bustle of the season overcomes and overwhelms too many of us and “Bah!” and “Humbug!” become the rallying cry of the season.

Personally, I can never align my biorhythms with what is supposed to be the correct time for experiencing the Christmas spirit. Generally speaking, my holiday season falls into a familiar pattern. From Black Friday until Christmas Eve, the oppression of the message to buy, buy, buy becomes too much to bear. I alone feel responsible for giving the retailers a boost as I work to save the nation’s economy. I feel a bit recharged on Dec. 21 when I realize that the days will finally start getting a little longer. The minus 10 degrees we had at the house this morning only accentuated my longing for longer days. Christmas Eve gives me a boost because there is usually time to find a candlelight service somewhere and think about the first six letters of Christmas. The Day itself is usually spent with family and it provides a mixture of joy and happiness along with the melancholy feeling that often occurs after a long-awaited event finally arrives and then passes.

For me the Christmas spirit almost always hits in mid-January. I don’t think it coincides with the White Sale at JC Penney, but for some reason I get the notion to celebrate about the time everybody else is starting to get their fill of winter. Despite the presence of a good seed catalog, it’s too early (at least in Grand County) to start thinking about spring. Most of the information a person needs to prepare their taxes has arrived and the looming pressure of April 15 starts to build. It might just be my naturally contrary nature that leads me to be cheery when everyone else is gloomy but, suffice it to say that I usually celebrate my post-Christmas cheerfulness in solitude.

This year, I got the notion on December 1 that perhaps I should practice a little Christmas cheer prior to the event. The deadline to realistically produce a Christmas letter has passed so I won’t place that millstone around my neck. Instead, I will do things like focus on the many Christmas special on television. These specials range from sacred to secular with enough variety to please everybody, except perhaps the most devout atheist. And, thanks to TiVo, Bevo and Stevo those television events can be recorded and replayed at the most convenient of times.

I always harp about the materialism of the season and the change of emphasis but I cannot overlook the fact that people during this time of year at least give lip service to peace, love and goodwill toward their neighbors, family and friends. I must also admit to enjoying the exchange of gifts. I almost always seem to mess up the process for myself, but it is fun to watch others who have the ability to both give and receive gifts well. Thanks to my loving mother, it is also nice to restock the drawer with fresh socks, hankies and briefs. I enjoy a good caroling session and Christmas lights always put me in a good mood (as long as I don’t dwell on the fact that I, again, failed to help decorate the house).

I also decided to be more proactive in my spreading of peace, love and goodwill. During this season, I will return all shopping carts to the store from whence they came (at the very least, they will be placed in their designated parking spot). A smile and a Merry Christmas shall be directed toward every clerk, especially those that appear to be harried. Emphasis will be directed toward those who appear to be down cast, down turned or down on their luck. I will take more time listening to sacred Christmas music and less time being critical of secular selections. I will at least think one more time about producing a Christmas letter. Okay, let’s chalk up that last one to wishful thinking.

It was actually a “blue day” that prompted me to rethink my Mr. Grumpy act. I allowed circumstances to drag me into bitterness for a entire day until I came to a stark realization. I had actually seen myself in the mirror. I fear that during the Christmas season, too many times, I was the one whom others sought to avoid. Often negative influences can be used to achieve positive results. At the risk of sounding selfish, my Christmas wish for myself is that I am more Bob Kratchett than Ebenezer Scrooge.

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