The Christmas Connection

I’m sitting here in my big, comfortable, black leather pappa chair in my living room…and pretty soon I’m going to have to move it. I’ll try to remember to stand up first. It makes My Lady Wonder Wench frown when I just try to hop it over to one side while I’m still sitting in it. I have to move it because we always put our Christmas tree right between my chair, and the big stereo speakers our son Eric the inventor built for us a few years ago. We don’t put up our tree till Christmas Eve, and it may be a bit early to be thinking about it right now, but that seems to be all the stores ARE thinking about. Some of them have had Christmas decorations up since just after Labor Day. Some people resent the fact that the Christmas shopping season seems to start a week earlier every year. I really don’t mind. I like Christmas. People say, “Why can’t we have Christmas all year long.” Well the way it’s being started earlier and earlier every year, by somewhere around 2020, it WILL be with us all year long. 

The weather outside isn’t frightful just yet. But it’s kind of dull and dreary…and un-smiley. So it’s neat that Santa swashbuckles in here with a big red suit, green, gold and silver wrapped presents, and happy music made by symphony orchestras with choirs, rock bands, and even chipmunks. And there’s no ducking away from him to go suck your thumb and put the back of your hand to your head, and cry in your beer…because “He sees you when you’re sleeping…he knows when you’re awake….” no matter where you are, he’s going to pop up, and lay a ho ho ho on you if you give him a chance. I know things are tough this year, but no matter how tough things may be…Santa’s price is right…so you may as well give him a shot. 

Santa is lots of things to lots of people. But he pretty often gets a bum rap. He gets the blame for all the tasteless, crass, loud tv commercials for “The Biggest Sale Of The Year.” He also has to take the fall for “Taking Christ out of Christmas.” I think he deserves better. I think it’s time to thank Santa, because that stuff is not his fault. 

Santa is a connector. And to me, that’s the real meaning of Christmas. Connection. Every year…no matter how old you are…he connects you to who you were when you got your first electric trains… a sled…or a bike under the tree…or your first Christmas kiss. And most important for me, he’s the connection to that distinct Christmas Eve “tuck you – in – so – Santa – can – come – with – his – reindeer – and – presents” feeling that my parents gave me. It was so safe…and happy…and real. And Santa helps you pass all that along to your kids…every Silent Night. 

Of course, “He knows when you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake.” Not a bad reminder for us “Louie-Louie Generation” folks. Sometimes we slip. We tell terrible Christmas puns like, “As Adam said to his wife the day before Christmas, “It’s Christmas, Eve.” I know. That’s awful. Even worse is the one about how the custom of putting an angel at the top of the tree started. It seems one Christmas Eve, Santa was really harried. Mrs. Claus had burned the Fruit Cakes, the Elves were upset at their HMO providers, and one of Santa’s sleigh runners was broken. Just then, the little angel he’d sent to bring home a Christmas tree walked in dragging the tree behind him, and said, “Where would you like me to put this tree, Santa ?” And that’s how the tradition of the angel at the top of the tree was born. 

Groans are ok…BUT NO POUTING ! Remember…“You better not pout, you better not cry…”yeah…we do too much whining and not enough smiling the rest of the year. Christmas is a good smile connector.  

Dick’s Details Quiz. All answers are in the current podcast.

1- Why didn’t John Dillinger make it to the big leagues ?

2- What do some Hong Kong wives like doing to to their husbands with their bare hands.

3- What do some people say about the U.S. Congress ? 

Dick’s Details. They take your mind off your mind. 

Time to ask you for your Christmas, or Hannukka, or Qwanza, or Solstice stories. They don’t have to be spectacular, or even well written. Just real. I like to post them on our blog at dick summer dot com. So, please let me know how you feel about the season. The address is   

Christmas is a big time smile connector for me. It connects you with smiles…the kind on your face, and the kind on other people’s faces. There are plenty of things that dis-connect us every day…and every night. From little paper cut things…all the way up to lose your job things…and getting sick things…and even things like noticing that someone you care about isn’t smiling much when you’re together any more…and you know your someone is dis-connecting from you…and connecting with someone else.  

Disconnections hurt. Sometimes they hurt hard. Worse than hitting your thumb with a hammer. But after a while, the hurts numb down…and you don’t feel anything anymore. You don’t feel anything about anything. Smiles get very scarce when that happens…when you dis-connect…from yourself. 

Then Christmas comes along…and it connects us with the things that are good, and strong, and decent in all of us. I love Christmas music…my dad was a church musician…and I love the stories…and I love the presents…and the decorations…but it’s the connection that counts with me. The Christmas connection comes on schedule every year. But sometimes…other big time connections happen when you least expect them. 

For example, we have an air show every June at the airfield where I keep my little plane. They had a WW2 B-17 bomber called The Memphis Belle there this year. It was the plane they made the movie about. I was checking it out, along with another Louie-Louie Generation guy. The other guy asked the plane’s pilot if he could sit in the cockpit. The pilot said the cockpit is off limits at an air show. But he noticed something in the guy’s eyes…or his voice…or something. I caught it too. The pilot said “is there any special reason you want to sit in the pilot seat?” The guy didn’t say anything for a few seconds…then he said, “My dad was a B-17 pilot. My mom was pregnant with me when he was killed. I never knew him. But I was just thinking that if I could sit where he might have been sitting when he died….The guy couldn’t finish the sentence. The pilot didn’t say anything either. He just stepped back and helped the guy into the seat. The guy’s hands were shaking when he touched the yoke and the throttles. It felt like I shouldn’t be watching. So I left. Connections.  

I think the most important connection any body can make is a re-connection…to yourself. That’s what happened to a woman in a story from the Night Connections 3 personal audio cd. It’s called, “Taking A  Breath.” That woman changed…right there in front of everybody in a restaurant. And everybody could see it. So we all looked away…It was instinctive. It was like we were to respecting…her modesty. It was just as if she were changing her dress…right there in front of us. And her new dress…instantly… made her look…so…beautiful. 

“Taking A Breath.” is from the Night Connections 3 personal audio cd. If you like it, you can just keep the current podcast. Or if you want a fresh copy, just download it from the Night Connections 3 icon on the home page.

 So…Santa Claus is coming to town again. Please send your memories of however you celebrate this time of year to me. The address is  I think those stories help all of us re-connect…to the stuff inside. Stuff that’s safe, and honest and real. 

3 Responses to “The Christmas Connection”

  1. aliasJean Fox says:

    That’s beautiful story about the B-17. Thanks for sharing.

    I lost my youngest brother to Alzheimers this year. He was a Viet Nam veteran, and spent time in the Aussie camp. His birthday was December 19th — same as my daughter. I’ll be thinking about him this year and wishing I could send a card and call him, as I have for many years. I work with Alzheimers and Dementia-afflicted adults. They’re two connections that are bittersweet.

    But I also remember my sister taking me to Boston to see the lights. It was “special sister time” for she and I. That’s a happy connection, when I see some Christmas lights that are extravagant, and reminiscent of Boston.

    Thanks, Dick, for reminding us that connections come in all types of memories. Maine Fir Balsam scent goes out to you for your memory bag.

  2. Sheri says:

    I sent you an email with a Christmas story before I finished reading the whole blog…. and then the story about the B-17 made me tear up… this year is gonna be the first Christmas that I got to spend with one of my grand kids, as their first Christmas… I’m sure there will be lots of good memories.. our tree is already up, and my daughter is all done with shopping, so the gifts are piled high.. and I’m busy making snowflakes and ornament covers…. life is really good!

  3. Bill Thrasher says:

    Merry Christmas Dick,

    Sorry for my absence. A wonderful missive. As I did almost 50 years ago, I want to post your musings on my blog (with proper credit of course). Why? Because it’s too good not to copy. I await your answer.