The Dick Summer (re) Connection – Chapter 22

Silent Night is THE number one Christmas song. But Jingle Bells is the song you hear most often on the All Christmas Music stations. Most of the commercials use it for production music. Which is interesting because it’s not really about Christmas. It’s about people having fun together during a sleigh ride. Lots of people say Christmas isn’t about Christmas anymore. They’ve got a point. The shopping has gone nuts. We’ve got kids looking for a reindeer with a red nose in the night instead of the Star of Bethlehem. And worst of all, deeply religious people are killing each other over who best knows God’s way to bring peace to the world. Definitely not what a loving Creator would have had in mind.So what IS Christmas, if it’s not about Christmas ?

The Salvation Army volunteers are out again this year, some of them bravely blowing trumpets right into the winter wind, others just ringing a little bell and smiling. They don’t do it for pay. They do it for Christmas. For some people that Salvation Army Volunteer’s smile is the only smile they’ll see on a real person that day. And one winter a long time ago, the Salvation Army rescued Christmas for a little girl who grew up to be my lady Wonder Wench. Thank you for that, Christmas, what ever you are.

My Dad was a church Choir Master in Brooklyn. He had 40 men and more than 50 women in his choir. He always had people of different backgrounds sing a carol from their “Old Country.” “The Carol of the Bells” from Russia, “What Child is This” from England. The only time I ever saw my proud German Grandfather cry was one Christmas Eve when Dad had the choir sing the second verse of Silent Night in German. “Stille Nacht.” Thank you, Christmas.

Dad took his whole choir caroling all round the neighborhood every year on the week before Christmas. Whole blocks full of people would gather around the choir and sing along…Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Pagans and Atheists. They all sang. And smiled. And wished each other well. Thank you, Christmas.

The Pope and his priests, including my Cousin Damian, will pray for peace. As will the Preachers, and the Rabbis, and good people every where. A couple of people by the name of Donna Sheehan and Paul Reffel are taking a different approach. They’re trying to get everybody in the world to make love for peace on December 22, the first night of Winter. Lots of people are laughing at Donna and Paul, and some people are shocked … shocked I tell you, and possibly even incensed, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a few people tried to have them arrested for promoting immorality. Donna and Paul will be called a couple of publicity seeking nuts. But I think they’re on to something.

I was talking to my lady Wonder Wench about this, trying to set up a date for December 22. She said it won’t work. I said not if we don’t try it. She gave me one of those wifey smiles with a quick eye roll toward heaven and a very long sigh. But think about it. Suppose every day we all had to promise to make love at least once. Every-body in the world. Given a choice between going to war and killing a lot of people, or spending your time making love, which would you pick?

I like the idea. I think it beats sending more troops to enforce the peace. And it would probably be slightly more successful.

Suppose there was a law that said before any country could declare war, the leader and all the people in his country would have to spend 40 days and 40 nights making love. 40 days and 40 nights is a nice number I picked out of the bible. Make it three months if you want complete separation of church and state. I’ll guarantee you there would be no wars, because everybody would be in a complete state of happy exhaustion. Not a bad description for world peace.

Wonder Wench is probably right, though. It won’t work. Think about it. We’re so hung up on sex that there’s a whole multi-billion-dollar phone sex industry in America. I think it’s kind of pathetic that we can’t talk about sex except over the phone to people we don’t know. Some pompous hypocrite actually got elected a few weeks ago, basically by claiming that his opponent posted “dirty pictures” of beautiful naked women on the Internet. I say, when the Creator made beautiful women, He outdid Himself. And He created them naked.

The people who say Christmas isn’t about Christmas anymore have a point. I think Christmas has become much more than Christ’s birthday. Christmas happened when all those people gathered together to sing with Dad’s choir all those years ago…the Christians, the Jews, the Muslims, the Pagans and the Atheists. I don’t think all those people standing in the cold Brooklyn night singing were really thinking about Christ. They were thinking about each other. They were enjoying singing, keeping each other warm, and enjoying each other’s company. Seems like a good way to thank a Creator for His gift of life.

My mother’s father left his home in Germany shortly before World War II. He saw Hitler coming, and wasn’t having any part of what that meant. “Stille Nacht” brought him home for a moment. His tears were bitter sweet. That’s the way it is sometimes when you go home …only for a moment. But it’s always good to go home. Even for a moment. I’ll thank you for him, Christmas. He was a good, loving, hard, proud man. I remember that his Christmas tree had real candles one year.

If Christmas is magical enough to include Christ’s birthday party, Santa Claus and a reindeer with a red nose, wide screen tvs, and jingle bells, maybe it’s magical enough to even include Pagans again. Magic is a Pagan tradition. That’s where we got the Christmas Tree and the Yule Log. If you’re a Pagan, you’ll recognize Donna and Paul’s idea of making love on the first night of winter as part of a ritual that was sacred before any religion we’ll celebrate this Christmas even existed. One of our daughters and a couple of close friends are Pagans. I hope…and pray…that Christmas really isn’t just about Christmas anymore.

Wonder Wench and I have been a laughing, crying, happy, hurt, hot and healthy faithful team for a long time. Thank you Christmas, maybe most of all for her. Magic is just as important to her now as it was to that little girl so long ago.

The people who say Christmas isn’t about Christmas any more are right. It’s Rudolph, and Santa, and Silent Night. It’s going home for a moment, and singing, and keeping each other warm, and making magic safe for a little girl. It touches something that was old long before there was a religion. Thank you Christmas.


Dick’s Details Quiz – the answers to these questions are all in the current PodProgram:

1- Before 1859 baseball umpires didn’t crouch behind the catcher. Where did they go to call balls and strikes ?

2- What nasty activity should test tube babies avoid ?

3- How do we know exactly where 1% of American teenagers are when it’s very warm ?

4- What should the Wendy’s restaurants serve, and they don’t ?

Scoring: 4 right – You’ll have a date on December 22.

3 right – You’ll have an ugly date on December 22.

2 right – You’ve been pre-selected for a date on December 22.

1 right – Your date will have a headache on December 22.

0 right – You won’t have a date, but you will have a headache on December 22.



One Response to “The Dick Summer (re) Connection – Chapter 22”

  1. Richard G. says:

    Dick – –

    1) I just stumbled across your web site, and for the past 2 hours I’ve been scrolling through as much of it as I can absorb; it’s fascinating and captivating (and interesting too). You are now officially “bookmarked” !

    2) I’m of that age that it is taking me a while to learn all of the features of my i-pod, but I’ll get to your podcasts soon.

    3) I have an old Christmas poster with a yellowing handwritten postcard that I attached to it, but I get it out every year. It says: ” ‘Christmas is a birthday party, not a warehouse sale.’ – – Dick Summer, WMEX, Boston”.

    I agree. Merry Christmas !