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Christmas is what all of us need

POSTED: December 23, 2009 4:00 a.m.

The polls show that 96 percent of Americans celebrate Christmas, while 5 percent observe Hanukkah and 2 percent celebrate Kwanzaa. Some celebrate more than one. 


I know people who participate in the Santa Claus side of Christmas and don’t believe the part about the birth of Jesus. There are others who put up a tree and exchange gifts and that’s it.


I’m an all-of-the-above Christmas person. We have some ornaments on the tree that have Santa and the reindeer and others that have Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus.  I like to hear folks sing “O Holy Night” and “Here Comes Santa Claus.”


The two most annoying questions we ask at our house are “What do you want for supper?” and “What do you want for Christmas?”


If I want to get on the wrong side of my wife, I will answer the first question with mayonnaise. I love mayonnaise.  A sandwich is not a sandwich without it. I don’t like it light. Give me the real stuff and for goodness sakes, don’t give me anything that is in a mayonnaise jar that has the words “salad dressing” on it.


My wife did not get the mayonnaise gene. She practically hates the stuff and can’t stand to smell it or touch it. I’ve tried to put her on the prayer list down at the church, but they tell me that aversion to mayonnaise is not something for which we should trouble the Lord.


But the Christmas present issue is the one that’s on the front burner right now. 


This year, I have put in my request early and am hoping for a DVD set of Charles Kuralt’s complete “On the Road” series. Kuralt came to Gainesville a few years before he died. 


I’ll always remember that he is the only man who called Philip Wilheit, “Phil,” and got away with it.


Kuralt’s claim to fame was putting the everyday American on TV. There was the story of Jethro Mann, a retired preacher in Belmont Abbey, N.C., who fixed up bicycles for poor kids in the town. He wasn’t rich; he just thought a kid should have a bike.


Kuralt was a magical storyteller who had an incredible way with words. Today, it seems that the only words that make it on TV have to do with scandal, extramarital affairs or some salacious tidbit of gossip.


There are folks who do good things every day, who go completely unnoticed.


There’s a city councilman in Gainesville named George Wangemann. George comes by and sticks a Christmas card in the front door.


That means a lot to me.


There are folks who ring the Salvation Army bell or deliver Meals on Wheels, who don’t seek glory or praise. They are just good folks.


In the Broadway play, “Auntie Mame,” there is a scene where the eccentric aunt declares musically that “We Need a Little Christmas.”


She was right.


We need a little Christmas where care is given to those in need, a little love is shown to the unloved and we share a kind word, a smile or a hug to someone who can use it.


We really do need a little Christmas now.


Harris Blackwood is the author of “When Old Mowers Die.” His e-mail address is



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