Christmas 2009 — A Review

Scroll back a few posts to “The Theologians Up the Street,” and take a good hard look at the weird nativity scene. Because it’s all that remains. Seems some vandal took off with the display and left the wooden reindeer to wander aimlessly through Bethlehem without their boss OR their savior.

And before you point fingers and blame me, I profess my innocence. I may complain, and I may criticize, but I don’t steal. So you can quit calling my house to ask if I noticed that it’s missing.

Besides, two days before Santa and Jesus took off, a low-minded and amorous reindeer was seen poised atop Santa’s shoulders. Which seems suspiciously vandal-like to me. My theory is that the weight of the reindeer took its toll on Santa’s aging bones, and he collapsed, splintering into several irreparable pieces, wiping out Baby Jesus on his descent.

I was nowhere around, officer. I, too, am disturbed by this total lack of respect for others’ property.

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Favorite Christmas snapshot: My 11-year-old watched movies Christmas afternoon, holding her new eight-inch Madame Alexander doll, an Indian girl she named “Greeshma” after her pen pal (who lives in India, no less). As the movie ended, she put down the doll and said, “Well, I’m going to shoot my new gun now.” And off she went, carrying her pink 1938 Daisy Red Ryder BB gun.

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We live in the town where my husband grew up. To see former classmates while out and about is no big deal. At the movies Sunday afternoon, sitting in the dark, he saw someone pass by who may have gone to school with him. “Hey, did I go to high school . . .” His voice trailed off, and he never finished the question. I answered, “Yes, you went to high school.” And I laughed throughout the movie. He did not.

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Speaking of movies, my eyes are bleeding from watching all this cinema. But one movie stands out, and as cliché as this may sound, The Blind Side is the best of the year. Maybe it’s my affinity for SEC football; maybe it’s because Nick Saban is onscreen, recruiting for LSU, thereby deflating the oohs and aaahs of his loyal (and loud) fans who didn’t immediately realize that the storyline dates back to a dark time before the clouds parted and angels sang as Saban left Baton Rouge, briefly detoured over to Miami, to follow the yellow brick road to Alabama; maybe it’s because I really love the rare film that isn’t a beer-swilling, frat party bromance, but a true story that exhibits all that is good in this world, in light of all that is bad, and makes you feel like you didn’t toss $7.50 down the toilet.

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And finally, another football story to warm your heart . . .

Santa came early this year, as we abandoned the crowds and walked into a Chick-fil-A on Christmas Eve morning. On the way to the counter, my husband stopped, pulled my sleeve and said, “Hey, isn’t that Frank Sanders?” And lo and behold, it was Frank Sanders, trying to enjoy a Christmas Eve lunch.

Sanders after a win against the Bengals in 2003.

So what is a couple to do when they see a former Auburn wide receiver and NFL star eating chicken nuggets with his daughters? Well, they just walk up to his table and introduce themselves, that’s what they do!

They talk about their days at Auburn, his days at Auburn, how many children they have, how cute his daughters are, what he’s doing these days, how many trading cards and newspaper clippings they have of him, and we still remember when he made that game-winning catch in the final seconds of the Auburn-Florida game back in 1994, and whoa! You’ll have to excuse us because we’re starting to sound like stalkers, aren’t we?

We live in the SEC, which I realize is not truly a geographical region, but it might as well be, and people around here contract these severe cases of hero worship, and they are terrible, terrible things to try to shake. Believe me. So we just cope the best we can. And by cope, I mean that we returned home and pulled out scrapbooks and trading cards and newspaper clippings and wondered out loud why we didn’t invite Frank Sanders and his daughters back to our house? Then we described how the day would have played out, when we would have enjoyed a full Christmas Eve meal together, then we would have ventured out to roll the yard of the Tennessee fans down the street, the yards of Alabama fans all over town, and so on. We named the victims one by one. And we imagined that our friends would look out their windows and ask, “Why are Amy and Craig and Frank Sanders rolling our yard?”

We always have New Year’s . . .

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