Written by Ronald Scaglia Friday, 07 December 2012 00:00
The beginning of December also marks that the holiday season is in full swing. I think I can speak for everyone when I say, “Thank God.” No, not because I’m all that into the holidays, which I will explain a little bit later, but because December 1 also means that hurricane season is officially over. I think all of us on Long Island are relieved at that. So if bringing in the holidays means doing away with hurricanes, then I say string up the holly!
It shows you just how bad the hurricane was if I’m saying to bring on the holidays. The season and I have never really been friends. As a child, I would often come down with strep throat at this time of the year. One year, as a young child, our beloved Christmas display was vandalized. I can still remember getting in my mom’s car and seeing Rudolph smashed and turned upside down. The decorations were repaired, but one week later the whole display was stolen. My beloved first dog, Charlie, died a week before Christmas when I was young. Years later, another beloved pet, Ricky, died the day after New Year’s. Another year, during the season, I was hit in the rear as I was stopped at a stop sign. The weather gets too cold for golf and Bethpage is closed on Christmas so I can’t console myself with even the thought that I could possibly play on Christmas, if I really, really wanted to. And in a note that we can all relate to, could there be any more traffic in the malls at this time of year? So, as you can see, as December rolls around, I usually cringe and hope that the damage won’t be too bad.
This has also turned me into a bit of a Scrooge, although I have never really gotten A Christmas Carol or How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Okay, so Ebeneezer had a bad dream and changed his life? Seriously? I dreamt that I hit a ball over the Green Monster to win the World Series but I didn’t quit my job the next day because I expected the Red Sox to call. And after the Whos discovered that all of their homes had been completely burglarized, they went outside, held hands and started singing a song. Huh? They didn’t at least call the police first? Will all of you stand in the street on Christmas Day, hold your neighbors hand and sing a song, if all of your stuff is stolen? Will you do this if nothing is taken? And the Grinch, after getting away with this, gives all the stuff back after hearing the singing. He could have sold it on an online auction website, let the Whos restock and maybe get them again on Valentine’s Day.
With that being said, I will speak positively about one holiday special, It’s A Wonderful Life. Now after a Patriots’ loss, I’ve been known to say, “Stop whining George, you’re married to Donna Reed, so enough already.” And I really don’t expect a town to bail out a bank that loses thousands of dollars through carelessness, but then again if you recall the TARP act….well let’s save that debate for another time. Anyway, there is one line that I think really holds true. Clarence, the guardian angel, remarks, “Each man’s life touches so many others.” This really is true. Too often, simple good measures have a big impact, which nobody realizes. I recently said this about the Long Island Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence at their annual Peter Sweisgood breakfast. The work they do helps so many others. By preventing someone from abusing alcohol they may have prevented someone from driving drunk and killing innocent victims – victims who may never know they were saved because of their work. The family members of these people may never realize that they are able to share the holidays with their loved ones because anonymous strangers did good work.
This phenomenon happens so often, every day. Just as George Bailey didn’t see how his work had such a huge impact on others, we may not see how our good acts have helped so many others, or we may not realize that the acts of others have made a huge difference in our lives.
We did see this with so many acts of charity that were performed in the aftermath of Sandy, and we may never realize just how much those deeds meant. We may never be transported to another reality like George, but kindness is there and it does make a difference.
Good riddance to the hurricane season and hello to the holidays. Just don’t ask me to stand in the street and sing a song on Christmas morning.
Ron Scaglia is the Special Sections editor of Anton Newspapers.