The difference between what is, and what was, is ever-changing. The Rockwellian ideas of the Christmas of yesteryear are so far removed from today’s society that it is difficult for me at times to compare the two.
Friday, my family made its annual trek to the common to partake of the tree lighting and the inevitable arrival of Santa. We have been bringing our children to this community gathering for 19 years thus far, except one (we were living in Romania at the time). There were probably 100 people at this years festivities with approximately half of them under the age of 20. I love this seasonal gathering where the community gets together, the children providing the impetus to forget about the various nuances and responsibilities of daily life. Seeing the wonderment and excitement in their eyes and the energy and anticipation of their Christmas hero riding in atop the fire truck to hear of their young hearts desire does a soul good.
It is unfortunate that some adults who are unable to let go of their schedules and the all important sense that whatever they are doing still takes precedent over anything or anyone else. My family had the unfortunate experience of waiting in line to see Santa just in front of such an individual. His comments not only were rude, but his bloviating let the proverbial gas out of the joy we had embraced as we watched each child climb upon Santa’s knee while chatting with neighbors and friends.
His occasional complaints settled the crowd down, surprisingly the greatly diminished enthusiasm had no effect on him whatsoever. I will say this, there was a palpable sense that many wanted to say something to this guy and yet no one did, I think probably because most of us understood the ethics, of trying correct this man in front of all the children, let alone his own child, was bred deeply enough to help us all hold our tongues. This was definitely one of those moments when I thought of all the right words to say about 2 hours too late.
In hindsight perhaps the lessons learned were more important for the rest of us than what righteous indignation might have gained in the heat of the moment. Ultimately the children had a good time and we walked home perhaps a little more thankful for the gifts we discovered we already had.