It’s (Still) A Wonderful Life

Last week I was going to write a blog entitled Meltdown In The Sunshine State. I thought the better of it and opted not to dwell on my meltdown.

I have tried to be funny and sometimes uplifting during this challenging time, but I have strayed into the morose and the enduing world of rant. But you don’t need me to remind you of all that.

I have gotten political on a few occasions, probably more than I should have, but I never promised to be a saint, and I have definitely lived up to that aspiration.

But today, I am going to try to redeem myself for whatever mood transgressions I may have proffered during the last year.

On New Years Eve last year, I wrote a blog Vision 2020. I retold a story of New Year’s Eve 1969 when my friends PJ and Lou went to Times Square for my first and only time of reveling in the cold. It is the closing paragraph that I wrote last year that I wish to share with you now.

So, tonight at the first strike of 10 (for I have long ago given up staying up till midnight and DVR the ball drop), I will once again rejoice at the dawning of a new year if not a new age of peace, love, and understanding….but hope always remains.

Well, no one on December 31, 2019, had any idea what 2020 would bring to us, but I am sure that I was not the only one who had tremendous hope for the new year.

So, fighting back the urge to make 2020 even grimmer by telling the tale of my meltdown, I decided to keep it to myself. After all, we all have our reasons for the 2020 meltdown.

But then the other night, something occurred to me that brought me out of my particular meltdown.

Eileen and I decided to watch It’s A Wonderful Life.

I hadn’t seen it start to finish in a while, and it was nice to do so, maybe because of 2020.

It seemed quaint that George Bailey had a more significant meltdown than I because Uncle Billy lost $8,000. He’s ready to jump off a bridge rather than live with the disgrace of the failure of the Bailey Building and Loan. (What if Donald Trump dealt with business failure in this way? OK, that’s the last mention of Trump.)

George Bailey thinks he is a failure not just because he hasn’t got the eight grand to keep himself out of jail but because he has failed to achieve any of his dreams.

He never went on that cattle boat.

He never went to Europe.

He never went to college.

He never got out of Bedford Falls.

So, Clarence comes along and shows him his real failure.

Clarence grants George his wish and shows him what would have happened if George had never been born.

His brother Harry drowned when he was ten because George wasn’t there to save him. Because Harry died, he never saved the hundreds of soldiers on the transport ship during World War II.

Uncle Billy goes insane because he lost the Bailey Building and Loan.

George’s Mother becomes a cranky old hag instead of the beautiful Mother George still remembered.

Mary Hatch becomes an old maid who works in the library, and, of course, their four adorable kids were never born.

So, George’s failure was not that he didn’t go to Europe or college or get out of Bedford Falls but that he didn’t realize, until Clarence showed him, that he had indeed gotten everything that he ever really wanted.

So, yeah, I, like all of you, had reasons to have a glorious meltdown until Clarence came along.

I know that I will be the resurrected George Bailey (just as you will be) in a matter of time.

I will be able to travel to New York and see my children.

I will be able to see my friends and family in three dimensions.

I will be able to play Trivia with my friends, situated in our living room.

I will be able to go to a Yankee game.

I will be able to go to London and Sligo.

But, most importantly, I will be able to hold my grandson and maybe even stealing his nose once or twice.

I still believe in the miracle of the divine. So whether you celebrate Hanukah or Christmas, Santa is real and will visit us all with the gifts we really need.

Happy Hanukah.

Merry Christmas.

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4 Responses to It’s (Still) A Wonderful Life

  1. Dorothy Raniolo says:

    I can’t wait to watch a wonderful life this year. I am waiting for the hopeless helpless feeling to arrive before I pop it in the DVD. I hope it snows and I make hot chocolate with a bit a liquor and put on my gas fireplace and snuggle in lots and lots of throw blankets. George Bailey and Clarence to the rescue.
    Prayers Jimmy and Eileen for your grandson’s swift and hearty and healthy arrival in the new world where everyone is brave and kind and evil is defeatedl Can Jim and I tell you a secret? That new baby will hold you in his tin hand for the rest of your life and you will marvel that pure joy wrapped an eight-pound swaddle blanket. There will be many fewer meltdowns in 2021. Love, Jim and Dorothy

  2. PJ says:

    Merry Christmas!

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