Wednesday, January 2, 2013

My Favorite Oxymoron

New traditions.

I wrote a blog post with that title five years ago. In it I describe my shock that we’d been in Moab for four years, and now it’s almost nine.

Once you reach an age when flying reindeer ---or weeks of no school with snow to play in----no longer hold quite the same appeal, nostalgia becomes a main ingredient in the magic of Christmas. I love Old Traditions and much of what I make sure to do each holiday stems from what I loved most about the Christmases of my own childhood.

But I also love creating new traditions.

New Tradition 2012: The George Bailey Award


I owe my inspiration for this completely to Marta of Marta Writes.

“It’s a Wonderful Life” is my favorite movie of all time. I wrote about it in my 2007 post about Advent traditions, and I drove many of my high school friends a tad crazy by quoting it all the time. During Sean and Nolan’s last Shine Time hour on KZMU, they played a clip of the above scene---when George is overjoyed to found his mouth bleeding and looks in his pocket and announces, “ZuZu’s Petals!”  Jaidyn, a 10-year-old friend, called in with the correct movie title. If you’ve never seen “It’s a Wonderful Life” and need more motivation, Mark Spearman wrote one of the best appreciations of it on Pioneer Woman’s site here.

It really is a perfect movie about how wonderful our imperfect lives are.

One of the main ideas in Frank Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life is that what matters most is not riches or status or conventional ideas of success, but friendship. George finds an inscription from Clarence that reads, “Remember Geroge: no man is a failure who has friends.” I admit that as a child I struggled to understand when Harry toasts: “To my brother, the richest man in town!” Even with all the jukebox coins and Sam’s wire of money, surely Mr. Potter was still wealthier. I had probably seen the movie six times before I realized he meant because George was so rich in friendship (which isn’t the same thing as the number of friends you have on Facebook!).

Marta gave me the idea of granting our own George Bailey Award. George has grand plans as a young man---he tells Mary, “I’m shaking the dust of this crummy little town off my feet and going to see the world.” He wants to build bridges and skyscrapers but instead ends up running his father’s Building and Loan. He learns that the greatest good we can do in the world is to give the gift of our time and energy to those we love and to our community. Marta’s wonderful post about her family’s tradition of giving a George Bailey Award to someone who does just that inspired us to do the same.

2012 George Bailey Award

We unanimously agreed to give our first George Bailey Award, along with a dvd copy of the movie, to Bobbie Long, whom our boys always refer to as Miss Bobbie---so we compromised by calling her Mrs. Bobbie Long on the award. Bobbie has been a force for good in Moab for over 55 years through her quiet leadership in her church, St Francis, and her service-sorority Alpha Rho. Now in her 80s, Bobbie is still a roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-it-done leader, who does more than anyone to prepare Christmas stockings for the children of St Christopher’s Mission, and numerous other philanthropies. My boys don’t know about any of that.

Bobbie Long and Sean keatingMiss Bobbie with Harry and SuperNolanmrs bobbie and aidan and sean

They just know how Miss Bobbie always makes them feel---welcomed and loved. And that’s what makes a wonderful life.

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