Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve was the big day around our house. I grew up with Mom, Dad, Mamaw, Uncle Cecil and my little brother Bob as well as different people who worked for the family in the Grocery store. As long as Cecil was alive, the store was open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Cecil would sit in the store, watch television and be a God send to everyone who needed something last minute and did not want to drive the additional 7 miles into town. Mom, or Mamaw or, after I got older, I would take Cecil his Christmas meal on a tray and her would eat a feast fit for a king, the same as we would at the house. Cecil was like a big brother to me; he was my uncle but a lot of people thought he was my grandfather; he was 22 years older than my mother. Cecil died when I was 10 years old; he was 60, and a huge influence in my life. I have dozens of stories about Cecil but one Christmas story comes to mind on this Christmas Eve.
I was eight or nine years old and deemed old enough to carry Cecil’s meal out to him on Christmas Day. As I mentioned earlier, Christmas Eve was the big day for us, we opened our presents and gloried in the bounty of another holiday but this year I didn’t get the one present I had really wanted, a working garage to play with the toy cars that I had. I was disappointed, as kids will be, but happy because my dad had made sure that the stuff we needed was there. So I carried Cecil’s dinner out to him and sat down to watch TV with him while he ate. The entire front of the store was made up of windows open to the front parking lot and the television was between two of the windows on a stand. When Cecil sat down to eat he could watch the TV, see anyone pulling in the lot and generally relax and take care of business at the same time. About half way through the meal Cecil looked over to me and asked me to get something from the basement. I don’t remember what it was but I popped up, ran to the back of the store, and through the door that led to the basement. When I reached the bottom of the stairs, there sat the garage. The wonderful garage, with gas pumps out front and a lift in the bay to get under the cars and work; sitting right there in all its glory. I immediately went to work driving cars through the wash, topping of the tank and checking under the hood. Like I said, I don’t even remember what Cecil asked for but he never got it. I think he understood.
I hope you get that one thing you really want whether you open your present Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
On this day in1960, Glenn McQueen was born in Toronto, Ontario. He was the supervising animator for A Bug's Life, Toy Story 2, and Monsters, Inc. In October 2002, he passed away at age 41 during final production of Finding Nemo. The film was dedicated to him. I can think of no greater tribute to Mr. McQueen than going to the Animal Kingdom and watching Finding Nemo: The Musical. Sing along with me, “In the big, blue world…”
December 24th, 1925, the London Evening News published a little story by Alan Alexander Milne, “In Which We Are Introduced to Winnie-the-Pooh and Some Bees, and the Stories Begin.” The next year, a collection titled Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne will be published. My wife loves Winnie the Pooh and we love riding the Pooh ride where Mr. Toad used to abide. Get to the Magic Kingdom, don’t get a FastPass, just get in the regular line and play with everything in line, then enjoy a little ride with Pooh and his friends.
Remember, your best excuse is always: waiting for your dreams to come true.