Merry Christmas, 2007
To celebrate Christmas, I am sharing my Christmas Day columns, a tradition that started in 1996. Here is the 2007 version:
A Christmas story, mid-1990s: The little boy got in trouble. He doesn’t even remember what he did, when he was 8 or 9. But he must have been bad. Must have been real bad.
As punishment, his mom told him there would be no Christmas for him. Of course, kids have heard that line before.
Each day, the boy would check out the Christmas tree. But no presents were for him.
Christmas came, and that morning, the tree still bore no fruit. No presents for the boy in trouble.
The day dragged on. The sun set. The little boy gave up. He accepted the fate of nothing for Christmas.
Then suddenly, presents appeared. The boy got a reprieve. His mom had been bluffing, but she delivered a well-learned lesson.
He doesn’t even remember what he got that Christmas. Maybe Ninja turtle stuff, maybe not. But he remembers the Christmas he had to wait. Patience eventually would come in handy, as a tight end who doesn’t always get passes thrown his way, for Brandon Pettigrew.
A Christmas story, 1940s: John’s dad died of kidney failure when he was 5. John was the youngest of four kids; his older brother picked up the back-breaking duties of the family’s coal-loading business in Pittsburgh.
Sometimes on Christmas, they would descend the stairs and find nothing under the tree. But sometimes, an uncle, a Catholic priest from Ohio, would arrive with gifts.
Their mom was a hard worker and a good provider, but not much of a cook. So the kids always looked forward to Christmas Eve, which in Lithuanian homes was the day of Kucios, in which the family would congregate for seven-or even 10-fish suppers.
But to receive gifts on Kucios, the kids had to perform. John, who later would absolutely prove he didn’t have much of a voice, sang “I’m Popeye the Sailor Man.”
Years later, “strong to the finich” on NFL gridirons would be Johnny Unitas.
A Christmas story, 1980: The sportscaster had to work Christmas Eve, the slowest sports day of the year. Working Christmas Eve night can be more depressing than working Christmas Day, so the sportscaster hatched an idea.
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