By Jimmy Gentry
Thursday, November 01, 2007
I recently stumbled onto a website called ChristianAnswers.net. On this site are listed more than 170 Christmas movies. I noticed one I've seen twice; when I saw the title, it all came back to me. The movie, The Kid Who Loved Christmas, was produced in 1990. It is a heart-warming story about a fictitious Chicago couple in the process of adopting an orphaned boy during the holidays when, unexpectedly, a drunken driver kills the wife, on a cold night. The little boy is taken from his daddy to be placed, again, in foster care. It looks as if the adoption will not go through as a result of the "Scrooge spirit" of the chief social worker, who, herself, grew up as a foster child, orphaned from her parents.
Near the movie's end, she has a change of heart and one is left thinking the adoption took place as the movie ends. Midway through this Christmas drama, the little boy, who desperately wants to be with his "daddy" on Christmas, writes a letter to Santa Claus. "Dear Santa: All I want for Christmas is to be with my daddy. Love, Reggie."
After watching that movie in 1994, I reflected on the first Christmas without my daddy. It was 1968. I was twelve years old. We went to my Aunt Hazel's in Fredonia, Ky., not too far from nowhere. Aunt Hazel and her husband, Lewis, along with their oldest son, Sonny, made the thirty-mile drive Christmas morning to Cadiz in their pick-up truck. Uncle Lewis and I rode in the back. I still remember him keeping me warm that sunshiny, yet cold day. I had a wonderful time on their farm for a couple of days, but all I could think about was getting back home to see my best friend, Jeannie McCormick, who lived down the street. We had grown up together.
I suppose we had played, either at her house or mine, every day from the time we were two or three. Jeannie and I had much in common that Christmas. Her daddy died in August and my daddy died in November. Jeannie's mother had left them at an early age. She really was orphaned. Fortunately her uncle, along with her grandmother, adopted and reared her. All Christmas Day I wondered if Jeannie had been thinking what I had been thinking.
When Momma and I finally got back home on December 27, I went immediately to Jeannie's house. We talked about all the things we had done on Christmas and the gifts we had gotten. Both of us confessed, though, that all we really wanted that Christmas was our daddies. I remember us holding each other as we cried.