Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Creator: The Appalachia Santa Claus Special

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight is the Appalachia Santa Claus Special and the folks who support it:

In these rough and tumble times, it’s always great to hear a bit of good news about our fellow Americans. So today’s Spotlight is given to you in the Christmas spirit. To shine a little light on something that reflects the holiday spirit. Here’s hoping your Hanukkah and your Christmas are wonderful. And that your New Year is the best. Blessings, my friends.

Near 500 words: Light your candle, my friends

a lyric for these times

It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness. The Christophers.

These are dark dark times
Winter is coming on
The night is closing in
The moon has up and gone

So light your candle, my friends
If you’re longing for the cool cool waters of love
Light your candle, my friends

Anger is all the rage
Wild fires from town to town
And soon it’s ’bout to come
Our cities burning down

So light your candle, my friends
If you’re longing for the cool cool waters of love
Light your candle, my friends

The sky is bloody red
Passions running deep
A storm is on the rise
Life is on the cheap

So light your candle, my friends
If you’re longing for the cool cool waters of love
Light your candle, my friends

The devil’s on the move
His demons having fun
Packing loaded guns
At the setting of the sun

So light your candle, my friends
If you’re longing for the cool cool waters of love
Light your candle, my friends

Near 500 words: The Sixties

The Sixties are a long time gone but lately I have been remembering. During the 1960s, it seemed like everywhere you turned, there were larger-than-life personalities. Not celebrities but people who moved mountains. Dr. King and Bobby Kennedy, Muhammad Ali and Joe Namath.

Every night we turned on the TV and there was Uncle Walter and Johnny Carson to guide us. Carol Burnett made us laugh our booties off. Alan Shepard and John Glenn flew into the outer reaches of space. John Kennedy inspired us to do better for our country and the First Lady showed us style. Popes John XXIII and Paul VI, Billy Graham and the Maharishi quenched our spiritual thirst. Even in the Soviet Union, there was Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

No matter what your political persuasion, there was someone for everyone. Gene McCarthy and Bobby Kennedy for the liberals, Barry Goldwater and William F. Buckley for the conservatives. And Che Guevara for the radicals.

Ralph Nader, Betty Friedan and Rachel Carson, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Cesar Chavez dreamed big dreams and shared them with the world. The times were changing. Utopia was just around the corner.

We landed a man on the moon and celebrated our freedom at Woodstock. Then the party came tumbling down with a thud at Altamonte.

By the end of the decade, our innocence was buried in the harsh reality that utopias always end in dystopia. Captain America was shot off his mototcycle. The Beatles broke up and Sgt Peppers disbanded his band. That day in April,1970, was more than the day the music died. It was the day our hearts were broken. It was the day the earth opened up and swallowed our hope.

All we were left with was Richard Nixon and Vietnam, and Superman was only a comic book and Batman a TV show. All we were left with was Kent State, OPEC, Watergate, stagflation and the Brady Bunch. The Seventies brought us plop back down to earth. It was like we had been dropped on our heads and we had a hangover like all get-out.

Then came Camp David and “the City Upon a Hill” of Ronald Reagan. The Berlin Wall came crashing down. For one brief moment, there was a Middle East Peace Accord. Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin shook hands. For one brief, shining moment, Camelot was shining again. Only to be brought back to our senses by Y2K and 9/11.

But we can never forget those bonfires of hope shining from the Decade That Was: the Peace Corps and Earth Day, Woodstock and Neil Armstrong walking on the moon. And we still dream of a better world. It’s just going to be a long time coming. As Jessie Jackson says, “Keep hope alive.”

‘Tis the Seasn

Mother, manger and Child in a stable
Bethlehem on a midnight clear
Angels and peace on earth goodwill toward men
Adeste fidelis and little drummer boys
Shepherds, Magi, and gold, frankincense and myrrh
O Christmas tree and we three ships
Saint Nicholas, Santa Claus and Rudolph
Good King Wenceslas, Tiny Tim, Scrooge and Charlie Brown
Miracles on 34th Street, It’s a Wonderful Life, and White Christmas
Christmas wreaths, mistletoe, deck the halls and jingle bells
City sidewalks, pretty paper and chestnuts on an open fire
Hippopotamuses, two front teeth and a Red Ryder air rifle

So hark the herald angels sing tidings of comfort and joy
‘Tis the season for a thrill of hope
and a Mother, a manger and a Child

May all of you have a very merry Christmas.

The flower seller

The old lady sat by the flowers. She knitted while she waited for the passers-by to stop and buy some flowers. Through the years, she had managed to knit a whole wardrobe. It was her way not to become impatient. To trust that the customers would come. And they did. While she knitted and waited, she prayed for each of the passers-by. “God is good,” she told the troubled souls who came her way. And she believed it. She believed that each of her prayers was a seed.

One sunny spring afternoon, she sat in her usual place. She had just put away her lunch of a baguette, some cheese and a glass of red wine, then she went back to her knitting. This one was a blanket for her great-grandbaby. Michel was six months old with the most beautiful of smiles. Every time she looked at him, he smiled. His smile seemed to fill not just the room but the whole world. How could anyone be sad after seeing a smile like that?

A woman in her early forties, tall, long black hair, approached her. “Margarette?” she said.

Margarette looked up at the woman. She remembered the woman. She never forgot a face. Twenty years ago, the woman stopped and shared her story. She had no one else to share with, she said. She had been abandoned by her lover. He had brought her all the way from the United States to France and left her for another woman. She was afraid to contact her family. They would reject her and she would soon be on the street, a foreigner. Margarette took her hands, held them, and prayed for the woman.

“Margarette,” the woman said as she kneeled before the old woman. “You saved my life. You won’t believe what happened after I left.”