Sunday, December 30, 2007

how the krueger saved christmas

for a few different reasons, the christmas season just wasn't that holly jolly for me this year. i tried to merry up the days, but nothing seemed to work. christmas music (even sufjan stevens) didn't have the magic it used to. tv specials and holiday movies did not entice me. hot chocolate. forget it. gift shopping wasn't the joy it usually was. and christmas lights were only amusing when i got to point out how pathetic some house displays were with their single strands across a garage or window.

bah humbug indeed.

then came the night before the night before christmas. i joined up with a handful of friends to watch a couple south park christmas specials as well as the mormon christmas classic, mr. krueger's christmas, starring jimmy stewart. for those of you who haven't seen it, this 1980 production tells the story of willy krueger, an elderly widower who lives in the basement of an apartment complex with his cat george. the first 2/3 of the movie basically consists of willy krueger going off into day-dream land where he rides sleighs, thinks he's nobility, conducts the mormon tabernacle choir, and other things that crazy old men day dream of.

i haven't seen this movie for several years and the first two-thirds had me wondering, what the hell is this movie?

but then the last third suddenly changed everything. while adjusting his small end-table nativity scene, willy's day dreaming takes him to bethlehem where he finds himself in a stable approaching the baby jesus in his manger.

Hello there... I-I-I-I... Oh dear... Oh... Oh, you're-you're... I'm Willy Krueger and I'm custodian over at the Beck Apartments, but, but you know that, don't you. You know that. I guess nobody here can see me or hear me except you. I didn't bring a gift, I, but I, I guess that's not important. Thank you for everything you've done for me. As long as I can remember you've been right by my side. I'll never forget when you walked with me right in those first few hours after I lost Martha. I-I've always been able to count on you, when I felt dark inside and when I... You were right there, right, every time, right there. Even when I didn't feel good about myself, I knew that you cared for me enough, and that, that made me feel better. Like that time I got mad with Mabel Huntington because she broke her pipes on purpose just so she could have somebody to see while I came up and fixed them for her. Boy, I hollered at her, boy I hollered real loud. But then, then I got to thinking - you loved Mabel just as much as you loved me and I should treat her the way you want me to. I believe I talked to you about that at the time. Well, I started visiting her and we became friends. I saw her almost every day until the day she died. I love you. You're my closest, my finest friend. And that means that I can hold my head high, wherever I go. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
while this scene had a sudden and profound effect on me, it was what happens next that really hit me. a young girl who is accompanying a group of carolers invites willy to join their group. while he initially plays it off, it's clear that this was what willy wanted and needed more than anything that christmas - someone to befriend and love him. afterall, isn't that what anyone really wants?

krueger saved my christmas that night. i realized that i had something to offer this christmas... well not necessarily for christmas... but i had something to offer. like willy, there are plenty of people who need someone. people who are struggling and need support, friendship, help, and love. however, i don't want to help old people. you see... old people scare me. not only do they go all willy and day dream all the time, they have stuff growing on them, say weird things, get mad for no reason, smell funny, have memory trouble, call me names of former lovers, wear diapers, and a plethora of other things that i just don't handle well. rather, i really want to do something i've been planning on doing, but haven't gotten around to.. mentoring a child. a few months ago i had the paper work all ready to go, but a sudden car accident ruined everything. now, however, i've got the car, time, and means to do it. all i lack are excuses.

so that is how the krueger saved christmas. he helped me realize that i do have a christmas gift to offer this season. now i just need to make sure that i follow through with it.

"I love you." That's what Christmas is all about... Clarissa said it to Mr. Krueger; Mr. Krueger said it to Jesus; and Jesus in so many ways said it to all of us.

i was trying to find a youtube clip of good ol' willy krueger, but this was the best i could find. enjoy.

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