December 22, 2011
A solitary leather work shoe, retrieved from a harbor snow bank and tacked up as a lost item on a Main Street bulletin board a few weeks ago, seemed an appropriate emblem for our winter so far. In our weather, a person could overlook losing their shoe.
We didn’t get around to lighting Fort Seward, which was probably just as well. For the holiday, Dave Pahl’s big hammer is lit up in red, our star of Bethlehem, shining down on Main Street.
A national columnist wrote a few years ago that networks should stop their annual broadcast of "It’s a Wonderful Life," the feel-good Christmas fable, because Bedford Falls is gone. George Bailey lost the battle to Mr. Potter, the argument goes, as evidenced by the ascent of legalized gambling in our country, public acceptance of vice, and the growing dominance of the rich.
It’s a good argument, if only our world could be reduced to a Capra film. Real life is a more nuanced equation, and, in the end, what meaning we draw from the holiday is our own choice. For my money, it’s about showing some faith in your neighbor, like tacking up lost shoes.
We’re off for a long winter’s nap. We’ll be back with a new paper Jan. 5. Peace on earth, good will to all.