Posted by Stan Harrington

A man named Bob May, depressed and brokenhearted, stared out his drafty apartment window into the chilling December night.

His 4-year-old daughter Barbara sat on his lap quietly sobbing. Bob's wife, Evelyn, was dying of cancer Little Barbara couldn't understand why her mommy could never come home. Barbara looked up into her dad's eyes and asked, "Why isn't Mommy just like everybody else's Mommy?" Bob's jaw tightened and his eyes welled with tears. Her question brought waves of grief, but also of anger. It had been the story of Bob's life. Life always had to be different for Bob.

Small when he was a kid, Bob was often bullied by other boys. He was too little at the time to compete in sports. He was often called names he'd rather not remember. From childhood, Bob was different and never seemed to fit in. Bob did complete college, married his loving wife and was grateful to get his job as a copywriter at Montgomery Ward during the Great Depression. Then he was blessed with his little girl. But it was all short-lived. Evelyn's bout with cancer stripped them of all their savings and now Bob and his daughter were forced to live in a two-room apartment in the Chicago slums. Evelyn died just days before Christmas in 1938.

Bob struggled to give hope to his child, for whom he couldn't even afford to buy a Christmas gift. But if he couldn't buy a gift, he was determined to make one - a storybook! Bob had created an animal character in his own mind and told the animal's story to little Barbara to give her comfort and hope. Again and again Bob told the story, embellishing it more with each telling. Who was the character? What was the story all about? The story Bob May created was his own autobiography in fable form. The character he created was a misfit outcast like he was. The name of the character? A little reindeer named Rudolph, with a big shiny nose. Bob finished the book just in time to give it to his little girl on Christmas Day. But the story doesn't end there.

The general manager of Montgomery Ward caught wind of the little storybook and offered Bob May a nominal fee to purchase the rights to print the book. Wards went on to print,_ Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer_ and distribute it to children visiting Santa Claus in their stores. By 1946 Wards had printed and distributed more than six million copies of Rudolph. That same year, a major publisher wanted to purchase the rights from Wards to print an updated version of the book.

In an unprecedented gesture of kindness, the CEO of Wards returned all rights back to Bob May. The book became a best seller. Many toy and marketing deals followed and Bob May, now remarried with a growing family, became wealthy from the story he created to comfort his grieving daughter. But the story doesn't end there either.

Bob's brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, made a song adaptation to Rudolph. Though the song was turned down by such popular vocalists as Bing Crosby and Dinah Shore , it was recorded by the singing cowboy, Gene Autry. "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" was released in 1949 and became a phenomenal success, selling more records than any other Christmas song, with the exception of "White Christmas."

The gift of love that Bob May created for his daughter so long ago kept on returning back to bless him again and again. And Bob May learned the lesson, just like his dear friend Rudolph, that being different isn't so bad. In fact, being different can be a blessing.

Is It Really Christmas  

Posted by Stan Harrington

Ever wonder why the price of gasoline is so high?
This is a picture of a Christmas Tree at a glitzy hotel in the Muslim desert emirate of Abu Dhabi.
This particular tree is valued at $11,000,000 dollars. So you do not have to count zeros that is $11 Million dollars. The tree only cost $10,000 Dollars. The decorations was the expensive aspect of the Christmas Tree.
The 40 foot evergreen is located in the gold leaf rotunda of the hotel. The tree is decorated silver and gold bows, ball shaped ornaments, and small white lights. The necklaces, earrings, and other jewelry draped around the branches are what gives it a record value. It holds a total of 181 diamonds, pearls, emeralds, sapphires, and other precious stones.
If you are planning a visit Abu Dhabi in the near future and make reservations at the Emirates Palace, for a seven day stay, your cost is going to be only $1,000,000, however, that includes the butler, and chauffeur driven Maybach luxury car as well as a private jet available for trips to other countries in the region. Oh, I would love to visit Iran or Syria during my Christmas vacation.
If you run short of cash, they also have ATM's, but it is a vending machine that pays out in gold! To find another machine like that, you will need to take the private jet to Germany!
What caught my attention is that Abu Dhabi is predominantly a Muslim country, why are they celebrating CHRISTmas?
However, a spokesman for the hotel answered that question. Asked if the tree might offend religious sensibilities in the United Arab Emirates? His reply was "It's a very liberal country"!
Might want to stop and asked some of the woman that live in this area as to how liberated they feel!
However, that is O.K., my little Christmas tree that has had the same ornaments on it for many years, it reminds me each year of Christmas past. Maybe, I will leave it up and celebrate the Muslim Holy Days.

Reflecting Back  

Posted by Stan Harrington

The Christmas Season is always a great time to reflect on the years that have passed. Tonight, while cruising this site, I came across this picture first posted on November 23, 2006. The photo was taken on Thanksgiving Day, 2006. We celebrated Thanksgiving as a family above the video store this particular year. Although, only five years has elapsed, I stared at it in amazement as to the transformation of each of the "little ones". Some may consider me as being verbose, however, when I look at this picture and see the transformation, all I can say is, WOW!


I also came across this posting from December 23, 2006 which I have cut and pasted from the original posting on the blog site.

While on the subject of Christmas carols, recently a copy of a re-written carol was delivered to me, which I would like to share with you but the young artist wants to remain anonymous, as she is afraid that it may effect future Christmas gifts from grandma.

Grandma got run over by a reindeer,
While walkin' the Beach Road
You can say there's no such thing as Santa
But for me and Grandpa, WE BELIEVE!

She'd been drinkin' to much Zinfindel
And we begged her not to go,
But with her wine glass in hand,
She stumbled out the door and fell in the snow.

When the Park Ranger found her Christmas morn
She was layin' face down in the ditch,
There were tiny hoof prints on her back
and inciminatin' red paint marks on her slacks.

Chorus (Repeat)

We are all so proud of Grandpa
He's been takin' this so well
He is till watchin' football
Drinkin' rum and playing poker at the Inn.

It's not Christmas without Grandma,
All the family is dressed in black.
And we just help but wonder,
Should we open her gifts or will Grandpa want them back.

Chorus (Repeat)

Now the Turkey is on the table,
We are using Grandma's favorite china.
We will surely miss her,
But would someone pass the potatoes so we can eat.

Grandma got run over by a reindeer
While walkin' the Beach Road
You can say there's no such thing as Santa
But for me and Grandpa, WE BELIEVE.

"The Last Stand"  

Posted by Stan Harrington

On June 26, 1876 , Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer led two hundred mounted U.S. Cavalrymen and scouts of the Crow Tribe into the valley of the Little Bighorn. Splitting his formation, he mounted a charge against an encampment containing 1,800 Lakota Sioux and Northern Cheyenne warriors. The short lived battle that transpired would be called "Custer's Last Stand"
All members of the 7th U.S. Calvary would be killed in the valley or on the slopes of the surrounding hills during this engagement. There is one soldier that was never accounted for, his name was H.M. Harrington. Extensive searching by his family and the U.S. Army has never determined his status.
The picture of the above flag, known as a "guidon", with the distinctive swallow -tailed shape which is frayed, torn, and with possible blood stains is one of five that was carried by the 7th Calvary that day. It is the only flag that was recovered by the Army. Following the battle, those forces that were suppose to rendezvous with the main forces prior to the attack arrived and preformed the duties of the burial detail.
The above flag was found under the body of a soldier, according to the testimonials of the Indians involved in the fight, Corporal John Foley was attempting to escape on horseback, however, he shot himself in the head and his body covered the flag. All of the other flags were believed to be taken by the Indians.
Sergeant Ferdinand Culbertson recovered the flag and it became known as the "Culbertson Guidon" . Pieces of the flag, including one star was neatly cut from the flag, it is believed that different members of the burial squad took pieces of the flags as "war souvenirs".
After being kept in storage for many years it was displayed in Montana.
The Detroit Institute of Arts purchased the "guidon" in 1895 for $54.00.
The "guidon" was sold "because it did not fit with the museums focus on art" on Friday, December 10, 2010. A private collector purchased the "Culbertson Guidon" for $2.2 Million Dollars.
If you have never visited the "Valley of the Little Bighorn" and the site of "Custer's Last Stand", I would strongly recommend it. The field of battle and where each soldier or Indian fell in combat are clearly marked with crosses. You can cover the entire area from the trail system. The static displays in the museum gives you a good sense of how and why the massacre occurred. It is another case of some great American History that is now overlooked in your educational system.