Nov 23 2016

It’s A Wonderful Life

All of us at the Goodfriends Veterinary Clinic would like to take this opportunity to extend to all of our wonderful clients and gentle furry friends our warmest wishes for a joyous holiday and a prosperous and happy new year.

Yes it is a wonderful life.

Every year at this time I get a kick out of my two college age daughters. They always make time to sit with their Dad and watch “It’s A Wonderful Life”. I introduced them to it when they were little. They used to role their eyes and whine, “Ahh, Dad…do we have to? Again?” But now…after endlessly watching scene after scene, many that we know by heart, they’ve come to share my love of this timeless story.

Growing up, I would often remind them of how the simplest event…or the most innocent encounter with another person might end up having a profound impact on their lives. The life of George Bailey could be a metaphor for all of us. Whether it was the seemingly accidental notice of the prescription wrongfully filled by the druggist Mr. Gower or the jumping into the pond to help his little brother who fell through the ice….who would have known what those few seconds of one’s life would end up meaning to countless others many years later.

If you watch it again, I recommend paying close attention to Jimmy Stewart’s character, George Bailey, as his friends and neighbors pour into his living room on Christmas Eve. Specifically, the look on his face when his little brother, Harry, who was awarded a war hero’s medal, enters the room. The definition of great acting is being able to convey an emotion and give meaning to a scene without saying a word. To me, that wordless few seconds; the look on Jimmy Stewart’s face, defines the greatness of that movie.

"To my big brother, George. The richest man in town"

“To my big brother, George. The richest man in town”

 

Another holiday favorite is actually an animated Christmas film. “The Polar Express”.

Polar Express street scene

I love it for several reasons but mainly because it reminds me so much of my childhood growing up in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Chris Van Allsburg, the author of the children’s book upon which the movie is based was also born and raised in Grand Rapids. His book and the movie are riddled with quaint references to our shared hometown. Many street scenes are accurate depictions of neighborhoods where I grew up.

There’s a brief moment when the train passes a store front all decorated with Christmas scenes and the kids flock to the window to see. The store was called Herpolscheimers. It was a real store in Grand Rapids and it was the go to place for families to take in the holiday season and for kids to visit Santa Claus. I went there countless times.

Herpelsheimers

The most poignant moment of the film is at the very end when the little boy shakes the sleigh bell and he is the only member of his family that still hears it jingle; signifying that he is the one who still believes in the true meaning of Christmas.

JingleBell

Every Christmas morning with my family I ring our sleigh bell to remind us all what the season really means.

Happy Holidays to all.

 

 

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