Saturday, December 24, 2011

An Awful Hole

Every Christmas Eve I go see "It's a Wonderful Life" at the Byrd Theater.

Which means that every year I wait in line to see a movie I know practically by heart in a sold-out theater.

It always starts with a singalong of Christmas songs to the organist's accompaniment, including a fabulous Power Point presentation that dates back to the '90s and provides the lyrics for easy reference.

New this year was a "canine chorus" to one song, created by the organist blending chords or something like that (or so I was told by a nearby music geek) to get the barking sound.

Also this year was a new high in the level of obnoxious attendees.

Moments after the film started, just as we were seeing the first of downtown Bedford Falls, a guy in the back row answered his phone.

"Oh, hey," he said loudly enough for me to hear rows away. "Yea, I'm at the Byrd watching a movie..."

The sheer nerve of it was startling. When he continued, several of us proceeded to shush him until he hung up.

Further along in the movie, he talked some more. Loudly and inappropriately, he acted like he was watching a movie in his man cave and could say whatever he wanted.

And then for something truly new and different on Christmas Eve at the Byrd, management came in and asked him to leave (he declined), tackled him and removed him.

The movie continued uninterrupted until the girl behind me got bored and started giving time updates to her mother every five minutes, as if that was going to make the movie end sooner.

Sometimes she talked to the screen. "Are you kidding?" she asked disgustedly at one point to something Jimmy Stewart said.

But that's okay. During the singalong to "White Christmas," I had been struck by an emotional feeling of shared holidays with strangers.

And this is a film that can bring a tear to the eye of strong men; as a friend and I discussed the other night, both of us have seen it happen to unlikely guys.

And if any movie can make you appreciate your own life, this is the one.

"Strange isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?"

Mine may not be perfect, but I'm absolutely certain I'd leave a hole.

1 comment:

  1. Only the size of a black hole!! Have a wonderful Christmas. I miss you lots. Maybe 2012 will be the year of great things for both of us. I am not giving up, don't you either! Love you