Wednesday, December 30, 2009

holy roller

This picture brings back some memories. Dad had built that little pulpit and lectern.  He left it at Camp Bethlehem after he built a more portable, light weight folding pulpit that he could carry along with him for all his speaking engagements.  Dad also had this little briefcase PA (public address system) in which he'd plug his lavalier microphone.

As a lay-minister, he spoke at a lot of little churches in surrounding counties. I was asked to go with him to help set up his gear as well as push him around.  I remember being able to get his pulpit, wheelchair, and speaker in the back of the old Subaru station wagon.

Mom once mentioned to me that she believed dad would have enjoyed being a holiness preacher/evangelist rather than being an attorney.  Heck, all his close friends were not lawyers, but rather preachers and evangelist.  Much of dad's spare time was in study - prepping a lesson for a preaching date or a regular Bible study.

I spent countless Sunday mornings driving to and from little country churches as his right hand man.   Dad had lots of talks/sermons on file that he could go speak at the drop of a hat.  Dad was quite literally the preacher on wheels - ready to roll when ever a preacher  needed off.

Yep, lots of memories flood back via this old photo.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

a little under the merry weather

I fell down a flight of steps the week before Thanksgiving. I'm pretty sure I broke my tailbone. It took two and a half weeks to get over the pain. Last week while working on the house I started feeling a pain in my mid to low back. I spent most of the past five days on my back.

Monday morning I went in to see the chiropractor. I got some relief but was still hurting throughout the day. I went back to the back doctor and she worked me over like a Waring Blender - Lord have mercy on me Ohhhhh!

I have progressively begun to feel better throughout today. I've been able to do a handful of chores here at the office today. My chiropractor told me to take it easy for the next few days. I still have work (as in 'lifting stuff') to do before Christmas Eve. The doctor gave me permission to 'milk' it for a couple more days.

The house is still a mess.

Tonight Gina and the girls are going to try to finish the cleaning and arranging that I started last week. There's some lifting that I wish that I could perform. I think I can figure the basement arrangement out with some minor shifting and less moving furniture out. We'll see. Kind of helpless at the moment.

I feel almost as if the holiday seasons have worn me out too soon.  Oh my!

Mother and Irene came over this weekend to treat the girls to an early Christmas present. They took some time to lay hands on me and pray over my back. I felt my little one's hands on me as well.

It's great that both Katie and Kelsey jump into prayer mode too. I believe they are going to be spiritual warriors in years to come. I desire for my children to have let the supernatural become a natural way for them both. I want them to be walking in faith, long before they set out on their own.

little santa

she stands a little over two feet
and a little over two years
katie looked up
in her childish awe
at the great looming twinkling tree
i sat at it’s base with her
looking at her
as she looked up
as if it were some kind of national monument
that had miraculously appeared
in our very home sometime during the night
she spotted little santas
mickey mouse
teddy bears
and she lit up
like a little tree herself
and giggling
as she stood there
oh my
oh look
what’s that?

this Christmas
promises many memories
for her
and mommy
and myself
tomorrow she will sit on santa’s lap
and tell him what she wants
she will ride on the carousel
and hold my hand
or run ahead
to see the lights burning
every where
every moment is Christmas
as I drive the van homeward at night
i hear her in the back
as she spots every light
on every house
that passes in the night
we’ll drive home slowly
and watch her
as she watches
the celebration
the brilliance
of Christmas time

she wants a red wagon
filled with grape lollipops
and sweet tarts
she wants to see lights
and more lights
and lights and laugh with glee

she brings Christmas to us anew
live it again
with her
as she experiences it
through her eyes
her gift
to us

David B. Finlayson
December 15, 1998

Monday, December 21, 2009

into the night sky

into the night sky
countless children gaze
in hope of a quick glimpse
a sudden glimmer
a silhouette
of an ancient ageless one
who comes from storybook pages
through the frosted panes
little eyes see
only the sea of deep space
of countless stars peering back
they then reason that
the old man must know
so they scurry
and scamper up
into their beds
to bury themselves beneath
warm patched quilts
sewn from old clothes
of children once
who also dreamed and hoped before
little ones
who looked for the impossible
and believed in flying sleighs
and hoof prints on rooftops
and a jolly old saint
who could slip down countless chimneys
in a single night
those were the days
and are now
as i marvel at my own little one
gazing into the vast night sky
or into colorful lights
and witness her burn just as bright
as i once did
so let it be
feed the merry flame
and beg a kiss beneath mistletoe
and know
that the boy is still somewhere
inside here
resurrected once a year
by memories stirred
and yet willing
for new memories to be made
and kept
right here
i am willing
i have my little window
in which I clearly see
she will sleep
and in the late moments of the eve
there will be movement
around the fireplace
faint noises in the living room
a moment of hushed magic and joy
as love is delivered
in the form of a toy

David B. Finlayson
December 14, 1999

Friday, December 18, 2009


Max Fleischer is one of my favorite animators. At the top of my list are the old Superman cartoons. The 1990's Batman cartoons were stylized after Fleischer's old Superman cartoons. He was also responsible for bring Betty Boop, KoKo the Clown (Out of the Inkwell) and Popeye to life.

Walt Disney has been mistakenly sited for binging synchronized sound to animation with Steamboat Willie. Not so - the credit goes to none other then Max Fleischer. Fleischer is one of the great pioneers of animation.

This Rudolf The Red Nosed Reindeer cartoon was produced after the war, and sponsored by Montgomery Ward. The last time I saw this cartoon was on the silver screen at The Alabama Theater in Birmingham. It was played just prior to It's A Wonderful Life. Good stuff.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ghosts of Christmas' past

This picture of our Christmas tree was taken in our living room at 2624 Scenic Hwy during the Christmas of 1986. The house had a beautiful bay window that overlooked Scenic.  We usually trimmed large trees, but they seemed even larger when peering in from outside.  The bay windows seemed to magnify the size of our Christmas trees.

Ours was a big family to begin with.  We quickly gathered even more family as siblings married and started begetting more loved ones.  Our family is still busy getting bigger.  I guess we will soon have to declare ourselves a nation.  I remember when we were only eight.

I can remember pretty far back - all the children lined up down the hallway behind dad's wheelchair - as if he himself were the great Polar Express.  We'd line up from oldest to youngest and push forward into the living room where Santa had visited.  It was always so nice of him to spread out the gifts around in specific areas of the room where the each child knew was his or her spot. Christmas sure is a busy time for Santa, odd that he would take all the time to spend arranging where each gift should go in a room.  I guess that magic dust he'd been snorting not only put him in an altered state of time,space, & dimension - but also made him very OCD.

Surely with all the gifts delivered via sled, that it must've taken poor old Santa several trips back and forth from the North Pole.  Then again, maybe he hitched a trailer onto a sled.  Do you think it possible to pull a trailer along with a flying sled?  It just pushes my imagination as to how it could happened.  Chalk it up to Christmas magic I suppose.

Christmas' come and go.  Each one a little different than the one before.  It's not very practical to believe that every year can be handled the same - something will change.  Today we all have to negotiate how our families can find time and a way to get together under a single roof.  No plan is perfect for all.  Even though our little nation grows, we are still family, still the same people gathering for a time to reconnect and celebrate the birth of our Lord.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

raw nerve

Rush Limbaugh was recently on William Shatner's 'Raw Nerve'. It's a pretty good interview. There was a lot more to the interview that Rush said that didn't make it on the show due to time constraints. I'd love to hear what didn't make it.

This is part one of a three part interview.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


'Scrooge' came out in 1970 and starred Albert Finney and Alec Guiness. This is a musical, and it's among my favorite interpretations of 'A Christmas Carol'. In this segment of the story, Scrooge gets wrapped in singing a song with the townspeople. He has no idea that they are thanking Scrooge for dying!

I have this on VHS with hope to find it on DVD sometime in the near future. A few weeks ago the family went to see the new Disney digital telling which is very impressive. The Disney movie scared Kelsey - she didn't like it. Gina showed Kelsey the Albert Finney version and she loved it.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Holiday Inn

Gina and I purchased 'Holiday Inn' (1942) at Walmart a few weeks ago. It's the first movie to have Irving Berlin's 'White Christmas' in it. The song went on to become one of the biggest selling songs in the history of music.

The movie 'White Christmas' was actually a remake of Holiday Inn. Though the movie White Christmas (1954) was in color, the first movie to be filmed in VistaVision, it isn't as fun and charming as Holiday Inn. Both movies though are well worth watching during the Christmas holidays.

We watched Holiday Inn last night. Kelsey needed to go to bed, but we let Katie stay up to see it. It was fun to see Katie reacting to this old classic. It was very enjoyable. By the way, the DVD we purchased has both the black and white as well as a newly colorized version in the case. There is also a CD with all the music from the film. The colorized version isn't the old Ted Turner colorized version - but employed a newer technique.

I will probably watch the color version while listening to the commentary. They've got some archived Bing comments in it that I am looking forward to hearing. I never really cared for colorization of black and white classics. Color had been around at that time - it was the choice of the director for the movie to be in black and white in the first place.

Yes, the name of the movie inspired naming the hotel chain.

I had the fire going all weekend long. It was a good little Christmas moment for me - watching this movie with Gina and Katie by the open fire. For some reason - Bing helps get me into the Christmas spirit.

Friday, December 4, 2009

my santa experience

Back in the early eighties I worked for a silk screen shop in Southside.  Rodco wasn't a very good experience for me.  The company was owned by two young quirky entrepreneurs. I was hired as a graphic designer for minimum wage to come up with t-shirt designs.  It was a bonafide sweat shop.

I remember a cold December morning when one of my bosses, Tim, came in holding a bag.  He plopped it on my art desk in front of me and said, "Put this on".  I looked up and him and then I peered in the bag. 
"I don't think so." I replied. 
Tim had a stern look on his face, "You will do it right now. We don't have much time!"
"What is this all about Tim?"
"Christy promised her students that Santa Claus would visit her classroom today and you're going to be Santa!"
Tim wasn't a very pleasant fellow to be around to begin with, and I certainly didn't feel like being bullied into playing Santa.
"Are you ordering me to be Santa because Christy has ordered YOU to be Santa?"
Tim was fuming. "I'm not taking 'no' for an answer David!  Get in the suit - we've got to go NOW!"
"Tim, you need to hurry up and get in the suit, because playing Santa isn't in my job description."
Darryl, my other boss, walked in about that time. "What's going on?"
Tim told Darryl about the great humanitarian deed he was making me do.  Darryl told Tim that he needed play Santa if I didn't want to.  I could tell that Tim wasn't expecting Darryl to tell him to go do his own dirty Santa work.

At that moment I decided to volunteer.  I told Tim that I didn't care to be bullied into it.  I didn't want to be Santa but I would do it.  I put on the cheap suit and sat in the passenger seat as Tim drove down the country road to Ragland Elementary.

When we got there, we walked down the halls together.  Kids peering out of windows as if they were convicts behind bars.  I could hear countless voices calling out my name.   I was immediately overwhelmed with children once I stepped into Christy's classroom.  Christy showed me to a chair and I got down to business.  I could tell by the clothes the children wore that the school mostly taught children of lower income families.  I remember the classroom had kind of a funky smell to it. 

Tim and Christy stood by the door as I put children up on my knee and listened to every wish and want.  There was a moment though that I will never forget.  A little girl crawled up on my lap.  I was about to ask her what she wanted for Christmas.  Her dirty little face looked up and she asked, "Santa, why did you not come to my house for Christmas last year?" 

Tears welled in my eyes and I had no response.  I just sat there and hugged her, not being able to say a word. I never played Santa again.  Santa writes checks that some parents can't cash.  Being a chubby and jovial kind of guy - I've been asked countless times to be Santa.  Hold a gun to my head and I'll just say No-No-No!