Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.
It’s kinda neat to think that as we visit this late afternoon here in the EastWing, winter came by. Actually the start of winter was at 5:03 PM, EastWing Time. Guess I better say something about the Winter Solstice else my star gazing friends will get all over my case.
However, they do get on my case often for not saying enough about stargazing when we all visit in the EastWing. Then when I do say something, they’re on my case because, I don’t use scientific or astrological terminology in describing what ever I’m talking about. Don’t do that for good reasons. It’s not that I don’t know the words, I just don’t like to have to explain what some of those big puppies mean. Now I don’t know about you, but for me, I hate when I read something and don’t understand it’s meaning. I try to avoid that as much as possible.
In the Northern Hemisphere, the winter solstice days are the ones with the fewest hours of sunlight in the whole year. The reason for such short sunlight is the angle of the tilt of the earth. On this day, we’re tilting 23.5° It’s like we’re leaning away from the sun. As a result we get less heat and less light. But not to worry, in six months we go the other way, then here comes summer, oh happy days of summer.
Just today I was asked how long does the winter solstice last. Sounds like a simple question with a simple answer. As much as I’d like to say simple answer, it’s important to look at where we are in this grand scheme things when it comes to the winter solstice.
Along with orbiting around the sun at 66,600 mph, the Earth is also rotating at its axis at about 1,070 miles per hour. So we are at the same time hurtling around the sun at 66,600 mph while sitting on a rock that is spinning at 1,070 mph. On top of that, our whole solar system is rocketing through space around the center of the Milky Way at around 559,234 mph. On top of that, our galaxy is hurtling through space at around 671,080 mph, with respect to our local group of galaxies. On top of that, for all we know, our entire Universe is hurtling through some unknown medium at some other ridiculous speed.
Now with that being said, imagine if you will, you see a marker in front of you much the same as if you are driving on the interstate. The marker you see is the Winter Solstice. You pass the marker at full speed. Now imagine the same story but use the speeds in the above paragraph, and you’re coming at the marker in time. The winter solstice passes quick. A vapor in time.
This is the True Story of Rudolph.
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.
Before we visit again in the EastWing, Christmas will have come and gone. Unlike the winter solstice Christmas stays all day and night. It is my prayer that all friends of the EastWing will pause in quite thanksgiving for the reason we celebrate. Christ The King.
Stay safe in Afghanistan.
From The EastWing, A Winter Solstice, The Speed We Go, Rudolph Retold Again
I Wish You Well, And Merry Christmas from
PS: Oh I almost forgot, now don’t anyone get crazy and send me emails saying I should not be saying MERRY CHRISTMAS. That’s a bunch of crap. I don’t have a single Jewish Friend who is offended by MERRY CHRISTMAS, and yes I do have many Jewish Friends. The only ones who could be offended are those who truly miss the message, so once again MERRY CHRISTMAS !