Letters to Tom — Sappy Movies

Dear Tom:

You know that I am a sucker for “sappy movies.” I am worse when it comes to tearjerker Christmas special movies. Hallmark has my number. Well, I was watching one the other night (Suzy leaves the room and reads a book) whose theme was trying to create the perfect Christmas. We all have special memories of Christmas and that one special Christmas moment branded into our brain. Each character in the show was trying to recreate their own moment and was failing. Then of course they all realized they had forgotten the “true meaning” of Christmas, and a miracle occurs to bring the happy ending. The ending, regardless of the smaltz, opens my tear ducts.

The next day, as I thought about the movie, I thought about how each of us sees things within our own frame of reference. What was one character’s perfect Christmas moment, had little or no meaning to another character. There was no common point of view, each person could only express Christmas in their own terms. While many of us think of Christmas as the least selfish of days, it is also can exemplify the opposite. I guess this should come as no surprise to me

I remember the prison inmate who wanted no celebration of Christmas in prison, no decorations, no special privileges, and no special Christmas dinner. Christmas was just one more day to mark off an individual calendar attached to a wall in his cell. Christmas brought him only memories of what once was and would not occur again. He could not recreate a special moment from his childhood. Like the characters in my movie, he needed a miracle to bring a happy ending. He needed hope.

And yet, dear friend, I love the day and season. I relish in my traditions — family, fruit cookies, lighted trees, presents, music, parties, etc. I love them all. . Each year for me a new memory is created, not an old one recreated. However, I believe there is always an unopened package under the tree. Something so special for everyone, that it will bring tears of joy to us all. I haven’t been able to open it yet. It remains a mystery as to its contents, and yet it sits there quietly just waiting to be opened. Maybe the key to its opening is for me to see the wrapping with a new frame of reference, a new look; a new frame of reference including hope, a whole lot of faith, and maybe a small miracle.

Your friend, Webb

About the author

Webb Hubbell, former Associate Attorney General of The United States, is an author and speaker. His novels, When Men Betray, Ginger Snaps, A Game of Inches, The Eighteenth Green, and The East End are published by Beaufort Books and are available online or at your local bookstore. When Men Betray won one of the IndieFab awards for best novel in 2014. Ginger Snaps and The Eighteenth Green won the IPPY Awards Gold Medal for best suspense/thriller.

1 Comment +

  1. Loved this post. Traditions really connect us to our roots, don’t they? And it is so refreshing to hear another man admit to tearing up at movies (and other events) that pull on our emotions. I actually sob every time we see Les Miserables on the stage. And “sappy” movies or TV shows do the same (case in point: Most Extreme Home Makeover episodes grab me!). I used to be embarrassed by the tears, but now am coming to understand they perhaps reflect a deeper sense of compassion in me. And I know we need more compassion on our planet!

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