Monday, December 09, 2013

Reader's Diary #1089- Pearl S. Buck: Christmas Day in the Morning

Alas, there's nothing in this story about seeing three ships come sailing in. I so hoped to have that song explained. (Not really, I just looked it up.)

"Christmas Day in the Morning" by Pearl S. Buck is a bit on the saccharine side. Not Christmas Shoes saccharine (oh my, I just listened to Patton Oswalt's take-down), but certainly a baby in a manger away from the Kinks' Father Christmas.

It's interesting, this whole "fathers expressing love" thing. When I tell my kids that I love them, I might get a "I love you, too," or I might get a, "yeah, I know, you tell me that everyday" and in all honesty, both replies make me smile. Is it excessive? Will they someday need to hear it more and doubt my sincerity? Nah, I doubt that. Do I judge fathers of a certain my father's generation for being skimpy on the old love talk? Not really, I suppose (though it's taken 14 years of hard counseling and one screenplay that no one wants to read). People express themselves differently and that's what this story is about.

And it's on Christmas, too, which makes sense. Speaking of expressing things differently, this Christmas I'm sure to get a Christmas card from some aunt or some friend of my parents that I've barely spoken to in 15 years, simply because it's Christmas and because of some weird tradition that sees them picking up a crate of bulk cards with generic Christmas greetings on them. They'll sign their names, and like a mini-Christmas miracle, I'll cross their thoughts again. They'll search for my address, say "I wonder how he's doing," lick the envelope, and I'll be forgotten about until next year this time. Later, I'll get it in the mail, say "I wonder how they're doing" and "I hope they're not too offended that I don't do the Christmas card thing." I'll think it's lovely, chuck it in the garbage, and think of them again next year this time.

Where was I? Oh yeah, "Christmas Day in the Morning." It's about expressions of love. And cows.


Nan said...

My blogging friend Robin just wrote about this!
I seem to be able to hold all the different books and music about Christmas in my heart at the same time. But I am really fond of the Kinks song. :<)

John Mutford said...

Nan: Thanks for the link! It would change the perspective of this story for me a lot, thinking of reading it to a child as your friend did.

I like the Kinks song, too! Sometimes, I likes me some anti-sentiment! But like you, I can also hold the cheesy, touchy-feely ones in my heart.

Anonymous said...

A *BIT* on the saccharine side?! Yeah, just a bit... Feeling disenchanted with Pearl S. Buck right now, having just read one of her lesser novels, Letter from Peking, and finding it irritating in the nth degree. The woman could really write, but scattered throughout her oeuvre are these dreadfully sentimental messes.

Well, must take it as it was obviously intended, all heart-warming etcetera! ;-)