Saturday, December 12, 2009
Clanging in the Season
I woke up bright and early this morning to root my oldest brother on in the White Rock Half Marathon. My parents and I met up with my cousin, Charlie and Aunt Leslie at about the 5 mile marker. Although I was sleepy and groggy I did manage to muster up plenty of enthusiasm for those scampering by. I hollered the few names I could make out from their bibs and I made up some names of my own. I whooped and "way to go"-ed. While most of the other onlookers cheered and clapped for the runners, my dad thought it would be a good idea to bring a bell. I understood this, that way you don't grow hoarse from all the screaming and it makes plenty of noise, so the runners know you are cheering them on. A cowbell would have been the perfect instrument. Or not. Instead, my dad picked up the only bell he could find: a Norman Rockwell glass Christmas bell. It looked to me like some sort of antique passed from generation to generation, like something we should have kept in a vault of some sort (or maybe just thrown away with last years mince meat pie). It didn't clag or clatter consistently, but it did manage to ding and dong every four or so flicks of the wrist. That way, as a runner you had about a 25% chance of being cheered on. For the first hundred or so runners that went by I thought the bell was a real hit. I was loving it! It was just the thing to get someone in the Christmas (or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa) spirit. This didn't last long. Once the second and third hundred started coming through, the clanging seemed to be getting higher and higher in pitch. It was becoming increasingly irritating. I started feeling myself tense up, first in my neck and then my clapping hands began to form two tight fists. As my knuckles were turning white, I noticed Charlie was beginning to voice his opinions on the bell, too. I was about ready to take the Christmas bell and stomp on it until Norman Rockwell's little kissing characters were shattered into pieces. Luckily, by this time my brother had already passed us. We were ready to leave our little cheer perch and make our way to the finish line. On the way to the car my dad continued to ring the bell. I asked him to nicely "can it" with the bell. I didn't want to be a Scrooge, but com'on, we (the family, the onlookers, the runners) had all had more than enough. If it's true that every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings, then please do not be alarmed if you see an angel this Christmas season that looks to have some sort of angelic gene mutation with say, four sets of wings.