You probably don’t remember me. We met briefly back in 1982, when I was supposed to be asleep. I caught you in my living room eating cookies and “organizing” my father’s cabinet of Scotch. We sat on the couch and had a nice chat. You explained that the holiday season was about giving and sharing. We shared the last cookie, and you asked if our little talk helped me to understand the true meaning of Christmas.
I lied and said yes. Then I asked if you’d brought me a Colecovision videogame system. I hope you’ve forgiven me for my pre-teen dishonesty, because I need your help.
I’m working on a wish list for Richmond, and I’m stumped. We have plenty of upscale shopping malls and grocery stores. We have taco trucks, cupcake trucks and restaurants that serve bacon as a dessert topping. You’ve brought us a professional football team (two weeks a year is a start), a riveting gubernatorial scandal, the Foo Fighters and enough new breweries to keep us (almost) as drunk as Philadelphia. Heck, I was going to ask for some new bikes, but apparently we’re also getting a bunch of those next year. We’re doing pretty well. So what do you get for the city that has everything?
Thankfully, after three Tim Allen movies and that one song about Christmas shoes, I finally understand the true meaning of the season. The holidays are about helping those who need help. And the people of Richmond need help appreciating everything that we already have.
Instead of gifting us stuff like a new Fortune 500 company, I’d like you to adjust the psychological thermostat of every man, woman and child in the city and the surrounding counties— just a slight tweak upward in the areas of gratitude and appreciation. But I don’t want anyone to know that these sudden feelings of satisfaction come from you. You see, Richmond isn’t big on accepting help from outsiders. Nothing personal, but there are lots of folks who simply have a hard time trusting old white guys from the North. It probably also doesn’t help that you look like an over-inflated Robert E. Lee.
I want people to wake up on Christmas morning and see all of Central Virginia with a fresh pair of eyes. I want them to stop comparing us to other places that aren’t us. I want everyone to wake up like George Bailey, bounding through the streets, kissing strangers and hugging trees.
Yes, it sounds corny. But I figured you would understand. Maybe I’m off-base thinking you can put a couple million people into a semi-permanent, delusional state. But I figure if Tim Allen and Robert E. Lee can do it, so can you.