Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Holidays and Happy Days

I suppose I was about four years old. Christmas loomed large; our small home sparkled with multi-colored lights, my mother spent hours whipping up all sorts of holiday treats, and I learned a great lesson about the true meaning of the season. I didn’t learn it from my family or in Sunday school. I learned it from the coolest cat around in the mid-1970’s: The Fonz.

In the early episodes of Happy Days, Arthur Fonzarelli had yet to ingratiate himself into the Cunningham household. He was merely a hoodlum mechanic who spent a little time with Ritchie and the gang. One Christmas, though, he found himself alone. He gave the guys some story about visiting relatives in another town. Everyone bought it except Ritchie and me. I knew Fonzie was to be alone, and it made me sad…very, very sad. I remember fighting back tears, my young heart aching for Mr. C to invite the Fonz to their home for Christmas.

Finally, Mr. C and Ritchie went to Fonzie’s place and confronted him (this was before the Fonz moved into the Cunningham’s garage apartment). They tried every trick to get Fonzie to join them. “We’ve got a great big tree!” Ritchie proclaimed. “I got a tree,” Fonzie replied. The camera cuts to a small, sad-looking table-top tree. I cut to the bathroom, where I had a good cry.

I finally got control of myself and was able to catch the last five minutes or so of the episode – a happy ending, of course. The Fonz spent Christmas with the Cunningham family, and I realized that Christmas wasn’t all about the glitzy lights, the presents, and Santa Claus. It was about reaching out to those who needed it, and offering the best present of all – our time. The best part about it, of course, is that it need not only apply during the holidays.

Happy days, indeed, are the result.

Beth Newman
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best!

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