Saturday, December 09, 2006

The one Christmas show I can't watch.

When I was a little girl, I saw a Rankin-Bass production called Nestor the Long-Eared Donkey. It's the story of a poor picked-on donkey who is ridiculed by the others for his excessively long ears, but who eventually becomes the hero, by taking Mary & Joseph to Bethlehem.

I think I was about 6 or 7 the first time I saw it. Oh my sweet Lord, I bawled like a baby. I was a very sensitive child, and I just couldn't stand to see someone being picked on for something they couldn't help -- like Nestor and his ears. Well, that just did it for me. I never saw it on TV again. I don't know if it was merely that our stations didn't carry it or if it went back into the R-B vaults.

Fast forward to somewhere around 1996. I saw it offered on VHS in a catalog at church/work. I told my coworker about not being able to watch it, and we laughed a little about it. Then in 2002 (I think), I was flipping channels and got to ABC Family. The next show on tap was "Nestor" ..... oh my. I really so wanted to see it, but I wondered if it was just my childhood tender heart that had caused me to cry my eyes out over Nestor. Surely now that I was an adult, I could handle it.

They got me again. I cried over Nestor -- not as much as I had that first time, but I needed a tissue. My brother laughed at me; I didn't care. Nestor's story broke my heart all over again. Sure, he was the hero at the end. But he went through some serious crap along the way, all because he was different.

Guess a tender heart doesn't easily go away, does it?

I can watch Christmas Vacation and laugh my butt off. I can watch A Christmas Story and die laughing (especially during the "fa-ra-ra" scene, among others). But put Nestor on and I become a puddle of tears.

1 comment:

Talmadge G. said...

I'm a proud survivor of some dark days of my own due to being "different", despite a lot of that period of my life casting long shadows to the present day. When I see characters in movies or TV shows that endure similar treatment, I always get uncomfortable, my skin starts crawling inside, the toxic-waste memories surface, and I want to leave the room.

Yet, I don't understand how enduring rejection and ridicule hardly fazes me when I see it on the Big Mama of all holiday specials, Rudolph, but when I saw it on Nestor, it bothers me to no end.

There's a big canyon between getting teased for one reason or another, and it being a constant thing. Despite what some people say, who themselves have never faced the business end, it does leave a footprint taking years to ebb, if at all.

Every time I think "Rankin/Bass", the first thing that pops into my mind, of course, is Frosty the Snowman.

But it just isn't the same without A) The Grinch coming on before it (as it always did when I was growing up), and B) one of the two brief pieces of audio/visual candy I most associate with Christmas: the RANKIN/BASS closing logo, with the "*plong* BOMMMMM-*BOMP!!!*" end. (The other, of course, is the old "CBS Special Presentation" logo from 1974-91).


PS - my verification is "duzjnhg"; is that Hungarian for what Lisa Douglas calls Ah-Lee-Vah?