I love the Doctor Who Christmas specials. In fact, those episodes tipped the scales when I was deciding whether to invest my time in a program that’s about to be 50-years-old. But there was simply no way I could shun a program that devotes an hour every December at Christmastime. I don’t review Doctor Who episodes on my blog; there are plenty of other resources for that on the Internet. But, for whatever it is worth, my favorite Christmas Special is “The Next Doctor”, which aired in December 2008. It’s not the most popular of the specials, but it resonates with me. My favorite Doctor Who episodes are the ones where The Doctor and his Companion stay right here on little ol’ Earth, traveling back to some romantic era of our own past. And while I’ve never been a fan of the Cybermen, the character of Miss Mercy Hartigan has to be one of the best villains the show has come up with. She is such a … femme fatale. You can’t help but to love her and hate her.
Ah, Christmas. The snow, the icicles, the reindeer. The gifts!
The Christmas holiday creates its own form of time travel for me. It takes me back to my childhood days on “The Mountain” here in Huntsville. If you’ve been there you know what I mean. We lived in a Federal-style, red-brick house with huge, multi-paned picture windows adorning the front. Mom and Dad and my brother would get a real tree with real sap, decorate it right after Thanksgiving with colored lights (I prefer white lights now, but I was only a preschooler then), and position it so the folks at the Methodist Church at the end of the block could enjoy it. And enjoy it they did. We’d have people dropping by at all hours, wrapped in coats and scarves, bringing us finger foods, homemade breads and (no kidding) fruit cakes.
And while this was during the turbulent late 60s there was an Eisenhower-esque 1950s’ feel to our culture up there then. I know we were sheltered and naÏve, but isn’t that what home is for? Life is a complex and painful dance set to music that is often off-key. Sometimes your feet ache simply from dancing too much. I look back on those days in wonder: Is there anything wrong with having a comfort zone? I don’t think there is.
Did the child that I was then — sitting under the tree, chin propped on his hands, eyes bright and glistening from the glow of the Christmas globe hanging from the lowest branch of that stately pine — know there was a TV program in the UK about a time-traveling lunatic who’d still be entertaining us half-a-century later? Of course not. That little boy didn’t think he’d even make it till Christmas Eve without bursting. It was perfect. It was ideal. But did it last? Actually, it did. Christmastime at the Parkers’ was idyllic, restful and fun, just as a holiday should be. Christmas has never lost an ounce of its charm, even now, as my beard goes a little gray and I look at life through a jaded prism, because the light through that prism, no matter how attenuated, still glows red and green. At least it does for me.
Until next time,
Peace, from Keith
Copyright © 2013, Keith Parker