NORMAN — One of my favorite holiday traditions is reading the Bagby Christmas story first published in this newspaper in 1965. Normally I wait until Christmas Day to read the tale. This year, I had the pleasure of hunting it down in the Transcript archives and reading the story a whole week before the big day. One of the perks of the job.
The Bagby story is probably part of the foundation of this paper and I’ve even gone so far as to protect that story on a small hard drive, just in case it should go missing from our files. I was raised as a just in case child. I was told to always keep $20 in the freezer, you know, just in case. I was told to always have a can of tomato soup in the cabinet, just in case. And one year, for Christmas actually, my father gave his then single daughter a bag full of jumper cables, a can of fix a flat, the biggest bottle of antifreeze I think I’ve ever seen — all your standard just in case items for being stuck on the side of the road.
I’ve read the Bagby story so many times, that I could probably recite it without even looking at the words. Kind of like my senior year of high school when I was a drama geek. Lines had to be learned and blocking had to be remembered. I think I could re-enact the entire stage version of “Blithe Spirit,” if I had to.
One thing that got me this year while reading Bagby’s tale is if this story were to happen today, would anyone notice when a member of the “Cherub Choir, a boy of about 2, took a fancy to the doll representing the infant Jesus lying in the manger?” Would anyone notice that this small child “made a beeline for the crib and was diverted from his goal only by the action of an alert father?” Would we notice or would we be too busy on our smart devices texting a friend or loved one telling them how we were forced to go to yet another pageant?