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Welcome back, my friends, to the "Battle" that never ends.
We're so glad you could attend. Come inside! Come inside!
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This is 'BATTLE OF THE BANDS' ('BOTB') where you listen to different recordings of the same song and vote for the one you like best. A new Battle gets posted on the 15th of each month and six days later, on the 21st, I place my own vote, tally 'em all up and announce the winner.
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Friend? Foe? Stranger? No matter, ALL are welcome. So pull up a chair, pour yourself 24 oz. of 'DOG BITE High Gravity Lager' (or the poison of your choice) and turn it up to Eleven!
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[NOTE: Links to the first year of 'BOTB' (#1 - #24) can be found at the very bottom of this page.]

Monday, December 22, 2014

'IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE' COMES TO LIFE!

The following true story is my entry in the 'MY FAVORITE CHRISTMAS MEMORY' Bloghop being hosted by CHERDO and JANIE JUNEBUG. If you click on their names you will be magically transported to a place where you will find links to ALL of the Bloghop participants posting their stories. 

The idea is to write a blog bit about your most memorable Christmas experience. Every Christmas I've had was wonderful, but four in particular were in contention for my attention:

33 comments:

  1. Stephen, this goes above and beyond my expectations - it is really a GREAT post and I love it. Your portion and "Fred's" made a wonderful pairing.

    I'm one of those nuts who truly believe that angels walk among us and miracles are still occurring; most people don't pay attention to the little miracles that happen day to day.

    But Fred's experience sounds like the real deal. Thank you so much for sharing it.

    Merry Christmas, be safe and God bless.

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    1. Thanks, CHERDO, I'm pleased you're pleased.

      I too believe in angels and miracles. I believe I've encountered a few of the former, and life itself can be considered one of the latter.

      (Grand Marnier on the rocks is a bit of a miracle too, methinks. It completely changed my mind about the French.)

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

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  2. I have the fault of an overly-developed cynical streak and a pretty good BS-ometer -- I can usually tell when someone's feeding me a load of crap.

    But I absolutely believe your friend's story. Because even if there is no "Fred," or even if he does exist and didn't really have the life-saving encounter with the old lady, there is still TRUTH in this story. There's a higher truth here, and I think it's even a stronger point than in "It's a Wonderful Life" (which I dearly love, and which is my wife's absolute favorite movie):

    Fred's perspective on life changed at the moment where he focused on helping others instead of just thinking about himself and his feelings.

    Also:

    "...when I was a little kid and received the Charlie McCarthy ventriloquist dummy I'd wanted so badly..."

    LOL -- You ARE an olde phart, aint'cha?? :)

    And finally -- I posted my BOTB reults post today (among other stuf), and announced that I've decided to step away from hosting BOTB posts in 2015. It was a HARD decision because I enjoy it, but I want to try and renew my efforts towards writing as well as making music. But I WILL still be visiting here and the other BOTB blogs on the 1st and 15th and voting! Just want to make that absolutely clear!

    I hope you have a very, very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year! Best wishes, thoughts, and prayers to you and your loved ones during this holiday!!!

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    1. GgC ~
      Yes, you're right about the story... it's no "story". There are too many little details I could point to that give it the ring of truth. Also, a person trying to fabricate a believable miraculous Christmas story would not make it so similar to 'It's A Wonderful Life' if they really expected a person to buy into it. He knew I'd been around the block a few times and that I was no "McCarthy dummy" who was going to be easily fooled by some concocted fictional "Christmas miracle" tale.

      Aside from all that, "Fred" and I wrote a great many very extensive letters to each other for over two years. I got to know him about as well as possible given the circumstances, and there is simply NO WAY he was making up this story for my benefit. He was actually very honest and open about what he considered to be his better qualities as well as his faults. Lying was NOT one of his faults.

      Very sorry to hear about BOTB, but I kind of sensed this was going to happen even though you first said otherwise. I realize you weren't faking me out, but just had a change of mind about it. Nevertheless, I sensed this coming.

      I'm disappointed, of course, because you posted some of my favorite BOTB installments, but you gotta be you and follow your inner voice and reason. But if you ever decide you want to join in and become a BOTBer again, you have an open invitation always (so long as you pay the $12. re-entry fee).

      I wish you a Merry Christmas also, and best wishes for all of your future pursuits, whatever forms they take, Brother.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

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  3. What a treat(!) and I like the way you categorized those four favorites. "Christmas of irony"... my own blog hop contribution was about my new baby brother. and thinking he was my own special Christmas gift. Ironically I could never have children. It used to sadden me, but lately I feel a sense of relief... more dcrelief(smile).

    "It's a Wonderful Life" is probably the first Christmas movie I saw. Next, "Miracle on 42nd Street." Somehow, it's not Christmas until I watch both - yes, even Santa, though I suspect it's more about the little girl's plight.

    I am grateful that "Fred" accepted the call to find life. So many run.

    I ask myself everyday as a way to keep my perspective in check: "Will Christ find Faith on the Earth when He returns?" The answer comforts me, as I recall, that no one or nothing can pluck me from His hand. I ask that He keep my Faith strong.

    I had to watch the video continuation... behind the first one you posted... love happy endings.

    Thank you for accepting His call as well.(smile).

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    1. DIXIE POLKA ~
      Glad you liked it.

      I was never "Married With Children", but I'm OK with that because I'd hate to have to share me with anyone else but me. :-)

      Glad you watched the other little 'It's A Wonderful Life' excerpt as well. I went back and forth about which video to feature at the end. The sound was a little out of sync in the '...Wonderful Life' video, and I believe that's what helped me decide on just the song 'Hark! The Herald Angels Sing'.

      But then I got the idea to include linked words at the very end for anyone who might want to explore them and see where they led.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

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    2. Stopped by because I really wanted to hear the hymn you posted with the article, "Hark the Herald Angel..."
      Pretty sure those voices are Asian, but they sound like crystal bells - so clear. I'm sure there must be more than one person but they come together as if one voice. Nice choice. Sorry I didn't get to it sooner... in a hurry, then I just forgot.
      Enough - time to go walk the bird(smile).

      Delete
    3. Yeah, I thought it was really quite good, too.

      Oddly, the person who posted it at YouTube referred to it as:

      This track is from "Hark the herald angels sing MP3 Album 2011"

      And then goes on to list a bunch of stuff such as:

      Tracks include:
      1. Dora band & choir ...
      3. Church organ band & choir
      4. Church organ band & voice
      5. Guitar and bass & choir
      6. Guitar and bass & voice ...
      11. Rila band & choir
      12. Rila band & voice
      13. Dora band karaoke
      14. Church organ band karaoke
      Etc.

      So I really don't know WHAT this is all about or who does it. But I listened to several versions of 'Hark! The Herald Angels Sing' and this one really got my attention due to the purity of the sound.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
  4. The shock of you participating in a bloghopt has rendered me momentarily speechless. (Yeah, I know that BoTB has turned into something of a hop, but it didn't start out that way!)

    Now... all four of your stories were interesting and COULD have made a fine post with elaboration. I liked Chris' comment about the dummy. You were a funny little guy, weren't you???? My brother received an Evil Knevil (sp?) motorcycle that he immediately took to the back patio. I can't remember precisely how it worked, but there was some revving it while it was attached to the stand and then you let it go and it rode across the back porch. My parents had no idea he would love it so much. They had to FORCE him back inside so we could finish Christmas.... about 45 minutes later. Sound familiar???

    I remember getting a globe as the main gift from my grandparents one year. That was disappointing. I don't think I cried, but I felt like it. It was this huge present promising something wonderful. It turned out to be a globe. Now, I wish I still had it. Funny how that works.

    And for your friend and his miracle story... It was a beautiful story.

    Have you heard this song?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQ3-PHktE34

    Merry Christmas!!!!

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    1. GIRL WONDER ~
      I'd not heard that before but it was good songwriting. Guy has a nice way with lyrics.

      I'll check out FRASIER later today or tonight (after some sleep) but I guarantee I'll recognize whatever scene it is. There ain't no Frasier I don't know.

      Dang! You're a hard gal to please! Seriously "high maintenance". For Christmas your grandparents gave you the whole world and it still wasn't enough? Sheesh! What would it take to satisfy you?!

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

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  5. You don't need to post this, but I wanted you to know I chose a Frasier clip on the TV blog today...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Never fails to amaze that God lines things up so intricately, with such great timing, in ways you can never guess. In other news, the director of Exodus:Gods and Kings wants to prove to everyone that the Biblical plagues were explainable scientific coincidence. The fool says in his heart there is no God...

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    1. BROTHER MARTIN ~
      I read a book many years ago (can't recall the title now, but it was highly esteemed by some critics) in which the author attempted to 'splain all the Exodus miracles (from parting the Red Sea to Manna) by way of natural phenomena tied to the geography of the Middle East.

      I wasn't even able to finish the book - got maybe half or two-thirds the way through it. ANYONE (believer or not) with even a rudimentary understanding of what The Bible says about the Exodus miracles would have seen right through this guy's 'splainations.

      I mean, he thought he could 'splain things in an overall way, but he conveniently ignored 101 details that alone would have made his 'splainations simply preposterous on their face.

      "The fool says in his heart..." indeed!

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
  7. I have probably read The Holy Bible more times than anyone I personally know

    ....probably more than everyone you know put together....

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    1. Ha!

      Maybe not, but it's probably open to question. [;-)}

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
  8. OK, the culprit was my phone. For some reason is only displayed the firs two paragraphs of your post and then went right to the comments. Strange, but I'm glad it was me and Doug and not just me, but then again...(In reality it was the Nook and iPhone)

    My plan was to NOT turn the computer on today, but I came here to read this and I'm glad I did. Nice stories, but the one told by Fred had huge crocodile tears running down my face. This story was the best Christmas present I've ever received three days before Christmas. Thank you very much!

    I'm also really, Really, REALLY glad to hear that you like 'dummies' so much. Maybe that's what makes us such good friends. :-)

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    1. FAE ~
      What's the best Christmas present you've ever received TWO DAYS before Christmas? Because maybe I can top THAT one tomorrow.

      Oh, yes, this McCarthy Dummy has always been attracted to Dumb Blondes.

      Glad you were finally able to read it.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

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  9. Fred's story was a true Christmas miracle. Don't get to see much of that nowdays. I remember getting a few disappointing presents as a kid, but doesn't everybody? Now its all about watching my own kids' faces not light up sometimes.

    Bah Humbug!

    Merry Christmas Sir!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. >>... Now its all about watching my own kids' faces not light up sometimes.

      Ha!-Ha! Thanks for the laugh!

      Well, one tries, and that's all one can do.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

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  10. Those are some great stories, Fred's most definitely included. It's amazing how God works in that regard, especially when someone's on the brink of ending their life. I know I already told you about my old friend Bryan that shot himself in the woods and then discovered that he wanted to live after he felt the presence of God. We may not always know what the big man has planned for us, but suicide is never a part of that plan.

    I can't toast a hot buttered rum (liquor store was wiped clean) but I CAN toast this buttered rum cheesecake that we bought that is pretty amazing. Cheers!

    ~6B

    (E coming a little later, and TRT most definitely still on for tonight)

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    1. 6-B ~
      I recall that story. And, yeah, there are some downright AMAZING nonfiction God stories out there. I feel honored to have been able to tell this one, which I'd never have learned about had it not been for my Prison Outreach Program activities. So in a way, that volunteer work blessed me, too.

      See ya at that place where they show old movies.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

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  11. Wonderful stories from you and this friend of yours. He was lost and so was she and they both found the way even if the way was still rocky. They both saved each other. I love this film-it is my favourite film and I believe in it truly

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    1. BIRGIT ~
      Yep. If that old woman wasn't actually an angel playing the part of a lost, old woman, the story is no less astounding. Because God managed to bring these two people together at the exact same time in the exact same location so that they could both help each other out of the jam they were in.

      The story is almost even more remarkable if in fact the woman was NOT a celestial angel sent from Heaven, but a case of God working his Miracles by "lining things up so intricately, with such great timing", to borrow CW Martin's expression (above).

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
  12. That was amazingly moving. I've heard a couple of stories from people who tried to commit suicide and when they decide to keep going, they usually burst in to either flowing tears or guttural laughter.

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    1. MICHAEL ~
      In one way or another, it's a release of tension through powerful emotion, right?

      Glad ya liked the story, Buddy!

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

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  13. It's good Fred met his angel. I hope he's met more.
    Thanks for stopping by my place.

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  14. Christmas can be so difficult. But when the arguments end and the drinking stops, God is still here for us. Thanks for hopping.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. -------- JOANNE --------
      Yes, for sure!

      -------- JANIE --------
      Oh, gosh, the drinking stops?
      Say it ain't so!

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

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  15. Thank you for making multiple comments on my blog. I really appreciate that...

    ReplyDelete
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    1. No problem, ROBIN.
      I too will pray about your situation.

      I'm going to try to watch an episode of JOAN OF ARCADIA today, before my Sister arrives. Christmas Eve day - not a bad time to start watching the show.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

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  16. I was not 'specting a post between the bands, so I just found this.

    It is a truly uplifting story in so many ways! Your crafting of the true tale adds to emotion, too. I actually had tears in my eyes at the end of it. Lest you snicker and snort at what an unmanly thing that was to do, they were tears of joy at God's goodness. I am now much more prepared to expect and see the good He has in store for me.

    Thanks for sharing it, Brother! Merry Christmas.

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    1. Thanks, SHEBOYGANBROTHER SIX.

      It is a great true Christmas story, but I can't take any credit for crafting it, because I was literally quoting Fred's letter word-for-word. Every word in red was his.

      Actually, for a little while now I have been posting blog bits in between the BOTB installments. I think this is the third or fourth time I've done it, and I intend to continue that practice from time-to-time as time permits. (In fact, this space was originally earmarked for something about BOB & RAY, but I shifted it to Fred's 'Wonderful Life' Christmas experience after signing up for the Blogfest that was scheduled for the 22nd.)

      A Merry Christmas to you and yourn, SixBro!

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

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  17. I loved all of your Christmas memories from your Aunt's last holiday dinner to when you secretly wept when you received a bible instead of a toy, but it didn't end there. Fred's story really did have that magical It's a Wonderful Life quality! How wonderful that you volunteered for that program, and stayed in touch with Fred! I do believe in angels, and thank goodness he met that dear woman in time. Stephen, you have a wonderful way of writing heartwarming stories. Hope you had another memorable Christmas this year!

    Julie

    ReplyDelete

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