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Opinion >  Column

The Slice: Boldly avoiding where we’ve gone before

I like to think I am capable of learning from my mistakes.

So, with a week until Christmas, I am prepared to make a bold declaration.

This holiday season, there will be no crotchety Slice items about those who go to church only once a year.

It’s just not right for me to judge well-intentioned people. Besides, it is un-American to tell others how they should or should not worship.

So I’m done insinuating that those who regard Midnight Mass as some sort of show might want to reconsider. And I am through trotting out crabby reminders that churches are not entertainment venues.

Nor will you hear me request that annual attenders not show up for the Christmas services wearing sweatsuits and ballcaps, for God’s sake.

Let’s move on.

Today’s Slice question: Before we get to the question, I’ll ask you to read something. This is what’s known as “Ralph Kramden’s Christmas speech.” It was in an episode of “The Honeymooners” that first aired shortly after the Earth’s crust cooled, the same year I was born.

Here it is. Ralph, played by Jackie Gleason, is addressing his wife, Alice.

“You know something, sweetheart? Christmas is…well, it’s about the best time of the whole year. When you walk down the streets, even for weeks before Christmas comes, and there’s lights hanging up, green ones and red ones, sometimes there’s snow and everyone’s hustling some place. But they don’t hustle around Christmastime like they usually do. You know, they’re a little friendlier…they bump into you, they laugh and they say ‘Pardon me, Merry Christmas.’ Especially when it gets real close to Christmas night. Everybody’s walking home, you can hardly hear a sound. Bells are ringing, kids are singing, the snow is coming down. And boy what a pleasure it is to think that you’ve got some place to go to. And that the place that you’re going to, there’s somebody in it that you really love. Someone you’re nuts about. Merry Christmas.”

(They embrace.)

So here’s the question. Do you believe people really are different at this time of year?

Write The Slice at P. O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email I don’t trust anyone who didn’t love Calvin and Hobbes.

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