Radio and Christmas Morning in my Childhood
I guess that listening to all the Christmas music on 92.9 The Lake has had it's effect on me. I found myself thinking about Christmas during my childhood and I dredged up some really great memories.
My memories of Christmas in my childhood mare all wonderful. I know I'm lucky to be able to say that and I don't take it for granted by any stretch of the imagination. There are a few Christmas gifts that I received over the years that really stand out in my memory: my electric trains, my shotgun and my first electric guitar really stand out, but what I recall most was the atmosphere in the house.
While all the gifts were wonderful, I really recall the feel of the event much more than the gifts. That's the thing about Christmas Spirit, isn't it. With it, we don't need a thing but the reason for the holiday and without it, we couldn't get enough stuff to make us happy.
Now, let me share a Christmas memory with you. It has nothing to do with my family exactly, but it is something we all experienced together on Christmas mornings. Of all things this sstory involves listening to the radio and a well known air personality where I grew up by the name of Gordon Baxter.
Now, Bax was truly a unique individual, but his uniqueness was not a studied behavior. Gordon was just naturally different. Baxter did not march to the same drummer as most of us. As a result of his unique personality, he was wonderful on the radio.
You could always count on old Bax for a few laughs in the morning as he shared his unique view of the world with us on the airwaves of KTRM in Beaumont. Bax was more than just funny though. He wasn't afraid to open up and be human and he could be, at the same time, funny and biting or crazy and frenetic, but always real.
One of my memories of childhood involves Gordon in a big way. Radio back then was not at all like it is now. There were no studies about how long you should talk, what you should say or what music you played. The whole point of radio back then was to communicate with the audience and connect to them as much as possible and, that's exactly what Gordon did day to day. Gordon really connected with us though and once a year he would broadcast his family's Christmas on the radio.
Each year, on Christmas day, Gordon would set up a mini radio station in his living room and he would broadcast the whole thing on the air. There was no special point to the broadcast other than to share those moments with us, his listening audience. Now, by today's radio standards that wouldn't fly, but back then it soared.
We never missed tuning in to hear the Baxter family open their gifts as we opened ours. The thing is, we didn't just listen to the Baxter family Christmas, we celebrated with them. Some people said Bax was grandstanding by broadcasting his family Christmas, but I think his motives were much purer than that. I don't know the first thing about Gordon's religious views, but I think he just wanted to share some happiness with his fans. It's the one thing he could share of himself to thank us for being his fans and giving him his living. Gordon seemed like a man who knew that his voice and his wit and personality were gifts from God and he wanted to use those gifts to bring us some happiness.
It worked because, to this day, I still recall the fun of listening to Gordon, his wife Mary, and all their kids open presents. The broadcast itself was a real cacophony because the Baxters had a houseful of kids and they were loud and just a touch out of control.
Gordon gave us all a present. He used his gifts from God to bring a smile to our faces and maybe just a bit of happiness in our hearts. What a wonderful gift to give. His willingness to share his and his families happiness brightened up so many lives. Such a simple thing to do and yet, I recall the feel to this day.
This story has no great moral. there is no punchline to this memory. It just brings into focus what gifts really matter. All these years later, one of my favorite things about Christmas was listening to the Baxters share their happiness. Frankly, I can't think of a better Christmas gift.
I hope and pray that, in some way I have done something to lift you up or make you laugh. I hope that I add to your day and not take from it. I hope that, at least from time to time, I say something or play a song that takes you out of this world and gives you some respite from the serious side of life.
Let me thank you for the gift you give to me every day. Because of you, I get to use my gifts from God to make my living. What a great blessing that is in my life. How could I possibly be any happier? I just want to share my happiness with you. That's really what I want for Christmas this year.