News From Terre Haute, Indiana


December 12, 2013

RONN MOTT: Christmas 2013

Sitting on the front porch in my favorite chair, I began to count the buds and flowers on the Christmas cactus that is on the porch all year. The legend is it will bloom for Christmas and true to the legend this cactus has bloomed consistently around the Christmas season. I counted 40 buds and flowers and I stopped when I reached 40 with more left on the plant. I guess without hesitation that means Christmas is for sure about to arrive.   

The more up-to-date measure of Christmas being in the vicinity is the ads on television and radio and the rather joyful sounds of carols when you go shopping. I dearly love Christmas music. It would seem to me Tin Pan Alley saves its best efforts for Christmas.

The biggest selling Christmas song of all time is “White Christmas.” It appeared in the motion picture “Holiday Inn.” It starred Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire and the idea was Bing Crosby was going to drop out of their show-business act, go live in the country and open an inn that would have live entertainment only on days that were holidays.  

Fortunately, for this very flimsy story line, they had Irving Berlin writing all the songs, which gave us “White Christmas.” It may have been the fact that many guys were away from home because World War II had just begun, or maybe it just struck a chord to most of us who had been away from home during the holidays.

“Jingle Bells” is the song most played in shopping malls and “Silent Night,” written by a priest who was struck by a clear, mountain sky and wrote the song while being inspired by that scene. Regardless of carol or song, the music of Christmas has always been my favorite kind of music.  

There was a small discussion at our house of not putting up the big tree this year. You know, set up a small tree on a table in the picture window and let it be our Christmas tree. However, the wife’s oldest son asked his mother if she was going to have her Christmas tree up again this year, indicating he would really like to see it. It will be the big tree this year in the big window facing Collett Park.

By the way, the homes around the Park that have gone to the trouble of decorating for the season have, again, done it especially well. It is a pretty sight to see.

I’m getting my favorite pie for Christmas. Being a man of English heritage it’s only fitting that the Christmas Pie is one of my all-time favorites. Cromwell, when he became high lord protector of England, tried to destroy Christmas celebrations and food prepared for the holiday. He didn’t like Christmas because it was not mentioned in the Bible.

Oh, these Christians. It reminds me of what Mahatma Gandhi said to his English rulers … “I love your Lord, it’s you Christians I have trouble with.” Words well spoken.

The English, being a smart group of people, merely changed the name of the Christmas Pie that had been for years a Christmas tradition, and named it after its ingredients. You and I know it by that name … the mincemeat pie. Nothing goes better on a cold, winter morning with that cup of coffee then a slice of mincemeat pie.

I would wish for all good health and prosperity and a safe return of our troops from overseas. And I would wish for you the intelligence and the temperament and the success of Nelson Mandela to understand that we are all brothers and sisters under God’s good, guiding hand, and to wish all who read this a Merry Christmas.

Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.

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