We’re obsessed with flying in Rosebud these days. Flying angels, flying trucks, flying marriage ceremonies, flying home for Christmas. All the best things come out of the sky: birds, swirling snow at Christmas, rain in the spring. Some of the best stuff just stays up there, like rainbows, fluffed white clouds, stars, the moon, the sun. Sometimes on a crisp clear blue-sky day,there’ll be a trace of white moving across the sky like a giant chalk line, the front of it looking like a silver arrow. And at Christmas, those little arrows carry Moms and Dads, Sons and Daughters, Grandpas and Grandmas, friends and relatives, flying home for Christmas - making a pilgrimage to the places where they will always belong, leaving white streaks of light behind that trace their journey for a time, then fluff away into white wisps. And on a clear night above the hills around Rosebud, sometimes you can see other white streaks piercing across the sky - shooting stars, lasting just long enough to catch a frosty gasp from those watching. Sometimes the night sky collects light into dancing streaks, and when that happens, everyone comes out of their houses to gaze at the heavens, gathering in groups of neighbors, huddling against the cold, faces illuminated by dancing light. And if the celestial entertainment lasts long enough, someone will come outside with mugs of hot chocolate for everyone, and those with mitts on will pull them off so the warmth from the mug can radiate into their hands. The ones who didn’t bring mitts don’t have to worry about negotiating hot chocolate and finding a pocket for mitts. I guess they’re the smartest - they who come out of houses on a cold winter night without mitts because they have faith to believe in generous souls who always make hot chocolate when the night sky is full of dancing light. Maybe they know because they’ve been here the longest - elders, or old souls in young bodies. Some of the people without mitts are holding hands. They say “no thanks” to the offer of hot chocolate. They don’t need it to keep warm. Maybe they’re the smartest, or maybe just the luckiest. Some of the others who hold hot chocolate think maybe they are. ... So they stop looking at the sky to look across at a particular face pointed heavenward, and they wonder if that particular face would turn his or her particular gaze towards them. And sometimes it happens, and there’s a double gasp like the one that happened when the shooting star streaked toward the horizon moments earlier. And maybe the gasp that accompanied the shooting star was the first wish placed into the air by both those faces. Maybe it’s their gasps that gather into ice crystals that fall out of the sky on this particular night where there are no clouds, a night where lights dance in random sky-patterns. And maybe this night was made for these two people gazing heavenward, looking for an excuse to fill the gap between them. So, they adjust their star-gazing positions toward one another. And in their journey, eyes occasionally gazing upward so they don’t look too interested, they bump into other night-sky gazers, sloshing hot chocolate onto the snow at their feet, saying “sorry” to the others who have seen this romantic pilgrimage coming for some time now. ... It’s a small town, after all.
And everybody is warmed by the thought that love could waken on a winter night at Christmas, because that’s what Christmas is all about. Shepherds and Wise Men looking up at a sky where angels dance in sky patterns of light accompanied by voices singing. A young couple holding a baby in a fixer-upper cattle shed, a baby that isn’t the husband’s, but he’s OK with that. He’d had a visit from an angel telling him it was OK. So something that shouldn’t be OK is made into the most miraculous moment in the world, a moment that’s still celebrated 2012 years later.
It’s getting late in Rosebud, and you can’t watch the sky all night, not if you have to get your rest for a Saturday double show day. The hot chocolate is finished, and people drift inside, leaving the couple now holding hands for the very first time. The couple doesn’t want the evening to end, so they go inside to help wash hot chocolate mugs, and when they’ve done that, they still don’t want the evening to end, so wind up digging out one of those movies - you know the ones where a pilot takes a girl up in a biplane to show her geese or the setting sun, or some such excuse just to show off a bit. And as they look through the collection of DVDs in the house on the hill where everyone eventually gathers outside at night to watch shooting stars and northern lights, then wash mugs after going inside, they come across A Christmas Carol, and because it’s Christmas, they put it into the DVD player instead of the movie about the guy who takes the girl for a ride in his biplane to watch geese flying as the sun sets. And they watch a classic Dickens Christmas story about a guy visited by three flying spirits. And when they get to the end, to the part where the crazy old guy opens his window to a frosty London morning to shout at a kid down in the street to get the biggest turkey he can and deliver it to the Cratchet house, the young couple curled up in the living room of the hot chocolate maker and her husband - the young couple who wished upon a star and found each other while dodging the other star gazers - feel like flying because the story in the movie makes them feel like flying, and their closeness to one another makes them feel like maybe they’ll take flight into some more of their life together, like the older couple curled up in the living room with them. And even though it’s late, they’re not worried about the double show day any more. They think maybe their show will have more magic because they’ve found a new magic they’ve never felt before, the magic of belonging to someone, the same magic that’ll bring all of those people to the show tomorrow, some of them having flown home in one of those silver arrows streaking chalk lines to join friends and relatives in a village called Rosebud to watch a story that happens to be about angels and flying and forgiveness and love and transformation and hope and miracles and new life and all kinds of other good stuff - and Pat Murphy’s stuffing that they’ll bring back to the dressing room after singing around dining room tables because it’s Christmas and everyone deserves to feel like their spirits are flying with people they love at tables filled with good food, like at the Cratchet house after the wispy white-haired guy in the movie discovered he was light as a feather.
GOD BLESS US EVERYONE music starts.
So the next day, the brand new couple who aren’t tired at all, don their angel costumes, wait for the light to come up on a stage filled with glittering bobbles that hang like stars in the heavens, waiting for the song that cues them onto the stage ... flying!