Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Eleven Days to go... and counting

True Story of Rudolph

A man named Bob May,
depressed and brokenhearted,
stared out his drafty apartment window
into the chilling December night
 His 4-year-old daughter Barbara
sat on his lap quietly sobbing

 Bobs wife, Evelyn, was dying of cancer
 Little Barbara couldn't understand
why her mommy could never come home
 Barbara looked up into her dad's eyes and asked,
"Why isn't Mommy just like everybody else's Mommy?"

Bob's jaw tightened and his eyes welled with tears
 Her question brought waves of grief,
but also of anger
It had been the story of Bob's life
 Life always had to be different for Bob

Small when he was a kid,
Bob was often bullied by other boys
 He was too little at the time to compete in sports
 He was often called names he'd rather not remember

 From childhood,
Bob was different and never seemed to fit in

 Bob did complete college,
married his loving wife
and was grateful to get his job
as a copywriter at Montgomery Ward
during the Great Depression

 Then he was blessed with his little girl
 But it was all short-lived
 Evelyn's bout with cancer stripped them
of all their savings and now
Bob and his daughter were forced to live
in a two-room apartment in the Chicago slums

Evelyn died just days before Christmas in 1938
 Bob struggled to give hope to his child,
for whom he couldn't even afford to buy a Christmas gift

 But if he couldn't buy a gift,
he was determined a make one - a storybook!

Bob had created an animal character in his own mind
and told the animal's story to little Barbara
to give her comfort and hope
 Again and again Bob told the story,
embellishing it more with each telling

 Who was the character?

What was the story all about?

The story Bob May created was
his own autobiography in fable form

The character he created was a misfit outcast like he was...
 The name of the character?

A little reindeer named Rudolph,
with a big shiny nose
 Bob finished the book just in time to give it to
his little girl on Christmas Day
 But the story doesn't end there.

The general manager of Montgomery Ward
caught wind of the little storybook and offered Bob May
a nominal fee to purchase the rights to print the book

Wards went on to print, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
and distribute it to children visiting Santa Claus in their stores

 By 1946 Wards had printed and distributed
more than six million copies of Rudolph
 That same year, a major publisher wanted
to purchase the rights from Wards
to print an updated version of the book

In an unprecedented gesture of kindness,
the CEO of Wards returned all rights back to Bob May
 The book became a best seller
 Many toy and marketing deals followed
and Bob May, now remarried with a growing family,
became wealthy from the story he created
to comfort his grieving daughter
But the story doesn't end there either

Bob's brother-in-law, Johnny Marks,
made a song adaptation to Rudolph
 Though the song was turned down by
such popular vocalists as Bing Crosby and Dinah Shore , it was recorded by the singing cowboy, Gene Autry
 "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" was released in 1949
and became a phenomenal success,
selling more records than any other Christmas song,
with the exception of "White Christmas"

The gift of love that Bob May created for his daughter
so long ago kept on returning back
to bless him again and again
 And Bob May learned the lesson,
just like his dear friend Rudolph,
that being different isn't so bad
In fact, being different can be a blessing.


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