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What is the Grinch all about?
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This coming week sees the last of the special Christmas events brought to us by Main Street Covington under the leadership of Velinda Wheeles and her staff for 2015. Both Thursday and Friday nights have been special. The joy and magic of the Christmas season began to arrive with the lighting of the Square with fireworks and this was all before Thanksgiving. And what a season is has been!

Each Thursday in December, leading up to Christmas Eve, has been a night for a Classic Candlelight Christmas. Shops and restaurants are open late with extended hours for shopping. This coming Thursday would be a great night to wrap up that last minute shopping you need to do. Adding to the festivities will be an opportunity to see a Classic Christmas movie being shown on the square. Bring a chair this Thursday and relax for a while. There will also be carriage rides to add to the evening, as well as an opportunity to make a wreath under the guidance of the Eastside FFA.

Of course each Friday has been special as well. The first Friday of December saw the Square become a Winter Wonderland. This may be as close as we ever get to a white Christmas in Covington. This was followed by the spotlight falling on Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer this past Friday night. And the contrast couldn’t be greater this coming Friday night. The spotlight will shift from a very loving little Reindeer that everyone loves to a character that tries his best to steal Christmas.

Have you ever thought where we get the traditions that remind us of the peace and joy and hope of Christmas each year? Many, of course, date back centuries ago with the Holy Family going to Bethlehem, the night skies being filled with the heavenly host and the birth of Jesus Christ. We add such ancient accounts as the Kings coming from the East and the parts that others like the Inn Keeper played in the story.

We move ahead many centuries to a time a few centuries ago when most of our Christmas Carols were written, the Christmas tree became important, and many other traditions became popular.

Of course the Square has featured the lights and trees of Christmas along with Santa Clause and other treasured traditions. The emphasis has been on three traditions that have not been a part of Christmas for a hundred years. These were the images of Winter Wonderland, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, and the Grinch.

What a contrast between Rudolf and the Grinch. There is not much very lovable about the Grinch and yet last year more wanted their picture taken with him the night he came than with Santa Claus. The Grinch was first created by Dr. Seuss in 1957 as the lead character in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” He is a character who is very anti-holiday. His name is thought to come from the French word meaning grumpy. As Christmas approaches in the story he lives up to this name.

He is a furry recluse living in seclusion on a cliff overlooking Whoville. Whoville is a place filled with the Christmas spirit and thus the Grinch starts his attack. Despite this attitude he has become a beloved character of the Christmas season. There is a lot of similarity between the Grinch and the Charles Dickens character Ebenezer Scrooge.

We get a look at the real Grinch when he says to Rudolph in the 2000 TV version, “All right you are a reindeer. Here’s your motivation: Your name is Rudolph, you’re a freak with a red nose, and no one likes you. Then, one day, Santa picks you and you save Christmas. No, forget that part. We’ll improvise. Just keep it loosey-goosey. You hate Christmas! You are going to steal it! Saving Christmas is a lousy ending, way too commercial.”

In the animated version the Grinch is very honest that he stole Christmas and confessed he felt sorry. He challenged the police, “Are not you going to cuff me? Or Beat me up? Or blind me with pepper spray?´ He expected to pay a price for what he admitted he had done. He had stolen Christmas.

The Mayor, Augustus Maywho, wanted action too. He says to the Officer, “He admits it. I’d go with the pepper spray,” But the Officers reflects the dilemma we all have with the Grinch, “Yes I heard him all right. He said he was sorry.” It is hard to corner the Grinch.

Don’t miss the fun this last special Friday night before Christmas. The Grinch is coming to the Square. He is scheduled to be there between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. In addition the shops and restaurants on the Square will be open. And of course Santa will be there as well as Bucket Truck Rides, Trackless Trains, and at 7i:30 p.m. Story-telling with Lett Aldridge on the Courthouse Steps.

B. Wiley Stephens is a retired United Methodist Minister and author who now resides in Covington.