Day six of Nick’s Flixmas (thanks for sticking in there!) brings us to the last, and my favorite, Rankin/Bass film, Nestor, The Long-Eared Christmas Donkey. Why is it my favorite? Because every time I watch, it reminds me of my mother. It’s Bambi, the Bible, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and The Land Before Time all wrapped up into one 20 minute special.
Aww man I just want to watch it again.
[Nick’s Flixmas is a 25 day celebration of films Nick watches every Christmas! Nick will do some analysis, review, and just generally walk down memory lane. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the ride. Merry Flixmas!]
Nestor follows the young donkey Nestor, whose long ears drag the ground. Other animals in his stable make fun of him and don’t let them play their donkey games. I actually don’t know what donkey games are, but that’s really just a play on Rudolph. In fact, the film fantastically starts off by stating that it’s the “lost” Christmas tale of one of the animals in the manger. Any time someone tells me something along the lines of “well, you haven’t heard the whole story,” my ears instantly perk up. You mean there’s more? I’m down for that, man. But that’s not all Nestor brings to the table.
Ten minutes in, Nestor becomes the most heart wrenching Christmas film you’ll ever see. As Roman soldiers take the other donkeys away, they refuse to buy Nestor because of his “defective” long ears. His owner gets angry that he can’t sell Nestor and kicks him out into the wild. Nestor’s mother breaks out, and shelters Nestor from the harsh winter with the warming embrace of her own body. And just like Littlefoot in The Land Before Time, a saddened Nestor must find a mythical land called Bethlehem in order to find some purpose after the loss of his mother. But also like that movie, his mother’s strength of spirit guides him to that land and his real calling in life.
I love my mother. I have no idea what I’d do without her. When I was seventh grade, my mother was wrongfully diagnosed with breast cancer. She decided to undergo an operation to remove the mass in her breast, but because the surgeon failed to take certain precautions due to her Type II Diabetes, she was infected with a flesh eating virus and eventually lost 85% of the muscle tissue in her legs. Our family has fought cancer before (my dad won his battle with Lymphoma in ’96), but we had no idea how to handle something like that. I nearly lost my mother. But she just wouldn’t give up, wouldn’t let go.
She wanted to see my sister and I graduate and go on to bigger things, and I hope I’ve made her proud. Every time she takes a step, she struggles more than anyone I know. But she’ll never tell you out loud how much everything hurts. How much it pains her to see me rifle through her many medications. How much it pains her to pay thousands upon thousands of dollars every month to keep her alive. How much she regrets not being able to work anymore. But she’ll always know one thing: I love her more than anything in this whole world.
If you’re reading this mom, let’s watch Nestor again.