Hi. J.P.? Jimmy Stewart here. I’ve heard you do an almost perfect impression of me, so I thought about you this week and … Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking. I’ve passed on, crossed over the Warner Brothers’ bridge to the other side. Yep, I did.

I hope this dream message isn’t gonna scare you, because it’s the only way we can communicate. We can’t just go floating around in the night and scarin’ folks. No, that wouldn’t do. But Suzanne Pleshette is here, and she said you were just the perfect kind of whacky dreamer who would hear me. She sends her love, by the way. Don’t wake up now until you hear me out.

Yeah, this is Heaven, but not the way you think of Heaven. First off, it’s not up. I know that’s gonna upset a lot of folks, but, it’s kind of, well, sideways. We call it the “other side” see, because, well, we can see you and you can’t see us. Well, YOU can. Maybe it’s the booze or imagination. You just can.

Now this is why I’m in your dream tonight. Every year we play an old movie and kind of act it out. Last year Ingrid Bergman and Audrey Hepburn got together a flock of 16th Century nuns and did “Sound of Music.” Well, this year they’re kind of honoring me and the old cast of “IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE.”

We can see how much you love movies, and that just warms our hearts. Well, golly, what would Heaven be without movies? So that’s why we decided to share this with you.

See, this year, Frank Capra, who wrote and directed the original, came up with a great idea. We’re gonna act out a couple of scenes from “Wonderful Life” right over on your side.

Of course we’d need a small town like old Bedford Falls. And then we’d come over in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve and play it out. It’s kind of a treat for all of us, Uncle Billy, Ma and Pa, Mary and Clarence. You know he’s a real angel now.

So we settled on Maine, and then we had to find a small town that resembled Bedford Falls, one that had a river for me to fall into, a drug store, a savings and loan, a candy and cigarette store, and just the right kind of Main Street.

Of course snow. Frank wanted real snow, and where else but Maine?

A small town? Well, we looked at Sidney and Freedom. Nice, but too small. John Ford, a great guy who’s over here with us, suggested Portland? Portland? Too big. Might as well be Boston.

Waterville was considered, but then you folks went and ruined it with that big blue building on Main Street. It just ruined it. Why’d you go and do that?

And then somebody said what about Hallowell? Well, Uncle Billy and his pet crow went down there and scouted it out. Sure enough, it was perfect. There was a Boynton’s Market, and Scrummy Afters Candy Shoppe, and a Slates Bakery, all Bedford Falls kind of shops.

Uncle Billy couldn’t find a savings and loan to stand in for Pa’s old Bedford Falls building, but he says we’re gonna love the brick walks and a wonderful bar called “The Liberal Cup” to stand in for Mr. Martini’s place.

I think we’re gonna have a great time in Hallowell Christmas Eve. Clarence thought it might be fun for the two of us to materialize at the Liberal Cup’s bar and order a sarsaparilla, shake up the regulars and give them something to talk about for a few years.

I hope you remember all of this when you wake up, J.P. Thanks for your memories, the almost perfect imitation, and Merry Christmas to your readers.

Oh yeah, we’re lookin’ forward to seeing you over here with us some day. J.P.? J.P.? Oh! He woke up.

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer.

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