SHEENA BARNETT: No man is a failure who has friends

By Sheena Barnett

So, this is Christmas. I have to admit, I’ve had little Christmas spirit this year. My first half of the season was spent looking forward to a vacation, not a holiday.
The second half of the season has been spent in mourning the loss of one of my favorite people.
This entire holiday, I’ve felt like it just wasn’t time for Christmas yet. Christmas 2009, maybe, but not Christmas 2010. It’s cheesy to say it, but really, where does the time go?
If anything is going to get me into the spirit, it’s my favorite movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
The story of George Bailey is good for any time of year, but the story is especially sweet at Christmas.
I haven’t watched it even once this season, but I don’t have to. Scenes and lines from the movie have popped up in my life a lot lately, all on their own accord. That’s how you know you’ve seen a good movie, or read a good book or heard a good song – it tells the story of your life in its own way. I’m certainly no George Bailey, but shades of his story are coloring my own.
I keep being reminded of the last sentiment shared in the film. Angel Second Class Clarence has just earned his wings, and he leaves a note for George in a copy of “Tom Sawyer” – “No man is a failure who has friends.”
George reads this after his life has seemingly been torn apart, after feeling like no one’s on his side, only to find he has an entire town-full of friends, neighbors and co-workers who care about him.
His little brother even calls him the “richest man in town.” It’s not because George has money, but because he’s rich in love.
I’ve seen so many friends lately, my friends, my parents’ friends, my family’s friends, and I’m thankful for all of them. This season hasn’t been the brightest for me, but all of these friends are my little stars in the sky. They make me feel a little bit like George Bailey.
Just last week, I received a surprise package from my friends Heath and Angela, a package full of funny Harry Potter songs and funny Harry Potter Christmas songs.
The card wasn’t Harry Potter-y, though. It was an “It’s a Wonderful Life” card, featuring George, his wife, Mary, and daughter Zuzu (yes, with the bell). I don’t know that Angela and Heath even know it’s one of my favorite movies.
Little things like that tell me there must be my own Clarence out there.
I think we all have one.
As the season is coming to a close, on the outside, it looks like I’ve got it all done. My tree’s up, my shopping is more or less done, and the presents are wrapped.
I may not have come into the season with the jolliest of Christmas hearts, but I’m getting there.
Thanks to my own Clarence, my friends and George Bailey, I’m hoping for a good Christmas.
Here’s to you and yours and your own Clarences – Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and remember, no man is a failure who has friends.

Sheena Barnett covers entertainment for the Daily Journal. Contact her at (662) 678-1580 or

Click video to hear audio