Nearly 16 weeks of silence from Richmond Mayor L. Douglas Wilder were broken yesterday after he came out of hiding, saying he’s spent the past few months getting into the holiday spirit through nearly 180 viewings of the 1983 classic film “A Christmas Story.”
“I just couldn’t get enough of it this year, from the story line to the old-timey feel of the production values, it gets to me every time,” said Wilder, who has not sought camera time, reporters or the attention of his constituency since early August, having watched a combination of the popular Christmas movie on both DVD and, most recently, TBS reruns.
Most of the viewings took place while being “holed up” in is Charles City County home’s attic, away from friends, family, neighbors and the citizens he serves.
Wilder, who will leave office at the start of January after a number of public fights and battles with local leaders and organizations, said he decided to “keep on the DL” for the past few months as he relentlessly watched the story of a young boy who would stop at nothing to get what he wanted from Santa Claus: an official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifle BB Gun with a compass in the stock. “And this thing which tells time,” Wilder quickly noted, stating that he, too, had one when he was eight years old.
City residents, agreeing that the story of the young “Ralphie” Parker was one for the ages, remained perplexed at the mayor’s four-month absence.
“I guess I just find it odd that he wouldn’t show his face in public for months, but now he’s saying that it’s been because he’s been getting into the Christmas spirit and chuckling over the Old Man’s ‘Major Award’?” said local resident Emily Zincone, 46.
Wilder took no questions at his press conference, saying he had to catch a quick ride back to his home and catch the part where the Chinese restaurant workers sing Christmas carols and behead the “Chinese turkey.”