God and I have this great relationship. At least I think we do … it seems to work from my standpoint, I hope it does from His. Organized religion and I never quite hit it off and even during advancing seniorhood I still consider myself ‘in recovery’. Any flirtation with religious formality ended with the last of my innocence when, what I needed was good advice about a bad marriage, but received instead only tongue-lashings and platitudes from every religious person I knew … including my Mom who makes even holy men look like their halos need a brisk buffing with Brasso.
Rather than concrete and stone, my cathedral lies in the embrace of towering trees and singing birds or falling snow, where I can clear my head and enjoy a more direct communion with the one who makes it all possible. While I remain a Christian, I quickly lose patience with Read the rest of this entry
Santa had come and gone. The children were nestled all snug in their beds but the sugar plums that once danced in their heads had been devoured and, by now, the resulting ‘high’ subsided settling things back to a dull roar. Even the nastiest little crumb cruncher hadn’t received coal in his stocking and all was well. Or was it?
Here it was New Year’s Eve and each year the same two things always amaze me. The first is how the nature of my celebration has changed with time. The other is our tradition of getting misty-eyed over a song to which most people know the words but few know either the meaning or how to spell it.
For years I held that Christmas was the holiday for kids and New Year’s was the adult holiday. To prove it, I’d whip up a batch of lethal Read the rest of this entry
The high school I occupied during my pre-adult period was nearly ninety percent Jewish. When many of the more important Hebrew holidays were celebrated, like in September and October, they actually consolidated as many as three or four classes for any given subject into a single room. Even with that arrangement, I was one of only a tiny hand-full of students in there. We had a lot of fall study halls back then.
Chanukah was different because it usually seemed to coincide pretty closely with Christmas and everybody was off from school … even the kids that celebrated holidays with names most of us never heard of, until ‘political correctness’ came to town a few years later. In those days you were either a Christian or a Jew and nobody was offended by wishes of “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Chanukah,” even if you got it wrong. In my neighborhood, the Christmas tree and the Menorah lived side by side. Read the rest of this entry
As we prepare for Christmas, each in his own way, let us take just a moment to reflect upon all that we have … and why we get to keep it. This is from a Christmas card, from a friend.
by Lance Corporal James M. Schmidt
T’was the night before Christmas, he lived all alone
In a one bedroom house made of plaster and stone.
I had come down the chimney with presents to give
And to see just who in this home did live.
I looked all about, a strange sight I did see –
No Tinsel, no presents, not even a tree. Read the rest of this entry
A buddy of mine asked his readers for Christmas stories on his blog The Dick Summer Connection … and among the many responses he received, this one jumped right off the page. Most guys have experienced something similar, although I would hope less extreme. Dick said I could share the story, so from my house to yours, here’s Bill Ervolino’s house. Whew!
I thought it would be a nice idea to bring a date to my parents’ house on Christmas Eve. I thought it would be interesting for a non-Italian girl to see how an Italian family spends the holidays. I thought my mother and my date would hit it off like partridges and pear trees. So, I was wrong. Sue me.
I had only known Karen for three weeks when I extended the invitation. “I know these family things can be a little weird,” I told her, “but my folks are great, and we always have a lot of fun on Christmas Eve.” “Sounds fine to me,” Karen said. Read the rest of this entry
Part of almost every guy’s wiring leads to the bone in his head that generates perpetual kidhood. A few somehow received only bone fragments and are old men by thirty, but I’m not interested in exceptions, only the rule. Most women’s wiring is more complex than ours and frequently shorts out at this level of operation, so I’ll leave them off the circuit board for a while, too … do not pass ‘go’, do not collect $200. What I’m referring to are basic guy things like a fascination with flashing lights, digital readouts, switches that go click and cars that go fast!
Some guys can sit for hours, staring at row of colored lights with the same fascination a child has for the shiny new quarter his Read the rest of this entry
I have a birthday coming up in a week or so and I’ve been reflecting upon my life, as we all do from time-to-time. It’s just that after a certain age those times occur more frequently … especially as you near the annual celebration of your parents’ fecundity.
It occurs to me that I’ve had three great women in my life: One who taught me what was possible, one who showed me what I didn’t want, and one that helped me find what I really needed. Most guys are lucky to experience even one great woman, so I guess I’ve been blessed with more than my share! They were all significant influences in making me the man I am today so if you have any complaints, in a few paragraphs, you’ll know who to blame. Read the rest of this entry