Tag Archive | holidays

A Christmas Thought…

Merry Christmas!

 

With very few exceptions, Christmas has been a season when people put aside differences both petty … and not so petty.

We’ve welcomed each other in thought and in presence … we’ve done so without reservations. No identity relationship has mattered, no visible difference, no qualification as to where we live, no reservation based on ideology.

It’s been a time when we all can look at our fellow humans with understanding, kindness, charity, and dare I say it … love?

Isn’t it sad?

There is pressure to put an end to this season of goodwill.

It comes from all around us and inundates us like a tsunami destroying that feeling of happiness and peace that accompanies the magic I associate with a simple phrase … “Merry Christmas.”

What I see on TV, what I read, what I hear … and worse, how I see us treat each other during this season of what I see as a period of truce, convinces me that some wish to steal from us the most valuable thing we have.

Our collective humanity.

Listening to pontificating TV commentators and politicians this morning occasioned a thought.

I refuse to allow others to rob my sense of humanity. I will NOT reject people who differ from me, in any way, based on narrowness of vision and selfish views of life.

Humanity’s laws do not require that we think the same.

Because someone does not agree with my political outlook, social values, or other personal beliefs, does not give me the right to value them any less as a human.

Certainly, the reverse is true.

My personal set of values does not devalue me.

With this thought in mind, I’ve decided not to allow the rhetoric of division and derision to destroy my enjoyment of fellow human beings this Christmas. I hope I have the wisdom to maintain this state of mind far past this season of goodwill.

I will not assign a negative value to a person with whom I disagree most vehemently. I will proudly retain my thoughts, understanding that people will differ. Disagreement with another simply means I have to be tolerant of them. I’ll strive to remember those who see only one point of view … those who resort to labels and vitriol in response to opposing ideas, lack the intelligence to reason and refute. I’ll react to them with the pity and understanding those with such narrow intellectuality require.

I will put the atmosphere of recrimination aside, hope they will, and if not, ignore the “slings and arrows.”

Can I persuade some of you who read this to adopt this thought? Let’s make this a “Merry Christmas!”

 

“On the avenue, Christmas Avenue…

 

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Bringing Joy to little hearts…

Will he ever come? Listen for the bells!

 

One of the nicer traditions I’ve heard that people have concocted for Christmas is one I’d like to relate now. Several years ago, the Geezer and Mrs. G lived in a neighborhood that never saw snow at Christmas. In fact, it never saw snow at all. Oh, maybe in some very unusual condition…never isn’t a good word to use. South central Florida may see a few flakes every so many years, but… It was at a friendly family neighborhood get-together this tradition was born.

Most of its residents gathered for a party at the house of one of its season’s celebrators. Dishes of all kinds of food and treats lined tables. Toddlers and children filled the swimming pool under the watchful eye of three high school girls who volunteered for that purpose. High schoolers played basketball in the driveway. The adults laughed at each other’s jokes as they consumed as much Christmas spirit as they shared. It was midway through the gaiety that one of the seven-year-olds, accompanied by two Santa believers, demanded the answer to a question. To the clink of cocktail glasses he demanded. “Daddy, you always said we couldn’t see Santa, but we would know he came because we could see his reindeer’s tracks in the snow. There isn’t any snow here. How will we know he really came to our house?”

The adults stared at each other. A family concoction to explain Santa’s supply line had developed a flat tire. There were several “ummms” and “ahhhs” until one man said, “That’s simple. Just listen for the bells. Santa has bells on his sleigh and on the deer. Just listen and you’ll hear them when he comes.” A sigh of relief burst from the collection of moms and dads as one prevarication obscured another. The young believers would be sleeping soundly. Every adult would swear he’d heard Santa’s bells during the night. After the placated children returned to splashing in the pool, a concerned mom asked, “That was good Bob, but what if one stays awake to see if you were lying?”

“Oh, I wasn’t. Santa’s sleigh has bells. You just have to believe and listen for them.” All were satisfied.

Mrs. G heard them first. Jing, jing, jing. jing. At first, it was barely audible. The Grandfather clock in our house’s hall intertwined its twelve midnight ‘bongs’ with the jing-a-lings from what were clearly bells. The Geezer and Mrs. G sprang from the bed to see what made the clatter. As the peered out the window, lights went on in other windows as people woke to see what was the matter. The Geezer smiled and pronounced, “Merry Christmas, it’s jogger bells.” As long as we lived in the neighborhood we enjoyed and treasured the tradition. It made children believe. It made adults warm their hearts several degrees.

Even today, 50 years after, Mrs. G listens for the bells and hopes. Let’s all begin to enjoy the season.

 

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Remember…with JOY!

The holidays are on the way – It’s time to those remember those we have loved.

Christmas always awakens memories in us. Of times past. Of friends past. Of friends gone. I browsed through my photo file with this in mind. At first, my reaction was sadness. The sense of loss depressed me. Then I realized how foolish I was being. How fortunate I have been to have had such love in my life! I’d encourage all of you to look back, think of those loved, and lift a joyous glass to have had the privilege of their company. Memories are treasures!

Super Trooper a real lover

 

My friend for 13 years, Oreo.

 

Dan the fan asking DL, “When is your next book coming out!”

 

Chet “Coach on the left, the Geezer in the middle, and Miss Betty right – once in a lifetime friends

 

Missy #1 our loved friend for 23 years.

 

Sister Gracie Walag

 

My beloved Sandy

With profound joy and happiness…A toast to you all. Thank you for some of the finest moments of my life.

 

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The Haunted Dog House!

“OOOOHHHH” A haunted dog house

Chant to the rhythm of the ‘Volga Boatman.’

The haunted dog house!

The haunted dog house!

Yes…there is a haunted dog house.

Eyes shine within it!

Eyes shine within it! 

Cats go in and never leave it.

The dog was vicious!

The dog was vicious!

It ate postman’s legs on golden dishes.

Dog catchers tremble!

Dog catchers tremble!

The ghost chased their truck into ditches.

It buries victims!

It buries victims!

It digs more graves than MacBeth’s witches.

What finally killed it?

What finally killed it?

No one knows, but it exploded.

It looked so terrible!

It looked so horrible!

Click this link if you want to see it!

 

 

The wonders of Christmas from a puppies POV…

Brandi experiences her first Christmas

My protegee is wide-eyed and bushy-tailed as she gets her first taste of Christmas in the Geezer’s house. The sights, sounds, smells and tastes provide new delights. Brandi’s very first Christmas contact were with the lights that decorate the outside of our house. The Geezer unwrapped them, laid the string on the floor, and test lit the lights. Twenty-five feet of green wire and blue bulbs were something she’d not imagined. Brandi asked, “What’s that?”

I replied, “Those are Christmas lights to decorate the house. It tells everybody we love Christmas and we want to share our happiness with them.” Brandi sniffed a couple of the bulbs, then tried to eat one. The Geezer scolded her. “You can’t eat everything,” I cautioned.

She answered, “I can try.”

What’s left we get! Well…some of it.”

“Oh, you’ll love Christmas,” I told her, “I have one word for you. Leftovers!”

“What’s that?” she inquired.

“When the humans eat on that day, they fix a lot more than they can eat. What’s left over, we get! Well…some of it. Even you can’t eat that much, Brandi.”

“Want to bet?”

I’ve seen her dispose of food. She works like a highspeed conveyor emptying into a bottomless pit. I said, “I’ll pass on that offer.”

Grandma made this. We treasure the opportunity to honor her each Christmas

The next thing she noticed was the banner pinned in place over the front door. Brandi asked, “All the other decorations are shiny and new looking. That one looks old. Why did the humans put that up?”

“Christmas is a time for humans to remember. They keep things that remind them of others and the good times and love they shared.” I pointed to some old ornaments on the tree. “Those remind them of aunts, uncles and special friends. It’s a very good tradition.”

“What’s tradition?”

I thought for a few seconds then answered in terms I thought Brandi would understand. “It’s something you do that reminds you of what you are and where you came from.”

“Like AKC registration papers?” Brandi asked.

“Not exactly, but close.”

Brandi’s new favorite place

It turned a little cooler that evening and Mrs. G stoked up the fireplace. Brandi asked, “What’s she doing?”

“Notice it is colder tonight? Well, humans make a fire to warm up the house. In Florida that isn’t often, but it is nice and comfy when they do. Fireplaces are associated with Christmas, too.” I decided the concept of Santa and chimneys would create information overload for the pup.

“I’m going to like Christmas,” Brandi promptly curled up in front of the fire and went to sleep. Isn’t youth wonderful?

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May your turkey be juicy…your potatoes mashed…and your football team victorious

What comes to mind on Thanksgiving? This is one thing!

 

Happy Thanksgiving! As I pound the keyboard, the turkey lies thawing in the sink, Mrs. G is fussing over her last second grocery list, and the Geezer is formulating a precise plan to maximize the number of football games he can watch on Turkey Day. The year 2020 has been hard to find much for which to be thankful. Maybe the item we can agree on to be thankful for most, is this damned year is almost over.

Over is the key word. Despite all the political bull-crap, we’re close to having a vaccine to control and get us over the Covid-19 virus the Chinese donated to the world. Hopefully, the violence in many American cities is over. The stupid-season is past, and the filth burning and looting didn’t help their cause. Most importantly, the election is over! It’s over! It’s over. IT”S OVER!! No more lies from politicians. Well, at least, less lies. No polls that have no basis in reality. No more mind pollution from the saturation of  TV with garbage election adds. Please, will you worthless idiots in the media keep you mouths shut for a while and give us some peace. At least, let us have our holidays without your constant fermenting of unrest! The election farce is past!

Let’s look forward. Ahhhh. Next year. Let’s hope we can burn those cursed masks. Watch the NCAA basketball tournament…in person. Have dinner at our favorite restaurants. See The Masters with spectators. Visit our favorite state park. Enjoy a full football season. Swim at the beach. Visit the library. Go to the gym. Drink a margarita at our favorite watering hole. Watch a selective earthquake that swallows all past and present politicians and Washington bureaucrats. Well, somethings are too good to hope for. Happy Thanksgiving from Sandy and Brandi……..

Happy Turkey Day!!!

Ditto!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Aunt Gilda’s Christmas Gift

The Geezer and I wish you all a very “Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!”

It’s time for my annual Christmas and Holiday greeting to all my friends…four and two legged. The Geezer has written a new one that I’m sure you’ll enjoy!

 

Aunt Gilda’s Christmas Gift

 

If I could relive one day of my life…at one place…whenever I wished, it would be at my Aunt Gilda’s home on Christmas morning 1968. I learned something that morning; one of the most important bits of wisdom I’d ever receive.

The year 1968 had not been a good one for our family. My older brother went to Vietnam and died there, early in the year. Resulting stress took its toll on our whole family. My sisters, both older, were very close to Eddie. The loss nearly destroyed them both. Their wrath focused on my parents whom they believed allowed Eddie to enlist. My father’s health went from vibrant to precarious after a mysterious malady struck him. He would not find the cure in the bottle that caused it. Mother struggled to keep what she possessed in-tact. That was difficult. Both my sisters were in a state of uncontrollable rebellion, her husband a tottering drunk, and I…I had become convinced that love was something I didn’t want. From what I saw, love was simply a transitory, conditional thing that eventually caused pain.

Aunt Gilda was special to me. My mother’s sister, she was several years older than my parents. Gilda wasn’t a stranger to life’s disappointments and tragedies. Her husband died in World War Two. She had no children. She never remarried. After a brief period earning a living as a nightclub performer, she settled into first managing, then owning a small restaurant. It suited her. Despite a fire, hard economic times, and a violent robbery, she persevered and prospered. She was happy sharing life with friends and her two Golden Retrievers.

I was her surrogate child and she was my favorite aunt. So, when things reached a crises in our household that December, I was sent to stay with Aunt Gilda for the holidays. My mother needed fewer problems and I was one that could be removed from her over-stuffed basket. Two weeks before Christmas, my aunt greeted me with a warm smile as I walked out of the airport gate. My twelve-year-old mind only processed the material aspect of my stay. Gilda was a great cook, generous to a fault, and fun to be around. My first evening there, Aunt Gilda discovered that as we sat in front of her huge fireplace.

“I’m sorry you don’t have your parents and sisters here. I know you’ll miss their love.” Gilda shoved a plate of pecan pralines at me.

I greedily grabbed a few of the sweet candies and said, “Thanks, Aunt Gilda. These pralines are a good substitute.”

“Jerry, you don’t mean that! There is never a substitute for the love we share.”

I casually said what I felt, “I don’t know Aunt Gilda. It seems to me that love always has a string on it. If things go bad, it can be jerked away. It’s kind of like the way my sisters play with their cat. They tie a piece of paper on the end of a piece of string. They let the cat chase it until they get tired. That’s the end of it. If things go bad or get boring, love just goes away. Dad says love is just another four letter word.”

My aunt examined my face but said nothing for several seconds. Finally, she said, “I’ll have to think about that for a while.” I was to get her rebuttal Christmas morning.

“Get up, Jerry,” my aunt said as she pried me from the bed much earlier than I expected. Presents! What was I waiting for? I rolled out of bed and took a few steps toward the bedroom door before she stopped me. “Whoa!” She grinned and I noticed a sheet and a huge red bow draped over one of her arms. “I have to wrap you before I give you away,” she said.

“Huh?” I was surprised and confused.

Gilda smiled as she covered me with the sheet, grasping both hands so they would extend uncovered. When she finished, I was encased in a white cloth “package” with the red bow pinned to the sheet. “You’ll make a great present!” Was I really going to be someone’s gift? She said, “Come with me,” and led me to whatever awaited. I could smell the pine as we entered the living room and stood next to the Christmas tree.

I heard strange noises. After a few seconds, I decided they came from my Aunt’s two dogs. She asked, “Are you ready?”

No one answered, so I decided I should. I murmured, “I guess I am.”

“Good…Buster, meet Jerry. He’s your Christmas present.” Simultaneously, I felt something soft, warm, and furry being placed in my hands. And, it was moving around. My fingers circled a small body between four legs.  Aunt Gilda snatched the sheet away. I was staring into the eyes of a golden retriever pup.

Back when I was a puppy ……

Aunt Gilda spoke to the puppy, not me. “What do you think, Buster? Do you want to keep him? He’ll likely be a pain in the ass to train. He has no idea that to love something or someone it has to be unconditional. No strings…no if’s…no anything. He’ll need to learn to take you with him most everywhere he goes, the proper way to scratch behind your ears, and what your favorite treats are. Test him a time or two…leave a few messes for him to clean up. Want to give it a shot?”

Buster whimpered a little, took his eyes off me, stared at Aunt Gilda for a few seconds, then focused on me before issuing a baby bark, indicating he’d accept the challenge.

Aunt Gilda looked at me. “It seems Buster is willing to give it a try. How about you, Jerry?”

I would have the thought the smile on my face would have answered her question, but I enthusiastically answered, “Sure!”

“Hold him to your chest and let him enter your heart.” I did, and Aunt Gilda said words I’ve never forgotten.

“Jerry, when you take someone into your heart and decide to love them, it’s a decision you can’t cancel, though sometimes you may wish you could. That’s the reason you make the decision to love carefully. Buster will provide you with unconditional love if you do the same for him. Love wisely, love unbreakably and you will love happily.”

Merry Christmas Friends

 

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Do I hear sleigh bells? Or is it Gobble, Gobble?

I’m thinking the season is coming. No, I don’t have a red nose. I do like turkey!

Okay. I’m rushing it. In my defense, it’s hard not to. The Geezer and I have made several social calls in the last few weeks. As far back as November 3rd, we observed multitudes of colored lights appearing on porches, around windows, on bushes, even circling palms in some of our neighbors’ yards. The Thanksgiving turkey hasn’t met the Guillotine and people already are checking the northern sky for the fat man in the red suit.

With all the stores dressing for Christmas right after the 4th of July, it’s no wonder you humans allow your ‘not always strong’ minds to wander ahead. Aaahhhhh, try to remember all those store owners decorate their home Christmas trees with dollar signs. Get a grip. Remember that holiday that comes before Santa?

It’s THANKSGIVING! …… Not turkey day, diet abstinence day, football forever day, or “oh, no, not Uncle Pete!” day.

In your rush to get to that ultimate season of joy, you humans have a tendency to brush past Thanksgiving like the first Salvation Army kettle you spy outside Walmart’s exit. Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time of reflection and appreciation for the good fortune that has entered our lives. At least, that was the jest of Lincoln’s reason for creating it as a formal holiday. What has it become to some of us?

Turkey’s dread it! With such an attractive, pleasant, ugly, face. Its hard, easy, to understand its murder.

The compulsory day of gluttony – can heartburn be far behind?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You humans consider it a day to eat enough to increase your waist size so you can justify that new Christmas wardrobe. Green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, steaming baked biscuits, yams, wine, calorie-stuffed desserts, and…of course…turkey! Thanksgiving is a national day of mourning for the bird with the big chest. It’s been raised and hunted by men for that virtue (though some ladies can sympathize with that) since the pilgrims landed. When you think “Thanksgiving,” you have to think, “Fat!” with it.

To many, particularly men, it has become a day to participate in a marathon, a football watching marathon. The tube works overtime as you crush couches and consume untold unneeded calories. The potato chips, dip, little Smokies, and chocolate chip cookies are washed down with floods of Pepsi and Coors. Basketball has competed for a share of the audience. It won’t happen. Watching thin men in shorts works on the conscience more than watching fat men in pads. Humans don’t like to be reminded of their mistakes.

Fascinated by the tube, you human zombies eat snacks like a garbage disposal.

To those of us who reside with you humans, Thanksgiving is leftover appreciation day. Yes, it is a great day for pets. I’m less fussy than either the Geezer or Mrs. G. White meat, dark meat…frankly, I don’t give a damn. (I’ve always had a crush on old Clark Gable).

To the sound of music — “It was anticipation…”

Take your pick–“After the ball is over,” “Happy Days are here again!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To all of you have a HAPPY THANKSGIVING! (And try to remember why we celebrate it!)

 

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Have a HAPPY FOURTH!

Happy 4th of July, Everyone!

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!

The Geezer was sitting on the porch sipping coffee this AM. Florida this time of year dictates any time outdoors is best spent in the early AM hours. Well, not so early as to offer yourself up as a mosquito and sand fly buffet. Here on Pine Island it will be “ninety by noon.” The humidity is high or “thick” as our neighbor describes it. By early afternoon the air becomes slice-able.

 His mind was wandering off, somewhere; there was a sad look in his eye. I placed my head under his arm and nudged. “Oh, hi Sandy,” he smiled and scratched behind my ears. That’s his usual greeting.

“Mornin’ Geezer. I thought I’d bring you back home. It looked like you were far away.”

“I was, Sandy.”

“Where were you?”

“It wasn’t where, it was when.” He shifted in his chair to watch an Osprey fly over. “That’s free.” He turned his head back, and said, “The ‘when’ was the time when the people in the US understood what a great place we have to live. I love this country. I always will. When you’ve traveled the world you have an idea of what is important. It’s right here. If you don’t like here, one of the great things about this country is that you are free to leave.”

“Hold on Geezer, part of this country is its dedication to be able to criticize and seek to make changes. Isn’t that what freedom is all about?”

“You are exactly correct!” The Geezer took a deep breath. “Part of that freedom is not being silenced by those who disagree with you. Unfortunately, people are losing track of that fact.”

“Are you pessimistic about where the country is headed? I’m not.” I added, “The pendulum swings both ways.”

The Geezer smiled, “You know you’re right. It’s up to us old humans and old canines to keep reminding people. Now, Sandy, if someone tells you not to bark, what are you going to do?”

“Bark louder!”

The Geezer held up his coffee cup and said, “A toast to our wonderful country on her birthday!” He took a sip.

“I second that!” I said, but then asked, “Doesn’t that have to be wine or something?”

“Why it is! In fact it’s better than that, it’s a diversity drink. It’s Irish Coffee made from beans grown in Africa and whiskey made in Kentucky.”

Have a happy Fourth!

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Another way to look at our flag.

Happy 4th of July, Everyone!

 

A cool dip on the hot 4th!

Mrs. G getting ready for the parade.

The Geezer took me to an early 4th of July parade. I always ask lots of questions. Watching the parade pass prompted many. Our conversation, part of it, was as follows:

I asked, “Geezer, are fire engines painted red because that’s the color of fire?

The Geezer answered. “No, but I’ve heard two reasons why fire-engines are painted red. One is that early firemen were proud of their trucks and so they painted them the most expensive color available in the late 1800’s. But … The reason I think makes more sense was that most early automobiles were painted black. Firemen in the late 1800’s wanted it to be easy for people to see them coming when they raced to a fire so they painted their trucks red, a color not used on cars back then.

That was good info for my next trivia contest. I decided to ask a question I knew the answer to just to hear the old boy pontificate, “Geezer, why do you humans have fire-engines in a parade, play all that Souza music, and set off fireworks, and wave all those flags, on the 4th of July?”

Geezer grinned and said, “The 4th of July is our country’s birthday so we Americans celebrate it just like we celebrate your birthday on January 18th. But, you knew that, Sandy.”

I complained, “It’s different. My birthday only rates a bluegrass band and the parade consists of Mr. Smith’s pickup and boat trailer.” A band came around the corner, all with flags attached to their hats. “Wow, there are a lot of flags. Why do you humans have flags, anyway?”

Geezer answered, “All people have flags as symbols of their country. We have the stars and stripes, Japan has a rising sun, Canada has a Maple leaf. Those symbols say something about their country.”

“Why do we have the stars and stripes for America?” I asked.

The Geezer thought for a few seconds and then answered, “Sandy, most people will tell you the stars stand for each state we have in our nation and that thirteen stripes stand for the original thirteen colonies that declared their independence. That is true. But …… I’m going to give another reason, one that I believe is as important. I see those stripes as stairs that our country offers to all its citizens, who are willing to do the work to climb them, to reach the stars above.

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For information on the “Possibilities! The Hudson comes to the Peace” writers conference, go to http://www.abc-artisansofbooks.com or https://southwestfloridawritersconference.godaddysites.com .

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