Thanksgiving Day is a mere 10 days away and Christmas but 38, so the snow trumpets that Winter is neigh and the Holidays begin.
Today I awoke early, knowing that snow was predicted and I wanted to watch the morning arise with the glistening white mantle adorning trees, lawn and all man-made features that seem almost a work of art when snow clings to every untouched nook and cranny it can find.
Years past I would have put on some Christmas records, or years later Christmas cassettes or then CD’s, but now I just turn on my tablet, pick Pandora One and the room is filled with choruses proclaiming the joy of Advent.
So many wonders, changes and marvels have happened since my first Christmas of 1946.
I’ve never really understood my fascination with Christmas. Never quite understood why out of my parents and I, out of my Grandparents, Uncles and Aunts, it is I who feels a kindred spirit to all things Christmas.
When I was a young man, and no longer living at home, every Christmas Eve I would call my American Grandparents, all my Uncles and Aunts to wish them a Merry Christmas, then I’d call my Grandparents, Aunt and Uncle in England to wish them a Happy Holiday.
Needless to say, you could hear the surprise in most of my relatives voices when they heard me on the other end of the phone.
My greatest joy was the first Christmas I spent In England. I was 21 and I remember that Christmas Eve as I walked to the Church and it started to snow just like watching the snow fall this morning.
What a wonder for this Dickens’ personality. This “Irish rough.” This “Medieval Spirit.” To look out across the rolling fields and see the moon shining off the falling snow, as it landed on country lanes and hedgerows.
Several years, after I returned from the service, my parents found out that I was “Gay” and I was asked not to come home and it was Christmas time.
So over the many years that followed, no matter where I was, I would put up a tree, listen to Christmas music and cook my self a turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes and corn.
After doing the dishes I would sit, eat a piece of fruit cake, drink a glass of sherry and smoke my pipe while I watched TV.
Oh yes, and I still called all the relatives on Christmas Eve, but now, I added my parents to that list.
When I was 28, my Father died shortly after that Christmas we spent a part. I do remember my phone call to wish my parents a Happy Holiday and Dad’s voice, weak and throaty from the cancer saying that he “loved me.” It was one of the very few times my Dad used the word love and even in that sad time, it was a wonderful Christmas gift.
Mom and I still were distant until my early 40’s. So many more Christmases a part.
Even the calls to the relatives became fewer as they passed away but no matter where I was I still put up the tree, cooked the turkey and made the trimmings for Christmas.
In 1989 I met Bob. His family didn’t celebrate the Holiday. So our first Christmas was spent together at a restaurant we found that was open.
In 1990 my Mom asked me what I was doing for Christmas? By then Bob and I had a small apartment and were planning to celebrate together. I explained that to Mom and she invited me to her house and she invited Bob to join us, knowing he had no place to go for Christmas. We took Mom up on the offer.
Mom treated Bob like family. Tho she never inquired or asked about our relationship, tho still was obviously not happy about me being gay.
Every Christmas after that, Mom made sure that she asked me to come “home” for Christmas and to “bring Bob.”
A couple of weeks after Christmas of 1993, Mom passed away in her sleep. She had heart problems.
The night she passed, it was bitterly cold. I had stopped by to run and pick up some items for her. After having a cup of tea I got ready to leave. She said, “Hey lad, give us a hug,” and then added as she reached her arms around me, “I love you and tell Bob I love him too.”
So many Christmas missed, but with one hug, one “I love you,” they all were forgotten and I was a child again.
Guess I can’t end this post without saying that for the last 26 Christmases I have not been alone. Both Bob and I have been together and celebrate the “magical season” of Christmas.
Dad, I miss and love you.
Mom, I miss and love you.
Bob, Merry Christmas!
I find myself agreeing about 75% of the time with Joe Scarborough and siding with Mika, Barnicle and Roberts more times than not.
As I was watching the other morning, going in and out of boredom on the topic of GOP “landslide” that happened on Tuesday, November 4th, I heard Mike Barnicle make a comment that just didn’t ring true and one being perpetuated on Fox News.
He stated that the stock market reacted in a “record-setting fashion on Wednesday and Thursday” because of the “Republican victories.”
Let us take a layman’s look at the Market and Obama’s Presidency.
1) When President Obama took office the Market was at 7,949.
2) Four years later after his first term, and obstructionist Congress, the Market closed at 12,730, which is a 60% increase.
3) Friday, October 30th, 2014, the Market closed at a record level and a +195 point increase and ending the week before the so called Republican “whooping” of the President.
4) On Monday, November 3rd, 2014, the Market closed 17390 which was a +1.2% increase and this was the day before the election.
5) Now, granted on Wednesday November 5th the Market was up +101 points and on Thursday November 6th it was up +130 points. But this is only consistent with the general trend of the Market under this President. Both those increases fall shorter than the previous Friday’s 195 point increase.
6) Under President Obama, the Stock Market has gone from 7949.09 at the start of his Presidency, to a closing on Monday, November 10th of 17,573.93 and all this with a Congress determined to obstruct, hate monger and belittle.
So Mike Barnicle, and Fox News in general, cherry pick your figures for slanted arguments but even the layman can see the total picture that Business Economy is surviving and flourishing.
I am a romantic! Just look at my favorite authors: William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Keats, Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley. Even my favorite author Dickens has the romantic flair.
Over the years I have been called, “An Irish Rouge”, “A Medieval Master”, “A Don Quixote tilting with windmills”, and even my own Mother called me a “13th Century Monk in Modern Dress.” I’m the “odd relative” that gets the wink and a nod when talked about at family gatherings, but it is my nature, it is my being, it is me, whether understood or not, it is genuine.
This week, I find that an adventure started 25 years ago will become a moment to celebrate and to pause in wonderment. On Wednesday, Robert and myself will mark 25 years together and one year married…tho not yet recognized in our own State of Ohio.
Those who know me, know my tendency to be wordy, yet all I can say is that Robert is my “Rock.”
As a young man in the service, I prayed for two things to happen in my life.
The first was that I would get to England and meet my Grandparents, who I had never seen, before they died. That prayer was answered shortly after my 21st birthday, when I was shipped to an RAF base near Banbury England.
The second part of that prayer was that I would find someone who would love me and that I could love back. I waited 27 frustrating years till that happened. “A day dream’t of and almost forgotten.”
Robert, “May I always dance the Anniversary Waltz with you.”
Originally posted on All Alone in a Crowd:
Where do dreamers go,
when there’s no more dreams
or when Mothers, roses and innocent days are gone?
Where do dreamers go,
when there’s no more sunbeams
or when unicorns, special smells and memories fade?
Where do dreamers go,
when their tired of sleeping alone
or when fireplaces, hayrides and romantic walks are in the movies?
Where do dreamers go
when their all grown up?
As a first generation American on my Mother’s side, and third generation American on my Father’s side, I’ve watched with interest the rush to our Southern border by the many children fleeing for their lives from lawless, corrupt and drug influenced Nations in Central America.
I’ve also noticed that once again the “far-right” has high jacked the verbiage used to describe this crisis.
The right has a knack for screwing the message with words.
Take the Affordable Care Act as an example as it became Obama Care.
There are many other examples of how they define their arguments but that would be for another post.
At this time I want just to discuss the issue which is a humanitarian issue and not one of immigration.
Would we tolerate the actions as recently seen in California by, let us say, the residents of Jordan with the influx of Palestinians, or say the residents of Egypt and those fleeing the war in Gaza?
Across the world we have help the UN to set up refugee camps but here we turn our back on helpless, afraid and in many cases children by themselves.
The conservatives tout religion and especially the Christian values as a cornerstone to the founding of this Republic and I ask, where is that cornerstone now?
It has even been suggested that “Jesus would be in favor of deportation” of these children but no mention of the Jesus who said, “Suffer the little children unto me.”
Many of these children once across the river into America, stand on the shore waiting to be picked up. Not fleeing but waiting for help.
Those who have made it stand with hope, with dreams and with courage.
They have endured a hazardous journey to be free from fear, want, rape and death.
Illegal Immigrants or Refugees? A border crisis or a humanitarian need?
Judge Hand is also called America’s first “free speech judge” and his expertise on “tort law” is still used by the courts today.
The following is his speech presented in New York’s Central Park in 1944 during “I AM an American Day”. Later to be published in his 1946 book entitled The Spirit of Liberty.
Of course I am partial to the dynamics of his speech but I truly feel that it’s one to be shared again and again, for it loses nothing over the time of years since it’s utterance.
We have gathered here to affirm a faith, a faith in a common purpose, a common conviction, a common devotion.
Some of us have chosen America as the land of our adoption; the rest have come from those who did the same. For this reason we have some right to consider ourselves a picked group, a group of those who had the courage to break from the past and brave the dangers and the loneliness of a strange land. What was the object that nerved us, or those who went before us, to this choice? We sought liberty – freedom from oppression, freedom from want, freedom to be ourselves. This then we sought; this we now believe that we are by way of winning. What do we mean when we say that first of all we seek liberty? I often wonder whether we do not rest our hopes too much upon constitutions, upon laws, and upon courts. These are false hopes; believe me, these are false hopes. Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it; no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it. While it lies there, it needs no constitution, no law, no court to save it. And what is this liberty which must lie in the hearts of men and women? It is not the ruthless, the unbridled will; it is not freedom to do as one likes. That is the denial of liberty, and leads straight to its overthrow. A society in which men recognize no check upon their freedom soon becomes a society where freedom is the possession of only a savage few – as we have learned to our sorrow.
What then is the spirit of liberty?
I cannot define it; I can only tell you my own faith. The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which seeks to understand the minds of those men and women; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which weighs their interest alongside its own without bias; the spirit of liberty remembers that not even a sparrow falls to earth unheeded; the spirit of liberty is the spirit of him who, near two thousand years ago, taught mankind that lesson it has never learned, but has never quite forgotten – that there may be a kingdom where the least shall be heard and considered side-by-side with the greatest. And now in that spirit, that spirit of an American which has never been, and which may never be – nay, which never will be except as the conscience and courage of Americans create it – yet in the spirit of America which lies hidden in some form in the aspirations of us all; in the spirit of that America for which our young men are at this moment fighting and dying; in that spirit of liberty and of America so prosperous, and safe, and contented, we shall have failed to grasp its meaning, and shall have been truant to its promise, except as we strive to make it a signal, a beacon, a standard to which the best hopes of mankind will ever turn; In confidence that you share that belief, I now ask you to raise you hand and repeat with me this pledge:
I pledge allegiance to the flag and to the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands–One nation, Indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.*
*Under God was added to the pledge in 1954.
I truly wish the political factions of today would heed the very wise words of this progressive and far sighted jurist.