Christmas 2017


I am writing this September 29 almost three full months until Christmas Day and have deliberately posted on this Special Day. I think that for the past several years, I have written something about Christmas although never three months before the actual event.

Usually, my writing has been about the commercialization of this time of the year when the significance of Christmas is lost in the chase for the almighty dollar which sadly still reigns supreme for most of the country.

This is the end of September and the first signs of this dollar madness is already showing with ads for Christmas shopping already beginning to appear. The big box stores are already selling Christmas decorations and they are only waiting for Thanksgiving to be over before decorating those stores.  A lot of families who have been paying off their last years Christmas debt are hoping to have enough space on the same credit cards to repeat the process for this year. As for the kids, this is America so get them what they want. They deserve it as they are only young once. Never mind that the family is in debt to pay for the expensive goodies but if their buddy or closest friend has one, then they must have one, whatever it is.

Well, you know what, I refuse to rant and rave about it this year as I have in previous years. This is a time of reflection, of taking a good long look within yourself to see just how you as an individual, measure up. It’s not about the expensive gifts and toys that are forgotten immediately the celebrations are over or about the one upmanship that sadly intrudes upon our lives. This is all about loving thy neighbor, the guy across the street or the homeless man on the street corner who can always use a helping hand. This is a season of giving if no more than a word of thanks.

Lets celebrate Christmas the way it should be by sharing a part of us with those not so fortunate and I can guarantee that not only will each and everyone of us feel just a little bit better but that the world is a little better place.

Happy Holidays to one and all.

Written 9/27/2017

Christmas and growing up.


The Round School, Old Heathfield, England

When I was a young boy, many, many years ago growing up in England under the very difficult times of World War 11, Christmas had a whole different meaning than it does now.

My family was not particularly religious and never actively practised any faith as a family and for me, any contact that I had with religion was through my school and that was not very much. Sometimes, the whole school of probably not more than 50 kids of all ages, would visit the local protestant Church of England for a special services for this or that but that was the sum extent of my religious training. Although I have dabbled with several different religions over the years, I do not consider myself a very religious man.

ALL Saits Church

All Saints Church, Old Heathfield, England

Because of the shortages brought about by the War in Europe and also because traditionally, turkey was a real luxury, most English people would kill and cook a chicken from those that nearly every country household had. There would always be much preparation in the way of baking and cooking and mince pies and Christmas pudding were the order of the day. The Christmas pudding would contain silver sixpences so you had to be carefully not to bite down hard or you would risk losing or cracking a tooth, that is if you’re serving happened to have a sixpence. We made our own christmas decorations and went out to pick holly which we hung up indoors. If we were lucky enough to find mistletoe, it would be hung in the house and any unwary person would be subject to being kissed under the mistletoe, or maybe it was planned…

The same could be said about gifts nearly all of which would be handmade. A pair of knitted gloves or maybe a knitted scarf. Handmade wooden toys for the boys in the family and rag dolls for the girls. A really big item which my family did splurge on, were the christmas crackers that contained a novelty toy and a paper hat and these would be pulled at the Christmas Dinner. Everyone would wear their paper hats and blow the whistles and sing Christmas carols, or swap their toy for someone else’s and would create an atmosphere of fun and joviality.


Pulling crackers

The point is that no one expected anything expensive in the way of gifts. Families would come together just to sit down and have a meal on Christmas Day. The adults would drink sherry or maybe a beer and everyone would revel in the company of the others around them. The war would be forgotten for a little while. There was no television to hamper the proceedings and no other diversions other than that what we made for ourselves. It was not a bit unusual for some of the male adults to take a nap in one of the more comfortable chairs following the meal while the women of the family would clean up and wash the dishes. The kids kept themselves busy with their new gifts or played games of hide and seek and other youthful activities.

Life was much simpler back then and even though the war was going on all around us, Christmas Day was still a very special day. It wasn’t about how many or how expensive were the toys or how sumptuous the meal or the decor and the lights. There was no one upmanship and there was no outside lighting decorating the house in an attempt to outdo the neighbors. We were just grateful to be together as a family or with neighbors and friends and at least for this period in time, the war was forgotten.

Now, 80 years later when I look back on life back then and think how simple it really was as compared to today, there is much to be said for living in an uncomplicated world. Even with the advances that mankind has made in technology, health and a general way of life, I wonder if I am any better off than back in those war torn years when life was so very uncomplicated.

I guess I shall never know the answer to that question.



Boxing Day

I wrote this last year and decided to re-publish it.

As an ex-pat from England, I will spend tomorrow celebrating the day after Christmas as most British people do and that is to sit back and relax and spend the entire day feasting on left overs, drinking beer and watching game after game of football (with a round ball) on the English Premier League.  I am an ardent Man U fan.

The day after Christmas is known as Boxing Day in the UK to most and Saint Stephen’s Day to the religious. Most Brits think of it as another day off to recover from overeating and drinking on Christmas Day and of course, the opportunity to watch football. For those of you that want to know more about this holiday, read the article below from Wikipedia.

The exact etymology of the term “boxing” is unclear. There are several competing theories, none of which is definitive.[1] The European tradition, which has long included giving money and other gifts to those who were needy and in service positions, has been dated to theMiddle Ages, but the exact origin is unknown. It may come from a custom in the late Roman/early Christian era, wherein metal boxes placed outside churches were used to collect special offerings tied to the Feast of Saint Stephen,[2] which in the Western Church falls on the same day as Boxing Day.

In Britain, it was a custom for tradesmen to collect “Christmas boxes” of money or presents on the first weekday after Christmas as thanks for good service throughout the year.[3] This is mentioned in Samuel Pepys‘ diary entry for 19 December 1663.[4] This custom is linked to an older English tradition: Since they would have to wait on their masters on Christmas Day, the servants of the wealthy were allowed the next day to visit their families. The employers would give each servant a box to take home containing gifts and bonuses, and sometimes leftover food.



Blue Rose

Blue Rose

The sun shines on a cold winters day
and New Years is not far away
another year is ready to start
and each of us will play our part
acting out this game of life
in a world full of strife.

What will a New Year bring to this world
who will live and who will die
how many fortunes will be won
or lost as fate dictates.

What will it take for us to see
how many lifetimes of which we have one
for us to make a better world
that with each other we all agree.

Cold Weather

Snow in New York State

Snow in New York State

I do not like the cold
maybe because I’m getting old
it creeps under my very skin
and seems to freeze me from within
I have to put on extra clothes
as the cold gets to my toes
and long pants instead of shorts
to keep my legs warm as I walk.

My beautiful garden will soon be gone
leaving me to clean up the mess
as the frost kills the lush growth
and  drooping plants is all that remains
I feel so sad to see them gone
but glad to know they are not dead
and when springtime comes around
they will again raise their lovely heads.

In the ponds as the water cools
and dormant soon the fish will be
as the cold weather gives them stress
and Nature slows their bodies down
and on the bottom they will stay
until the water warms  in May.

The cold has come early this year
usually December it appears
but when a storm across the Mid West
it will always be a test
for there is nothing in between
except flat land and prairie wide
open to the sky for the wind to bring
cold weather with no end in sight
to freeze my bones, keep me indoors
and give me a chance to sit and write

I should not really complain
as winter here is usually mild
a couple of days of frost here and there
and maybe sometimes a little ice rain
but Spring for us will start early March
and by then things will already be green
but I still do not like the cold
and it’s not because I am growing old.

I just don’t like it…

Thoughts on this time of the year.

Sunset in Texas

Sunset in Texas

Another year has almost gone
with us wondering where it did go
it flew by so fast with nary a sound
no explanations to tell us so
one day follows another as it should be
after the next at breakneck speed
and it seemed not so long ago
that it was like an eternity
as the days went slowly by
and filled our hearts with joy

It seemed like only yesterday
that I celebrated in my own way
my birthday which in January comes
and here we are a year passed by
and if on my birthday I wake to see
a year older I shall be.

Where did it go all of those days
how did I spend them, in my own way
or did others tell me what to do
of this I know for I am sure
that I chose how I was engrossed
doing the things I like the most.

With the New Year comes new hope
for accomplishments in the things we try
resolutions set with good intent
with extra effort in our mind
to do the things that we have resolved
we need to change for reasons why
we cannot fathom and yet we believe
and ourselves we do deceive
as in faith and in fate and chance to try
to be different if we apply.

Me, I no longer resolve to be
a better this or a different that
or to lose weight or give up booze
or not waste money on trivial things
to eat better and read more books
and spend more time in the gym
drink less coffee of the Starbucks kind.
and get to bed each night at nine.

No, the only thing that I resolve
is to first wake up to start the day
and to give thanks in my own way
that I opened my eyes and have my say
in this game of life for I’m ready to play
to live life to the fullest to give it my best
and trust Mother Nature to do the rest
and I will do the best that I can
to help her out with her Grand Plan.

Oh yes, Happy New Year

Some Thoughts on the Season…

English: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! E...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Twenty thirteen has almost gone
and with it another year has passed
the time flies by so quickly and yet
all we are left are the memories
some good some bad some in between
of things that happened in twenty thirteen.

When we look back what do we see
things that happened to you and me
new life fresh into this world
to carry on the human race
taking the place of those who have passed
to the other side.

My heart goes out to those who have lost
a brother or sister, father or wife
and we all hope that in their other life
they will find peace at last.

For those of us that still remain
life will not be the same
but we continue on running the race
at our usual demonic pace
for that is the way it has always been
as life ebbs and flows.

When the New Year comes in a few days
will everything still be the same
probably not for we all know
that with each moment older we grow
we slow a little as we move
and forget things that we should know
even more with the passing of time
we run our life just as though
the next minute will be our last.

One thing I would like to say
to all of my friends I met on the way
and those friends I have still to meet
as we pass by in the street
Merry Christmas I say to one and all
and Happy New Year and may it bring
all that you wish along the way
with each passing day
good health and happiness and maybe too
good fortune in everything you do.