A Birthday without balloons
Christmas Day and I have a confession to make. I never once believed in Santa Clause, or St Nick or Father Christmas, or any of those childhood supposed staples, and neither did my children. And I am a Christian and yes, I do celebrate Christmas. Big Time!
Am I nuts? You be the judge.
At Christmas time, we delight in finding the perfect gift for the other person. Then we wrap it so that the receiver does not know ahead of time what it is. The gift does not have to be expensive, just correct.
One year my youngest wanted a derby hat. That year all of his gifts, whether new socks, a new tee shirt or the hat, were wrapped like a hat, each one of them. I think he had seven hats that year, but only one was The Hat. The focus was always on the gift given not the gifts received. I still wake up on Christmas Day anticipating the look on someone’s face when they open my gift to them.
I guess my family’s tradition started two generations ago. My Grandfather owned a small pharmacy in a small town. It was late on Christmas Eve, he was about to close up, when a lady and a little girl about five came into the store. The woman needed a prescription filled for her very ill husband.
Those were the days when a pharmacist actually compounded the medicine right there in the drugstore. While Grandpa was working to do just that, the skinny little girl looked at the almost empty shelves where Grandpa displayed Christmas toys. Wistfully she whispered to her mother. The mother shook her head. They could not afford the medicine and the doll that the little girl pointed to. The child’s shoulders drooped.
When the medicine was done, Grandpa came around the counter and bent down to talk to the little girl.
“That doll is very lonely, and it is a little dirty too from all of the children that have touched it. Do you think you could take it home and clean it up and love it?”
The little girl stood straighter and taller. Her eyes shone. “Yes, Mister.”
Grandpa took that doll down off the shelf, and placed it in her hands.
The mother thanked Grandpa through her tears and left.
You see, I don’t need an artificial Santa. I had the real thing.
I taught for many years and listened as the children shared their lists for Santa with X- Boxes, and Wii’s and other expensive stuff. They were so excited about what they would get they could hardly sleep and definitely couldn’t study.
After Christmas a subdued crowd slunk into the classroom with a new box of 24 crayons or a new shirt. They were discouraged. They had been prepared to be treated like princes and princesses. Instead they were treated like stable hands. Too bad they didn’t see the manger.
Me, I don’t think I need a Santa. A manger is plenty for me. So today I party to celebrate the manger I visited last night, and the perfect gift within.
In these Sad and Far Off Times, it is time to honor the heroes of our times. First off, to those that lost loved ones in the recent tragedy in Connecticut, the hearts of the rest of us are with you. We hold you in them and wish we could make your pain less difficult.
To those Brave Staff members that did exactly what you should have done to protect the children in your care, I applaud you.
You have a difficult job. In the days and months to come you will love the children in your care fiercely, protecting them from all harm, physically and emotionally. When you see a wrong it will hurt you as well, when they triumph over anything, you will cheer them on. You will hug them to make them feel safe, and dry their tears when they are hurt. You will be their parents, and their nurses and their confidants while they are in your care. You give them words and voice, You give them confidence. You are like family in the best sense of the word. That's why parents trust you with their little ones. Oh and you also teach, making learning fun and helping the children in your care to remember it is all right to have fun. My hat is off to you to do so many jobs, and care so much and teach.
Then there were the people in the school that don't get paid nearly as much that care with the same intensity. That do their jobs so that the teachers can do theirs. You listen to children, you help the teacher, you care for the children's cuts and bruises, you feed them you drive them to and from school and a million other things. You love them. Hats off to you.
I cannot be funny this week. I can only hold these brave souls in my heart and pray for courage for those that are left. Let us now comfort those that mourn and help them to carry on, making this country a better place because of
Click her Wild Snowflakes
Huge herds of snowflakes have fallen recently and it is wild snowflake open season Open season happens only a few short months of the year and it is not something to be missed. It’s one of the few hunting seasons that is still free. Get your supply of these delicacies before the government finds a method of taxing them.
I have a sure fire method of telling if a snowflake is the wild kind or if it is the more common tame variety. This is important because the tame ones are hard to care for. I mean, feeding them is difficult if not impossible, grooming them takes special tools, they are hard to keep clean, and where does a tame snowflake sleep? Some people keep their tame snowflakes in snow banks, but not me. I just let them sit and after a while they get bored and melt away.
At any rate, I can tell if a snowflake is tame very easily. I hold out my sleeve, a dark color is best. If the snowflake sticks around for say twenty minutes or more and wants petted, it is probably a tame one. Give it the brush off and leave the area before you are captured by a herd of them.
If, however, the snowflake leaves in only a few seconds it is in a herd of wild ones and can be captured for immediate consumption. Guide books recommend eating them fresh out of the sky as the other options tend to get a bit stale. More on that later.
Catching them takes a great deal of skill and I have the bruises to prove it. Here’s what I did to learn the fine art of collecting them. I first tried to catch one on my finger. Before I could taste it, or even put it in my mouth, it melted. I knew I would have to be much faster.
The next time I was in a herd of wild snowflakes, I caught one on the palm of my hand. Remembering how fast the other one melted, I slammed that snowflake into my mouth. Unfortunately, the snowflake melted and I got a slap in the face. I wasn’t expecting that and I slipped on the ice, falling on my, ...whatever. My dignity was bruised and I looked around to see who observed the snowflake attacking me in such a vicious manner. Unfortunately old Mrs. Witherspoon saw me and made a bee line for her phone. In a small town this was big news. I was now sentenced to be passed around the phone lines like a joke at the office. Oh, well, it wouldn’t be the first time.
I looked up at the sky to cuss out the rest of the herd when I realized that a great chunk of them was headed directly for my face. Not wanting to be ambushed, I opened my mouth to scream but before a sound came out, several of those snowflakes committed suicide in my mouth. They were tasty little morsels. I lay there eating away, not even needing a fork or spoon, when I realized that my eyelids were getting covered with a pile of them too. I shut my eyes and removed the snowflakes, dumping them on the ground. They could well be contaminated. After all I knew where my eyes had roamed.
It was then that I devised a crafty alternate method of capturing wild snowflakes. I stuck out my tongue and low and behold, I caught twins. Yum! I tried again and found this method really effective. Well it was until I got hit over the head by something hard. Before the stars had cleared, I heard a decidedly old lady’s voice.
“That’ll teach you to stick your tongue out at me, you nasty old man!”
“What’s a grown man doing lying here on the ground with his mouth hanging open?” asked another voice.
“And then sticking your tongue out at respectable young women,” chimed in a third female voice.
“I wasn’t sticking out my tongue at you beautiful young ladies. (They were at least ninety five if they were a day.) I was catching wild snowflakes.”
“Didn’t your mother ever tell you not to eat snow?”
I stood up and brushed snow from everywhere.
“Yes. Of course, but this isn’t your usual dirty snow, the old stale, kind, the even older mixed with brown kind or even the dreaded yellow variety. No, Ladies, these snowflakes have been purified by the inhabitants of heaven and sent to you; direct delivery.”
“How do you catch them?” asked one old biddy.
“Brace yourself,” I explained, “so you don’t fall down.”
One of them planted her cane into a nearby snow bank and tied her leg to it with her scarf. Another sat on the chair piece of her walker. The third one defiantly stood alone.
“Never mind my imbalance, Young Man. Just show me how to capture those little flakes. Never did like bran anyway.”
I showed them and soon they were all three looking at the sky and aiming their tongues at the snowflakes. I tiptoed off so as not to get hit again.
Turning the corner of the block, I ran into three men in white uniforms. They picked me up out of the snow bank as I was trying to keep them between me and those old biddies.
“What were you doing to those ladies? They’re sticking out their tongues at you,” said one burley guy.
“I didn’t do anything to them. One of them hit me with her cane.”
“Sorry about that. We’ve been looking for them all afternoon. Strayed from the home and got lost I’m afraid. Poor dears..”
I kept moving and whistled all the way home. Capturing wild snowflakes is a solitary activity..
I know I’m a techie because I raised three techies. There, isn’t that impressive? These days that makes me really important. It’s good to be tech savvy. Let me share a few little bits of knowledge for you because I know you’ve been asking questions about this techie jargon.
My son got a Raspberry for his birthday. It’s one of those little things you hold in your hand and it does amazing things that no one else can see. I’m not sure what it does in your hand, but I know my Sammy used to do things in my hand that I didn’t want others to know about… but I don’t think it is the same because when his Raspberry does something, he says…”Dude.” Then everyone looks impressed. Raspberries are like Blackberries but noisier. It has a few brothers and sisters, there’s the Strawberry for the Farm. Apparently you can trade chores just like we used to do on the farm, but it is a lot cleaner, not all that manure and stuff. I bet you didn’t know that! There’s the Marion berry for those women named Marion, and a Blueberry for those in the far north.
My son got me a new techie thing for my birthday. It’s a remote control so I can Play Station too. Whatever Station is. I’m not sure if it’s a radio station or a TV station. I tried to use it on the radio but that didn’t work to change the stations. Well, I’ll learn before my next letter, Mable, so maybe you can get one too.
Speaking of stations, the fire station had a great time the other day. They drove all over Floppy Drive you know, where the old folks live, for what was burning until they realized that they were on the wrong street. They finally found what they were looking for on CD Rom Drive. Once they got there, they had a ball with their new CD Burner. It took them all afternoon. Smokeless too.
The other day my daughter asked me how many Megs my computer had. She’s a little addlebrained. I think she must have meant to ask how many computers my friend Meg had. Anyway, daughter took me shopping. It was a lot of fun shopping with her.
I bought several modems for one of my female friends with bios problems and hot flashes. For shower gifts I’ve found the perfect gift. I give them a motherboard… you know, one of those little things Native American women used to keep their babies on? They bundled them all up and hung them on a tree. These modern ones must be kits or something because they come in this little box.
Tonight several couples are coming over to play a game of video cards. My son said audio cards are more fun, but since I’m just learning I think we’ll stick to the video cards.
I noticed that several of my kids’ computer devices have a lot of gigs. Our band used to play for gigs, but I think this might be a little different. Well, I want you to be aware that this is a place where everybody gets together and writes notes via e-mail so they can get them to the post office on time.
I think they all set their laptops up and then e-mail everyone in the room. (A laptop used to be a little quilt that the women’s circle made for shut-ins, but now they are used for computer nerds too.) The other day I pushed my laptop off my lap when she tried to bite my mouse.
As you can see, I am really good at this techie stuff. If you have any questions, just call my game boy. He’ll come get me in a flash.