Sunday, November 28, 2010
Saturday, November 27, 2010
To paraphrase an old french quote, plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose, to; the more things stay the same, the more they change.
No where is tradition more evident than at holidays; festivities and celebrations that are passed down year after year. In the U.S. our holidays serve as a yearly history lesson, albeit not the the best way to teach, but at least a reminder of those events in our history that are important and descriptive of the marrow of our culture and serves as a snapshot of who we are and how we came to be that way.
For us here the July 4th commemoration of the founding of our country is probably the biggest holiday, followed closely by it's precursor, Thanksgiving. Christmas is a holiday universally celebrated. For the purposes of this post I'll discuss the last two mentioned and put forth what traditions we as a family have followed in their regard and how the following of tradition has led to changes in those self same traditions.
For the first 17 years of my existence, Thanksgiving was always celebrated at Aunt Nellie's. The meal was always the same: roast turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, rutabagas, green beans, gravy, pumpkin and apple pie with a slice of sharp cheddar cheese on the side.
Interestingly, for a large family of French-Canadian descent, and who were related to more than half the people in our city of 15,000 inhabitants, (for the longest time I thought we were related to everyone
in the city) our dinner was attended by only immediate family: Uncle Ed and Aunt Nellie, Mom, dad, and me and later on by my brother and sister, 10 and 12 years younger respectively.
In 1975 my wife and I together with the first two of our three children moved into our present home. And for the next 30 years, with one or two exceptions, Thanksgiving was celebrated in our dining room. There were never less than 10 and sometimes upwards nigh onto 25 guests surrounding our table. On more than one occasion our table, with all the leaves set in, was extended into the living room. The majority in attendance were family but it was also our habit to invite those friends and acquaintances who for what ever reason had no place to partake of Thanksgiving.
For the last 5 years, with our children scattered hither and yon, and with the Friday following Thanksgiving often a work day for many, family gatherings here at the homestead on Thanksgiving areno more. Now my wife and I are the dispossessed, so-to-speak, and become the invitees of friends rather than the hosts.
Of late we have been part of a large international/ family celebration which takes place at a good friend's home and in addition to us and their immediate family is attended by an ecumenical contingent of other modern orphans of circumstance. This year's celebration just past was attended by representatives from France, Spain, Japan, Korea, Belarus, Iran, China, Canada, Holland and of course US born folks. Nearly thirty, if not more, people came together in thanks for our blessings.
The tradition has been carried on but the venue, food and faces change.
One of the inviolable traditions that my wife and I have followed is that Christmas, particularly Christmas day, will be celebrated in whatever place we and our children call home. This year will be the first year where that home will not be ours for the majority of our family.
Since our oldest grandchild is 15, the baton could have been passed long before now, but the 2500 mile distance between our home on the Canadian border and theirs, nearly on the Mexican border, has prevented us from celebrating Christmas together. In fact, regrettably, we have never celebrated Christmas morning with our 2 oldest grandchildren; more's the pity. So our home has remained the seat for family Christmas' observance for these past 43 years, 35 in this abode alone. Our oldest and youngest children usually made it home as well as various brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles, boyfriends and girlfriends and found something under our tree for them come Christmas morning.
Our youngest is a father now, his daughter turned 1 year old in Oct. They live five hours from us through two snow belts. With the 25th of Dec. falling on a weekend this year, my wife and I, God willing and the snow's not too high, we will spend Christmas morning with our new grand daughter in her home; as it should be.
And that's how things change as traditions are passed along.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
For each new morning with its light, for rest and shelter of the night, for health and food, for love and friends, for everything Thy goodness sends.
Labels: Thanksgiving 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
November 22nd 1963
If anyone knew or knows the why-fores and where-to-fores leading up to this heinous act they have yet to come forth with proof positive.
One fact we know for sure: John F. Kennedy, our 35 President of the USA is dead. Murdered on a Dallas street in the prime of his life and his career. He was one of the most popular and well loved presidents in our history. That such a thing, that such a man and figure of democracy should have ended thus should give us all pause; those who can remember and those who can learn. Quit the bickering and personal infighting for personal gain and or aggrandisement and set the example to us, your constituents, a picture of how to get along!
Labels: anniversary of JFKs asassination
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
At the Venetian, with her gondolas and marble walk ways,
it definitely felt more european than what we'd experienced so far. And we stumbled upon a french bistro which was so French, complete with Pastis and Bordeaux, that it was really the pièce de résistance.
At the Napolean bar in the Paris Las Vegas, listening to thhree great jazz singers.
Next year? FRANCE; count on it!
Labels: Las Vegas Wedding
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Her Father (moi) served in the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Army. (Viet Nam w/ US Marines.)
A brother served with the US Navy in the first Gulf War.
A grandfather served in the US Army Air corps during WWII
Enter Josh Hills, Michelle's beau for 8yrs.? (I'm her dad not a record keeper.)
They've decided to tie the knot. In Las Vegas on the 13th of November.
Join me as I toast the newly weds to be:
To keep your marriage brimming,
with love in the loving cup;
Whenever you're wrong, admit it,
Whenever you're right, shut up.
Michelle, I have a different one prepared for Saturday!
Their new home, just recently purchased, it'll be waiting for them when they return. I hope they are moved in before Dec. since I'd like to see it before spring. Di. says it's magnificent.
Thursday, November 04, 2010
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
Today is election day in America.
The morning sun shines brightly trying to warm the 30 degree frost laden air with limited success. I'll walk the half mile to the fire hall to vote.
As I walk into the polling place, Ruthie B. gives me a big hug, a hello and a kiss. Then I'm shown the sample ballot and have the choices explained. Amber missed me and wanted to know where I was working these days. She made a note to remove Bobby's name from the roll after I told her he was living in Texas. Barb asked me when I was going to retire and then gave me my ballot and told me to fill the square exactly. "Don't color outside the lines or you'll be rejected!"
"Barb, it's been a long time since I was rejected" I said kidding with a smile.
"Hows Jim doing Carol?"
"Better I think. He's home from the hospital now. Going to sign up for 3 days per week dialysis in the 'burg."
"Hi judge, gone running yet?"
"Not yet" she says, "I'm off today, going later."
"Booth's open Bob."
While I'm voting:
"This is pretty easy" say Chris in the booth next to me.
"You're probably doing it wrong."
"I still like the old lever pull way of voting, in out, no muss no fuss."
" Not me, this computer voting is perfect to my way of thinking."
"Carol, when ya coming back to the gym?"
"I miss it, maybe now that I'm not running to Watertown every day I can get back there if you'll let me."
"Any time, you're always welcome."
Hug and kiss from Carol.
" See ya girls, have a great day."
"Where ya been?"
Labels: small town life
Truths For Mature Adults
1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.
2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.
3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.
4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.
5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?
6. Was learning cursive really necessary?
7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on # 5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.
8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.
9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.
10. Bad decisions make good stories.
11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment, when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.
12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.
13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to.
14. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.
15. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lite than Kay.
16. I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.
17. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.
18. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?
19. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!
20. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.
21. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.
23. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time!
24. The first testicular guard, the "Cup," was used in Hockey in 1874 and the first helmet was used in 1974. That means it only took 100 years for men to realize that their brain is also important.
25. After the 4th grade I have never come even remotely close to having to know how to diagram a sentence.