Friday, December 31, 2010
Well, hello there
Long time no see.
I thought I’d lost you,
So many years ago.
Now here you are
In the pocket of that old coat
Stuffed in the back
Of the Hall closet.
Still fit perfectly.
Like an old friend
Picking up our conversation
Like it was yesterday.
Thursday, December 30, 2010
I don't know if it's because I have a longer drive to work and listen to the Christmas channel on Sirius /XM radio non stop or what, but driving home last Sunday I had finally had my fill of Christmas music.
Last year about this time I took a travel assignment in Syracuse, NY. The two hour drive, one way, suggested to me that perhaps an avid reader such as myself could avail myself of this time to listen to audio books. In the past D. and I had ventured into that genre while traveling and found it a great way to pass the time, especially when driving to Boston. I picked up the audio book version of "To Kill a Mockingbird" with every intention of listening to it on my weekend commutes back and forth to Syracuse. On the 27th of this month, 3 days ago, I unwrapped said package and on Monday last, in response to my sentiment of no longer wanting to listen to Christmas music, put disc 1 in my car's cd player and drove the 47 miles, one way to my current place of employment. Only a year late, but as they say; Better late than; well you know. Sissy Spacek reads this story and is the absolute best choice in my estimation. She and the story that Harper Lee penned have kept me enthralled twice a day every day so far this week. In fact yesterday I sat for ten minutes listening while parked in the parking lot at work, just to finish that chapter.
And when not driving I'm reading "The Last of the Mohicans" on my Kindle. (I love my Kindle) Now I can do two books at a time. I sure I'm slow in coming to this revelation, but it's good to know that this old dog can still learn a few new tricks!
Sitting at the island counter-top in the frat pad, eating, writing, blogging, reading (the Last of the Mohicans), I notice a page of paper, stained and wrinkled; obviously been there for awhile. It's one of those "adages" that someone found inspiring and printed it off and set on the counter as a reminder to themselves to be diligent in pursuing their goal-s.
I think it's worth pondering:
Nothing in the world will take the place
TALENT WILL NOT:
Nothing is more common than
unsuccessful people with talent.
GENIUS WILL NOT:
Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
EDUCATION WILL NOT:
The world is full of educated derelicts.
PERSISTENCE AND DETERMINATION ALONE
What say you?
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Post Christmas 2010
Here it is 4 days post Christmas, I'm sitting in the frat house, waiting for the phone to ring and hoping it doesn't. I'm sippin' french roast coffee made in the new 4 cup coffee maker my daughter gave me for the express purpose of using at the frat house. Just so you know: this 4 cupper makes one mug of coffee, which is really just fine with me. I like to consider myself a writer but then I read more than I write, so my New Year's resolution is to write at least as much as I read, or at the least, write something everyday! I don't usually make New Year resolutions, but I'll bend my own rule and see how it goes.
Christmas was extraordinarily ordinary this year. How can Christmas be ordinary? There was nothing particularly special to write about, that's what I mean. There were no fights, no snow storms to plow through; coming or going. Scrooge only appeared on the TV screen. Nobody sold their hair to purchase a watch fob nor sold their watch to buy hair combs. Everyone had a good time and the company was congenial and the food was superb. So this writer's task then is to make something special from a celebration that was merely smooth, routine, bumpless, seamless and full of smiles and , and, and, well just especially fine.
The original plan was for D. and myself to motor to Niagara Falls after I finished work on Friday, Christmas Eve; a 5 1/2 hour drive. Our expected ETA was around 9 pm. That was until Thursday when as I was leaving work and said to a co-worked: see ya tomorrow, and he said: we're off tomorrow. Holy cat fish manfred, the day off? Golly, we'll be able to leave tomorrow morning when I'm fresh. And that's just what we did. Thus, we arrived at 1330 and got to participate in the evening's festivities.
The big day started off at 0430 when 14 month old Sophia decided that it was time for everyone to get up. It took her mother an hour to figure out that all she wanted was something to eat and once mom gave the girl a banana to stuff in her mouth, everything calmed down and the Christmas festivities were adjourned 'til 0800. At 0900 Sophias other grandparents and Uncle DJ arrived and her dad whipped up a super breakfast of eggs-to-order, toast, bacon, sausage, home fries, and mimosas. Coffee and Grandma Di.'s homemade cinnamon buns rounded out the meal and then it was on to the first round of gift opening.
For a 14 month old, Sophie was quite mature in in her gift opening. Carefully unwrapping each of her gifts. If the gift was clothing it was tossed aside with nary a second look, but it it was a toy or book of some discription it was duly examined with care and given appropriate attention to what it did and how it worked. One of said toys was a musical and animated cow given to her by my sister. The cow moved its head and opened and closed it's mouth while "Old McDonald's Farm" played. A little tentative at first because of the movement and such, soon gave way to a desire to replay the tune ceaselessly and to which she and grandpa moi danced and danced and danced!
After the lunch hour our daughter and her husband arrived for a second round of gifting. Then it was on to the feast prepared by Jacob, Sophia's dad, consisting of a stuffed pork roast simmered in the crock pot for 8 hours. He wishes that he'd only cooked it for 6 hours but everyone found it succulently delicious. Mashed sweet potatoes on the side together with a fresh tossed salad of greens, pecans, fresh pear and balsamic vinaigrette finished off our repast. There were plenty and varied libations of the alcoholic sort of which I sampled egg-nogg with Jamaican rum, a brandy slush that didn't actually slush up 'til the next day, and the usual assortment of wines.
In between times, for munching sake, there was available a buschel of Christmas cookies, biscottii, and deux tourtière.
Early next morning we left to avoid any possible encounter with the nor-easter pelting the east coast. We filled ourselves with hugs and smiles from Kristy, Jacob, Michelle and Josh and a special topping of good cheer from the irrepressible, talented and intelligent personage of Sophia Aubrey LaRock.
And so, as I said, nothing special except the exceptional good will of ordinary people enjoying each other's company.
Labels: ordinary christmas 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
We've been sending and recieving Christmas cards for over 40 years and every year I'm amazed that I rarely, if ever, see the same card twice. Not only do we not see a card repeated in a given year, but they are all different from year to year. Curious don't you think?
Labels: Christmas 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
We of the status of elder, from time to time, consider today's youth pampered and might probably could benefit from some of the hardships we endured in our growing up years.
I'm not so sure; every age has it's own hardships and you just live the times your in. They aren't better or worse, harder or easier; they just are.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
A few days before Chrismas day a twelve year old, or there abouts, boy was examining the presents under the tree with overt excitement, looking for one or more with his name written on it.
He was joking, I suspect, although he never said as much. Heartbroken, is the only word to describe how terrible the boy felt. He never got over it, sad to say. That feeling is as vivid today as it was that snowy winter's evening in front of the Christmas tree in the bungalow on Oak street.
There were plenty of gifts with his name on them the next morning, but the wound carrys the scar left by that careless comment so many, many years ago.
Why it was almost as devastating as the news imparted to him just a few years before that, by smartalec friends, that there was no Santa Claus.
Christmas, to this descendant of Irish- French-Canadian immigrants raised in the Roman Catholic church, is a big deal. But the emphasis and manor of celebrating the festival of the Messiah has changed with the years.
Jesus and his family got top billing over Santa in those early formative years of 9 0'clock masses with Aunt Nellie and in later years, midnight mass with mom and dad and singing in the choir. Puberty raised its head and it was midnight mass with the girl friend and walks on Currier and Ives snowy winter nights holding hands and kissing and full of the future. Funny how a Christmas without snow just doesn't seem like Christmas, unless of course you're from Texas, or Florida, or Bethlehem.
With marriage and children this reformed catholic migrated to the Methodist church so as to raise his children with the guidance of christian principles without the concomitant guilt of the catholic dogma. Then came the Christmas pageants and midnight services. And Jesus once again had top billing. But Santa was in a dead heat for first place in the festival.
Haven't been to church in quite sometime now, except for weddings and funerals, not even at Christmas. Don't talk to Jesus anymore, but I do talk with his mother and father most everyday. We have two creche displays set up in our home; one is a set of santons that we found in a brocante in the south of France, the other is a large collection of Fontanini pieces. Yes, there is a tree and other baubles of the season and even a few outside lights. And candles; cinnamon smelling candles; let's not forget them. Christmas card aplenty are in evidence too.
So now I listen to Bing, and Nat, and Gene Autry. I listen to the Mormon Tabernacle choir and I try to find the Christ in Christmas. I try not to think about the wars and poverty and hunger here and throughout the world, because if we all believed in Christmas we would see those travesties disappear. I buy toys for my grand children and wonder why they think that Christmas is about Santa.
I smile and say Merry Christmas to everyone I meet. At home I eat ginger bread boys and drink hot chocolate and watch the snow cover the ground outside the kitchen window and I hope.
I hope that Grandpa Walton's Christmas wish , (listen)will fill everyone's heart and that the world will be a better place; if only for one day every year.
Merry Christmas one and all: God bless us, everyone.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Charles, my future brother-in-law, was 16 the first time I met him. In an unheated garage attached to the house, he was elbow deep in the guts of his Bombardier Ski-doo; tinkering, puttering, tuning up and just fiddling with the engine to get it to function the way he wanted it to.
Like his dad, Charles was good with machines. I admired him that, but I didn't envy him. No, the desire to fix and or repair is not part of my genetic makeup. It's not that I can't do it, it's just that I don't want to. Tools? Yes, of course, I have tools. I even have some power tools, but given my druthers, I prefer hand tools to those with the inherent ability to maim quickly and severely.
Friends and I cut our own wood for a few years and I discovered that I couldn't sharpen my chain saw evenly, so it always cut in a curve until I took it to a professional to right it. I couldn't keep a lawn mower running smoothly for more than 3 years without an expensive repair bill or just replacing it. My rototiller gave out after a few years. I was never able to master the string outlet of my multiple weed whackers. I say multiple because whenever the one I was using ran out of string, I'd just go buy a new machine. Machines are great time savers but I find them to be unreliable. So in time two things evolved in my approach to tasks around the manse: I was well enough off to be able to hire someone to do upkeep tasks and alternatively I could do some tasks myself with hand tools. It takes much longer to spade a garden by hand, but the spade doesn't break down, I get a good physical work-out and an overwhelming sense of satisfaction for a job well done.
Some years back, my youngest inquires: "dad, you make more money than most of my friend's dads, and I was wondering how come they all have things like snow-mobiles, 4 wheelers, motor bikes, and motor boats and all like that there, and we don't."
"There are a number of reasons for that Jay, but honestly the main reason is simply that I won't waste my money on something that is guaranteed to break down and I don't know how to fix."
I do have a car.
I do have a laptop computer
I do have a cell phone
And now I have a blasted Snow blower.
No, I don't have a clue as to how to fix any of them should they malfunction (and you and I both know that they will indeed malfunction.)
Sometimes you compromise your principles; it's part of being human.
I think perhaps I'll Christen my kayak Rosebud!
Friday, December 10, 2010
Jack Frost arrives
A life long shoveler, well at least since I was 10 or 12 let's say, gives in after 50+ years and purchases a mechanical motorized device with which to remove snow. I don't like motorized devices such as this; to include lawn mowers, rototillers, weed whackers and such. Mainly because I don't like to fix them, well that is to say I don't know how to fix them and have zero desire to learn. But with the population of eligible teens willing to earn some spending money, shoveling snow this year, seemingly non-existent, and the fact that it takes me an hour or more, depending on the height of the snow fall, to shovel my 30" X 30" drive and I have an hours drive to work it seemed imperative that I procure a machine to remove snow quickly and efficiently; Voila: rel's first trial run with the new machine.
Already I have to dismantle the directional chute and reinstall it since it won't turn to the right.
It's always the little niggling things that piss you off, isn't it?
Labels: rel's new toy December 2010
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
I was wondering if and/or how any war affected your life?
It seems, if one can believe history, and I have no reason to doubt, that mankind and war are inseparable.
Labels: Pearl Harbor rememberance day