In this season I get to pick from many nocturnal activities. It could have been last night. We are in Vail for a couple of days and we took my brother and sister in law to dinner in town. We have been helping daughter Lindsey with her newly purchased but mechanically challenged condo. Uncle David is an electrician and out of the goodness of his heart is overhauling her electric baseboard system. I am the Gofer, which is appropriate.
Before dinner we walked up Bridge Street and what to our wondrous eyes should appear? A whole bunch of new lights on every tree and every crossbeam. A group of a dozen or so foreign speaking visitors barreling down the street with little concern of who was coming the other way. And as we were gazing up at unlit and unoccupied condos I tried to explain to my kin why people spend $4 or $5 million on these babies, to come only a few weeks a year. Did I make sense? Probably not. Especially after the $10 ice cream cone.
Dinner was great and as only can happen in the mountains our waitress was from Galway, Ireland. Arianna travelled across the pond around 15 years ago and after a short stop in Boston arrived in our winter wonderland and decided to stay. Young people seek time off here after college and parents pull their hair out after dropping a quarter million large on their higher education. I was riding on the Vail bus one time and the young lady at the helm was sporting a Harvard sweatshirt. I asked her who did she know that went to Harvard ? She laughed and said, “Me,” of course.
We will assemble LOFO,The Loyal Order of the Fat Ones, on Friday afternoon at Churchills. This emporium of smoke, whiskey and good fun seems appropriate for this crowd. I am bringing my brother in law to demonstrate to him how really nuts I am. I have spoken to you before of The Church’s many charms. I made the mistake of taking a good friend there last New Years in the early afternoon. The light of day did not do any favors to the worn rugs and sagging leather chairs. A fitting metaphor for the crowd there. Hey, who cares?
As I write I can’t help but think back about Xmases past. I grew up in a wonderful old colonial house with numerous fireplaces. The boys were responsible for maintaining the hearths. We had a wood room in the basement which was the old coal bin for the house. Just outside it was an old pot bellied stove, Unused but a great keeper of the lore of the manse.
Dinners were peaceful as we lingered, feeling the warmth of the flame and the sound of pine sap crackling. My father held court at the head of the table and he had a habit of asking leading questions. These were not fast food hit and run affairs and it is probably where I acquired my gift of gab. Grandma made a mean minced pie that was ceremoniously set on fire with a lit bit of Four Roses or some other high octane spirit. Top that with hard sauce and you were in seventh heaven.
We have moved so many times and been in so many places we are not particularly imbued with sacred rituals. In some ways one feels a lack but on the other hand we have had so many different experiences we feel very blessed. In the early eighties we took hay rides on our first sabbatical in Denver. We sang carols and the kids had huge smiles as we meandered through the hilly roads of Genesee. The cold crisp Colorado sky was tamed by a little schnapps or whatever and we always wound up at someone’s home for simple chow. Our first Noel there greeted us with three feet of snow. The Reverend TTG had to perform services at home that Christmas day.
One Yuletide we were in Perth Australia. Another in Boston in the Navy. Last year we were in Wimbledon, England with son Scott and family. The one constant for 45 years has been Kathy at my side. Best present of all. This year we will sit in front of the tree or by the fire and think of the many that have moved on in every sense of the word. Great friends who have been so much a part of our lives. Strange as it sounds it is not a sadness but a warm appreciation for all they have given to us. We are a very lucky couple.
I will pay my visit to Fr Michael at Samaritan House with a wad of $2 bills in tow.He thinks I am being generous. I am just trying to buy my way into heaven because I know it is my only hope. We are going to 10:00 mass on the big day. I will be doing the second readings and I will say a prayer for all of you.Nothing crazy just a gentle nudge to the Big Guy so He will look out for all of us no matter what our beliefs.
I am corny and sentimental in Ted’s Head on this day. I know there is mayhem in the world and in our fair nation. I just decided to not pay heed to murders, bombings, insults and slurs as I look out at the hills. Not wanton disregard for the pain and suffering but just setting a different priority for my cranium on this spectacular morning. I hope you might be able to do the same. And so for another year as I ride out of sight,Merry Christmas to all and to all a Holy Night.
Ted The Great.
There is a village in Peru where people settle the previous year’s grudges by fist fighting on Christmas. They then start the new year off on a clean slate. Hmm, they may have an idea there.
Paul McCartney earns nearly half a million dollars every year from his Christmas song, which many critics regards as his worst song ever.
During the Christmas of 2010, the Colombian government covered jungle trees with lights. When FARC guerrillas (terrorists) walked by, the trees lit up and banners asking them to lay down their arms became visible. 331 guerrillas re-entered society and the campaign won an award for strategic marketing excellence.
Most of Santa’s reindeer have male-sounding names, such as Blitzen, Comet, and Cupid. However, male reindeers shed their antlers around Christmas, so the reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh are likely not male, but female or castrated.
Each year there are approximately 20,000 “rent-a-Santas” across the United States. “Rent-a-Santas” usually undergo seasonal training on how to maintain a jolly attitude under pressure from the public. They also receive practical advice, such as not accepting money from parents while children are looking and avoiding garlic, onions, or beans for lunch
Many of the most popular Christmas songs, such as “White Christmas,” “Winter Wonderland,” “Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire),” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” were written or co-written by Jews. L’chaim!