Archive for the ‘Holiday’ Category

Christmas 2012

The hour is late and my eyes are burning with lack of sleep.

Christmas is here.

Mr. Gray-glo is not ready emotionally for its arrival.

The house is cleaned and decorated. A beautiful tree stands tall in the living room decorated with over 30 years of memories. Gifts are now arranged beneath and about it wrapped in multiple patterned papers.

The nativity now has baby Jesus placed in his manger.

And I realize that within my own manger I have not set a place for him.

Each year we do similar things getting ready for today, for Christmas Day.

I have come to accept that when it comes to the deeper spiritual relationship, deeper meaning of Christmas Day, deeper connection to it as the celebration of the birth of The Christ…I am outside looking in and on without the awe and more importantly the faith.

There is a tension here this year that I feel. Some I have created and some I have responded to, and the rest just seems to find me and us.

And yet, no matter what lack of spirit and lack of faith I have, Christmas Day is here.

Some years you must just go through the motions and maybe be rewarded by a blessing of some spirit, some faith, some measure of meaning.

This is one such year.

So, to each of you, my hope for you is that you need not be outside looking into a manger but are indeed present with the manger inside you.

But for you who are like me this year and from year to year: fear not missing out, go out and at least window shop the nativity like many citizens did when first hearing of the birth but not knowing why or believing why this birth was anything different.

We need not be visited by Dicksonian spirits to keep Christmas in our hearts. But maybe a little whisper in the ear of encouragement will suffice.

Merry Christmas.

 

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Washed Out Fireworks

Work interfered with our plans to go to the Home Days Fireworks Sunday. The super derecho storm that slammed the Midwest and Atlantic states caused severe damage in Columbus; I ended up working there that night assisting my company’s efforts to recover their wireless service.

We decided to go to Independence’s fireworks show last night.

All was fine as the Gray-Glos settled on a nice slope of grass waiting for the darkening sky that provides the best backdrop to those booming colorful explosions announcing to the world that we are here, loud and proud with our liberty.

But the darkening sky was not dusk or nightfall itself but another thunderstorm. Nature provided fireworks and the sky opened wide with a downpour. And we citizens scrambled back to the shelter of our cars and trucks.

Show canceled and Indians’ game in rain delay.

And we sat inside my truck waiting, stuck in the lot, waiting for the line of other vehicles to exit.

It soon got stuffy in there because the pouring rain would not let us open the windows enough. So, this guy decided to run the air to defog the windows and suck in fresh air, too. But he (did I ever mention how technically inclined Mr. G is?) didn’t start the engine as to not waste gas or pollute. And this is where Mr. Gray-Glo rises to the fore as one of those dopey sitcom dad/husbands like Ray Barone.

The truck’s battery was drained and rather quickly and the truck would not start.

We were doomed was the consensus of the others trapped inside the truck with me.

This was where traffic and the jam up in the parking lot changed to a blessing from a curse.

The rain slowed from pouring to mere rain and I got my jumper cables from the back trunk of my truck and spotted a minivan at the end of the line stuck in traffic. He wasn’t going anywhere anyways, so I thought I’d ask him the favor of a jump start.

The gentleman obliged.

Jump worked.

Engine started.

Citizens helping other citizens in need.

And we joined our other stuck brethren citizens in the parade of motionless vehicles.

Indians’ game in rain delay (they eventually resumed and won).

Fireworks drenched and postponed until Thursday.

The irony of all this is we were in the midst of a mini-drought causing  many communities to cancel their fireworks shows from fear of starting a brush fire.

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Father’s Day

Father’s Day has come and is now almost gone.

Today’s Rasmussen Report email says only 17% think this is an important holiday.

Father’s Day still ranks pretty low in terms of the nation’s holidays, but Americans continue to feel strongly that being a father is the most important role a man can fill.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only 17% of American Adults consider Father’s Day one of America’s most important holidays. Twenty-three percent (23%) rate it as one of the least important holidays, while 59% place it somewhere in between the two.

At least Father’s Day rates higher than congress.

Because today was spent visiting my dad and Mrs. G’s dad, The Kid decided it would be best if we celebrated during Father’s Day Eve. She came by and made BBQ Chicken, cowboy beans, and roasted corn on the cob for me. This dad ate well and The Kid is one great cook. Even stuff I wouldn’t normally eat she makes well.

Each Father’s Day with my dad is blessing as he survived a near fatal heart attack in ’08 and had a quadruple by-pass. Four years later with a change in his diet facilitated by his ‘nurse’, my mom, and a commitment to exercise he is probably in better health than most of us.

My mom is another great cook of the old fashioned Polish variety. She cooks like the apocalypse is upon us and we may run out of food. I kid but not by much.

We had chicken soup, grilled sweet Italian sausage with peppers, pulled pork sandwiches, more cowboy beans, macaroni salad, cole slaw, and fruit squares…we will survive the current zombie-pocalypse well fed.

I don’t know where my dad gets his will power to keep his weight down.

My dad is a Pittsburgh Steelers fan. Been one his entire life. During Browns-Steelers games, I find it best to not be around him. At least the Indians gives us a common team to root for together.

Usually, I will get him an Indians shirt or cap for Father’s Day. But this year, I found a “DAD” Steeler’s Shirt and although it pained me to fund the enemy, I bought it for him. No, there wasn’t a sulfur smell as I touched the shirt.

We then watched the Indians inter-league game against the Pirates. And even though he is also a Pirate’s fan (somewhat) he rooted for the Tribe with me. And he napped, too.

So did you, says the Kid.

Later we went to my father-in-laws assisted living apartment.

And another feast for fathers was in store there.

Mrs. G’s dad is crazy for ham. And watching his face as the ham was carved reminded me of Ralphie’s Red Ryder BB Gun yearning.

And when his ham sandwich was handed to him he muttered an “oh my”.

Time at both places seemed to fly-by like that scene from Thornton Wilder’s My Town as Emily Webb relives her 12th birthday.

That must be the key to this day. Food for dads and then sitting around joshing about the times we have had.

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Remembering Those Without Markers

Today is Memorial Day, it is one day we try to set aside to remember those Americans who lost their lives in battles.

Graves of those who served are decorated with small American flags usually placed by volunteers like Boy Scouts and veteran groups.

Marketing has dubbed this as the official start of the Summer Season, whatever that means.

I don’t fault anyone who uses this Holiday to cook-out, or shop, do yard work or other home projects. Baseball games both sandlot and Major League are played. Some like me will even have to work for some of time today.

But regardless of if you march in a parade or watch one from the sidewalk, or just stay home, or go out about the town and country; you may see something in the news or while driving to the mall that will make you think about those who died keeping us and this country made from us and for us safe and with liberty and freedom.

The Kid used to live in Danville, Kentucky. On many trips there to visit her, I would pass Camp Nelson National Cemetery. It is a beautifully landscaped place lined with white grave markers that always reminded me of a little Arlington. I always seem to think about Camp Nelson when Memorial Day is here.

We always try to recover our fallen from the field of battle. Sometimes it is not possible. In other nations are small plots of land where our fellow Americans are buried. They may be out of our sight, but not from our minds. They have markers.

But others like those lost at sea do not have a visible resting place. They have no white stone marker to be graced by a flag today. Let us keep them, too, in our minds.

When you drive past a VFW, you see an American flag flying high. Near it, usually beneath it flies another flag; this one is black and stark. It is the POW/MIA flag proclaiming “You Are Not Forgotten”.

This flag is the marker for those men and women who have not returned from their war. They have no other status than Missing in Action; some are suspected as Prisoners of War who for some reason were not released by their capturers.

They have no marker other than the black flag that flies for them at VFW and other similar posts who honor veterans.

Let us not forget those who have no marker and have no flag.

“You Are Not Forgotten”

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Christmas 2011

Christmas is here, now. The wait was short and like anything and everything in life it comes whether you’re ready for it or not.

This too infrequent blog typist thinks he is.

I hope you are, too.

But it doesn’t matter, does it?

I am a lapsed Catholic and not very spiritual or even filled with the inner morality to make me a member of whatever; the outer is a bit better and does its best to pull the inner along.

What has struck this spiritually irreligious (okay, lazy when it comes to faith practice) is how the theme of being ready for Christmas mirrors how many are not ready for Christ Himself. The day like him comes regardless.

Another weird coincidence for this day of days deals with the Christmas Tree. Somehow you must rearrange your house to make room for the tree. The tree–like Gray-glo’s this season–is too large and doesn’t fit in the room. Some folks put the tree in out of the way areas like breeze-ways, foyers, basement rec rooms (showing my age again)…

Others place it in front of their large picture windows looking out to the outside world announcing that they have found a place for the tree. And isn’t our Tree beautiful, even better than yours!

Isn’t that bit how some of us (and guilty me, again) treat The Church and Christ. Can we make room for Him for a little while or should we just shove Him out of the way so our regular daily day can still go on with all this daily regularity?

Do we publicly announce Him to the world? Or are we merely showcasing Him as a decoration so others can see we do indeed have Him but just on display?

Wow.

I apologize to attempting profundity so late in the night.

Mr. Gray-glo has played Santa as he has done every Christmas Eve. While the rest of the house except the cats sleep, I bring out the gifts this guy’s MC purchased and place them under and around the tree.

Cards for Mrs. Gray-glo and The Kid are signed, sealed, and placed in their just hanged stockings along with little treats or small gifts.

I like this time alone with the tree illuminating the room.

But, Mr. Gray-glo is not with the tree and is sitting by the cool glow of a flat screen computer monitor; a mere detail.

This year unlike some years previous, Mr. Gray-glo believes—oh, I do believe, do believe, please make it so—that he hit a Triple Crown Breeder’s Cup Pick Six with his gift for Mrs. Gray-glo. Tomorrow will prove it.

Now here comes the part of the blog where I wish you a Merry Christmas.

My hope for you this year is that you figure out the questions posed at the beginning about being prepared for Christ and finding a place of honor in your life for Him.

If you do there is no point is sharing how you figured it out. Each of us have our own mystery to solve and I am sorry to say but sometimes clues others use only confuse the search.

I hope you get to play Santa the way you meant to play him. By that, may your give list be complete and fulfilling for you in an unselfish way.

Merry Christmas from Mr. Gray-glo.

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Thanksgiving
I just want to take a bit of time this day to wish you a happy Thanksgiving.
This is my favorite holiday especially since it seems to have become orphaned and turned into just a speed-bump between Halloween and Christmas: grab a quick meal and get out there and shop!
But it is one day where we actually try to stop whatever we do that causes us to burn both ends and the middle of the candle…sit with family and maybe some friends and think about ourselves in a larger concept and say a simple thanks.
Many times we are the center of the universe as we try to meet impossibly imposed deadlines, figure out how to move bills and money around within a single month, come home to relax only to find the sump pump not working and being the only one to fix it; yes, we are central to our universe and life. You and I are the “I” here in this world.
Except today.
Even if you are not religious, today is the day you pause and think about how you are just an “i” among Sagan-istic numbers of i’s.
There is something to realizing there is something more and greater than you.
For some it is God. Others it is Nature.
But no matter how much we fool ourselves into thinking we control or are on top of what there is in this life; we, deep down know we aren’t.
And that part we don’t understand yet somehow brought us together today, whether you are the host or guest or maybe even one “i” in the 17,000 odd i’s getting a meal at St. Augustine’s, is who or what we thank.
In other words: I know what I have done to get to here in this life and I know what I didn’t do and yet somehow got here. It is to  or for that part I don’t know and understand that I say Thank You.

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