15 December 2011

A Few Holiday Thoughts...
We're going to take a somewhat nostalgic walk down holiday lane today, and given the weather outside (yeah, it's raining...AGAIN here in the Heartland), it's a nice way to spend the morning.
But before we begin, a couple followups on stories around town.
*** First up, a shooting up in Waterloo has one police officer in a Fort Wayne hospital undergoing surgery (in critical but stable condition) for a head wound sustained in the altercation, which occured around 0340 hours.
Here's the link to this unfolding story:
The latest update on this has authorities with two people "in custody" (one male was shot dead, and a female is in critical condition).
No one ever said there was EVER such a thing as a "routine call" for any officer on patrol in ANY city or along ANY highway...and at ANY time of year.
My prayers go out to the Waterloo officer, his family, friends, and the department.
*** Another travesty of justice.
This followup is about the woman that abandoned her FOUR children at a downtown Ft. Wayne BK.
Here's the link to the story:
Okay, so she spent 99 DAYS in jail...and gets FOUR YEARS PROBATION?
What the hell are your people thinking, anyway?
You actually think she's going to be rehabilitated?
How much you want to bet she VIOLATES the probation...and that it occurs within the FIRST year?
That's the way these people operate...no regard for the law OR authority, and definitely no regard for the safety OR upbringing of her children.
*** Next, more on the two teens killed in the house fire on Robinwood Drive.
Here's the link:
They were both in the Army Reserve and had hopes for a future together.
Those hopes will not be realized in this life.
We can pray that God has been merciful in that regard and granted their wish.
There is never a "good time" to have devastation such as this come into our lives, but there should be some kind of "law" that disallows tragedies such as this to NEVER occur around the holidays.
And whenever we do suffer a loss like this, no matter what time of year, holidays such as Christmas are never quite the same, for WE are never quite the same as well.
All we can do is extend our sympathies to those that have lost loved ones, empathize with those grieving, and perhaps in some small way come to understand that many times, things happen according to the will of a higher power, and not our own.
With that said...let's lighten it up a bit.
*** There are many reasons why Christmas has such meaning in our lives, and I suppose much of it stems from when we were young.
We had that sense of anticipation...we KNEW "Santa was coming", and we practically could count the MINUTES, let alone the days before his timely arrival. We had the whole "better be good for goodness sake" thing down PAT.
It was a time for family, large or small, getting together and enjoying the holiday and all that came with it.
For us, it was the only time we went "all out" with decorations and gifts..train sets running under the tree, and yes, even a stocking full of treats for our dog.
As a practical joke one year, my folks put COAL (the REAL STUFF) in my stocking, and although I remember being a bit put out by that, I remembered we had a COAL-FIRED furnace (this was a while back), so I figured we'd be WARM for a day or so...lol.
When life gives you lemons...it's LEMONADE time...right?
Perhaps our view of the world was better back then also.
I mean, we ONLY had to fret about having a few nukes from the USSR raining down on us...so no REAL worries, right?
The best part of the holidays I suppose, lower-middle-class not withstanding, is that it was, if nothing else...SINCERE!
We MEANT the way we felt...it wasn't some "put-on" act designed to entice and enthrall.
When we sent cards out, it was because we CARED about those people.
And that extended to damn near everyone...people would invite you over their house and they would come to yours, all in the sense of holiday cheer.
Of course, in those days of living in row houses in Philly, it wasn't so far a walk to get to someplace else.
Even corner store owners would hand out candy to us kids.
The best part about all that...WE never "expected" it...the surprise was worth as much as the gift or candy.
The holidays should have some level of surprise attached to it, and I mean that in the BEST way possible.
The whole year through, we toil away and always seem to have the BAD kind of "unexpected" come our way...and still we muddle through.
So, it's nice to have something GOOD come along...however fleeting in nature.
I'm one of those "throwbacks" that still believes in the SPIRIT of Christmas...yep, guilty as charged.
To me, there is simply no reason why any of us cannot take to heart the values and principles that this time of year bestows to all of us..and carry it out the other 364 days of the rolling year.
Maybe we can blame such "behavior" on some good old Christian upbringing...
Perhaps, it's the fact that whatever guidelines we pursue when it comes to civil and ethical behavior, rests it's roots in such things as the Ten Commandments. Check most ANY religion, and you will find such similarities.
So, anyone that is behaving themselves in life, trying to do good, act good, and promote good, is basically following the "laws" set aside for humanity by a "higher power"...and does that really hurt any of us all that much?
(short answer - NO)
Now, I said all THAT...to say THIS:
It's a far cry from my OLD neighborhoods whenever I describe the CURRENT venue Wifey and I live within.
And you have to ask yourself: "What has changed SO much to cause this?"
Well, the houses are still here...as are the trees, and the critters (birds, squirrels, and rabbits), so what else is left?
Oh...that would be THE PEOPLE.
People have changed...their manner of disposition, attitude and level of caring have ALL changed over the decades.
What was considered BAD behavior is not wonderfully "acceptable", and what WAS reprehensible is now the new "bad".
We tend to want to look the other way, instead of pointing out such behavior.
Or, we don't even want to be bothered or get involved.
Time was, you chastened a child for...let's say breaking a window, and the child's parents took care of the matter with the child.
Today, you so much as raise your voice to that child, and some parent might stroll down and put a few rounds in your house...or worse.
Whatever happened to that Bible verse that says: "Come, let us REASON together"?
Sure makes you wonder...doesn't it?
If anything, it should make you want to have your old Christmas (and world) back.
But, as long as you can keep Christmas in your heart (at least for the season), I think the rest of the year might be able to better take care of itself.
*** Lastly today, this just in from Washington D.C. per the Budget Office of the White House:
Tough times at the North Pole. With the global economy still slumping, Santa took a sleigh ride to Washington. Despite being criticized for flying in, Congress agreed that Christmas is an industry too big to fail – Santa got his TARP funding. Now he’s feeling the pressure from the government-appointed elves on his board of directors. As a result, early retirement, downsizing, and corporate restructuring will change Holiday traditions forever.
Ed Snowmaker, the new board chair, issued this terse statement:
"The streamlining of North Pole Enterprises is necessitated because Santa allowed the organization to get too self-indulgent.
As a result, costs are out of sync with productivity. It could not respond to the market fast enough. The Board of Directors could not sit idly by and permit further erosion of the bottom line."
According to an elf with really big ears, here’s what’s really happening on Candy Cane Lane:
Comet and Cupid "chose" early retirement packages. They hope their experience will transfer to jobs in the overnight delivery business. No delay in Santa’s gift distribution is anticipated because a sled equipped with a hybrid engine will offset the loss of two reindeer power.
Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer will be taking Family Medical Leave in 2012.
(The insider elf reports that Rudolph will fly to a rehab facility in Southern California. When he returns, his nose will not be red.)
As for further restructuring, the board says today’s global challenges require North Pole Enterprises to constantly evaluate the competitiveness of its operations and products. Therefore, effective immediately, the following changes will be made in "The Twelve Days of Christmas" subsidiary:
1. The partridge will be retained, but a plastic tree will replace the pear tree.
The Board cited annual maintenance costs (e.g. fertilizer, bug spray, pruning, etc.) and the fact that the pears did not meet expectations as a cash crop. The pear tree will be sold for firewood and a one-time gain will be added to the bottom line.
2. The two turtledoves represent redundancy. In addition, their on-the-job romance was a distraction to other workers. Their positions have been eliminated. Management is trying to place them in separate areas.
3. The three French hens will be donated to a soup kitchen. The donation will generate a $20 charitable contribution.
4. The four calling birds will be replaced by a CRM system using Voice Over Internet Protocol. Offshore technology consultants will determine the system configuration and choice of carriers based upon 3G coverage area.
5. The five golden rings will be auctioned on eBay because of the strong gold market.
6. Given the fluctuations in egg prices in global commodity markets, the six geese-a-laying are a luxury the North Pole can no longer afford. The three most productive geese will be retained as a market hedge. The other three will join the French hens at the soup kitchen;
their donation will generate a $40 charitable contribution.
7. The seven swans-a-swimming have been terminated because of the costs associated with maintaining a heated pool at the North Pole. The swans will be sent to outplacement. They plan on relocating to a warmer climate.
8. The eight maids-a-milking have been replaced by automated milking equipment. The maids believe their employment rights have been violated; eight lawyers-a-suing filed a class action suit.
9. Nine ladies dancing and ten lords-a-leaping have been terminated because dancing and leaping do not contribute to the core business. Because the dancers and lords are under union contract, they will receive 95 percent of their pay for two years.
10. The eleven pipers piping and twelve drummers drumming is a band out of tune with current demographics. For now, a blues band from Chicago will supply the toy factory’s requisite background music.
Speculation swirls like snowflakes about additional cuts in headcount and costs. Santa
may be next as Snowmaker grabs the reins of power.
And that, as they say...is the REST of the story.
Be well, make a difference to someone, and...
Stay SAFE out there, America.


ms nk rey said...

I have to ask.. are you sure the coal was a practical joke?

Bob G. said...

At the time, it sure as hell didn't "feel" PRACTICAL...
(aside from being able to burn it in the furnace)

I guess that's what happens when your parents WARN you ahead of time to BE GOOD...and you have a lapse of reason and memory somewhere in between...LOL
Things turned out well that year...with the coal.

Years later Mom put licorice rock candy that LOOKS like coal in my stocking...and reminded me of that "one" year.
I have to admit the licorice tasted a LOT better (plus, we had GAS heat).

Hey, thanks for stopping by today and sharing your thoughts and comments.

Stay safe (and coal-free) down there.

Hey, we were children, right?