Sunday, December 26, 2021

The Big Day...


 ...has once again come and gone...and it was an early start on a busy day.


We had a house full of folks coming over in the afternoon to exchange Christmas gifts, enjoy some fellowship and eat lots of good food Karen prepared.

love those slippers



my crew, part 1...



...and part 2.



And Karen's crew, parts 1...



...and 2.

Would have been nice to enjoy a white Christmas...



...but since all those folks had to drive here and home again, it was good to have dry roads for safe travel.

So, another one is in the books already...how does this happen every year??

We did our best to slow things down, embrace the time, and even kept track of the passing days on Mr. Snowman...



...but it didn't help...it still raced by at lightning speed.

Oh well...hope yours was filled with grace, love and laughter.



And speaking of laughter, here are a few parting shots on your way out the door...

sorry...nothing amusing about this...



...but this is nice...



...and this is actually pretty funny.



Catherine and Rodger the Naughty Elf...hey, she said it, not me

On to New Year's!

later, mcm fans...


Friday, December 24, 2021

Dear Ryan,


 
It's Christmas Eve...and no surprise, you're on my mind.

The wreath in front of your tree was Karen's idea.  She wanted to pretty it up, but I told her it was perfect just the way it is...a little bit rough cut, like you were.

I imagine you would have skipped the bow, but I like it...a nice touch, and we even put some lights on it so it’s easy to see from my office.

Is it a big celebration in heaven tonight?

Or does that happen on the anniversary of the actual night Christ was born to Mary in that manger so many Christmases ago?



The King of Kings and Lord of Lords taking on human flesh in the most humble surroundings...incredible.

Either way it must be a spectacular event...all the hosts of heaven joining together in praise and adoration for the new born King...



...and now you're part of it!

Amazing.

I'm truly happy for you, Ryan.

I know, as the writer of Hebrews said, you've "laid aside every weight and the sin which so easily besets us" and you're now running with patience the race God has set before you.

What a wondrous experience that must be!

So it seems petty to even mention it, because you've got bigger fish to fry, but I miss you...



...and I wish I could hug you one last time on this Christmas Eve, because this time I'd know and would make it count.

I wouldn't take for granted that I'd see you again, that you'd always be around.

I wouldn't leave things unsaid in the ridiculous belief there's always another time to say them.

I'd look you in the eyes and tell you I'm sorry for the times I failed you, for the moments when I let you down, when I didn't live up to my responsibilities as your father.

And I'd make sure you really know I love you, that I'm proud of you, that I'm thankful to God in heaven you're my son.

Just one more chance, one last time before you were gone...

But that's not how it works, is it?

Because the truth is, I already had those chances...

...every time I saw you, every time you walked through my door at Thanksgiving, every time we met together for breakfast at Denny's...

...and I squandered them.

For what, exactly, was I waiting?

Now that door's closed, that opportunity missed, and what can I do?

We soldier on.

So until that future day...until we meet again in heaven...

Merry Christmas, Ryan.

 - Dad


Saturday, December 18, 2021

Just 7 More Days...


...and all through the land...people clamored to know, "O, when will it end?!"

"The answer's contained in the statement, my dear,


"Just 7 more days 'til Christmas is here!"

So hurry and watch those shows on TV!
The halls all need decking; you must trim the tree!


But somewhere amidst all the sparkle and shine,
The tumult and chaos that's stealing your time,

Take a moment or two for calm meditation;
Remember the Reason for this celebration.


The lights and the glitter are all well and good,
The ornaments, presents, songs and the food...


But when you consider the Grand Scheme of things,
They're really just heralds for our Newborn King.


So sing and be merry with those that you love,
But never forget God's gift from above.

With shepherds and Angels we echo it still,
"Glory to God, peace on earth and good will."




As the big day approaches we've been watching so many Christmas movies non-stop, they've all started to blend together...






We actually haven't watched any Christmas movies at all, not even The Bishop's Wife, which is one of our favorites.

Instead we've been pulled into mini-series like this one:


...a glossy mystery set in 1930's London about a black jazz group that briefly becomes the toast of high society.

It's very well acted with absolutely gorgeous art deco sets and lively original jazz numbers...



...but you can feel in your gut their brief entrĂ©e to the rarefied air of the silk stockings won't last.

This is after all the 1930's, the decade of fascism, and the elite's fascination with The Louis Lester Band...



...soon turns tragic.

When it does, the upper crust's true colors are fluttering in the breeze anon for all to see...



...as they hang the scapegoat out to dry, closing ranks to protect their own.

And while the story devolves into a not so puzzling "who dunnit", yet the strong acting and well formed relational underpinnings hold your interest 'til the final credits roll.

This one is worth a look, even though there's nary a Christmas tree nor Santa Claus parade anywhere in sight.


I've made reference to all the majestic oak trees we have around our home...


...and I love having them, not just for their grand beauty but also for the welcome shade they provide in the summer.

But they hold their leaves late into the fall season, and when they do finally drop we have a TON of leaves on our yard...way too many for Karen and I to get rid of by ourselves, so a local yard service brings in their mega-blowers...



...and after most of one day, voila!  Clean yard.

They had just finished that task earlier this week, when yet another major wind storm blew through...


...with gusts up to 79 mph.

Considering a category 1 hurricane has winds of 74 mph, that's quite a blow.



Besides blowing Buster Keaton's umbrella away, it also blew every remaining leaf in the neighborhood into our yard...












All of those areas had been clear, but here we go again.

Heavy sigh...


I checked the local listings and guess what?



Instead of Lucy, Mod Squad or Sonny & Cher (with Jack Palance and Ed McMahon), it's time for a promenade through the parting shots department...



couldn't smell that rotting a mile away



Clarise did say (s?)he was "cute"



I don't trust the green guy under my tree



one last "fire in the sky" photo from Larry's cottage in 2021




do yourself a favor and click here:  Holiday Ride



someday...



invasion of the sanity snatchers



Try not to surrender to full on panic mode, y'all...

later, mcm fans...