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Cchristmas is a magical time of year, especially for a 6-year old girl. In her eyes everyone can see a more than special sparkle in the knowledge of being a good girl all year long, in order to receive that special present.

My wife and I lost that special window through the eyes of a child when my daughter grew up and became a beautiful woman with a beautiful life. Six years ago she gave us a remarkable granddaughter whose love of life was exceptional to the point where everyone she came in contact with had to smile.

This year my daughter gave my wife the task of buying the special doll for our granddaughter. Weeks before, she would hint to us about the doll with the specific knowledge, it would be under her tree on Christmas Day.

That special day came and we all met in a small town around Boston to open all of my grandchildren’s special presents. Since my daughter married, this became a very special tradition for all of us. My granddaughter knew the size of the box that would contain her special doll. She was patient allowing everyone to open one present at a time.

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Tthis is the time of year everyone seems to slow down. For the past few months all we’ve thought about was preparing for Thanksgiving Dinner and getting out to the shopping areas, in order to show how much you love someone by how much you spend on them.

The Christmas rush is over, the New Years Eve celebration is a hangover you want to forget, and all you have left is to figure out where you are heading into the future before it happens. The election of 2016 seems to have lasted forever. In fact, it feels as though it is still going on.

Our nation is split in two with political ideologies having little conversation in order to lead our nation to a better place. People supporting Donald Trump believe America will be made great again. Those who lost are in fear our future will be defined by where we were in the past versus where we should be in our future.

The weather cooperated this year by laying down a thick white blanket of snow displaying a kind of clean slate. This new whiteboard has the tendency to sweep away the dust of the past.

I have a favorite saying that fits perfectly during this time of reflection. I am in no way taking credit for it and have no concept as to where I picked it up. However, it fits and it always goes to the front of my mind during this time of year which defines the new. Continue Reading →

Eevery morning it’s my job to make the coffee before my wife joins me for some breakfast and conversation. This has been a tradition in our marriage ever since it began over thirty-one years ago. While I was getting the coffee pot ready, I noticed a large jar next to the coffee machine.

It must have had a gallon capacity but was only a quarter filled by some kind of yellowish liquid. The liquid was brewing because its surface was covered with tiny bubbles. When my wife came downstairs to join me for breakfast I asked what this newest of inhabitant of our kitchen counter was.

She told me it was a starter cake. Not having a clue as to what a starter cake is supposed to be, I asked for an explanation. She told me that she received the starter liquid from her sister. She explained that every time one made the cake they would have enough left to give the extra mix to two other people who wanted to make their own Christmas cake.

These people would then make their cakes and have a couple of starter liquids to give to other people, so the same cake starter would spread around our known universe. This intrigued the hell out of me because I wondered where the starter cake liquid had been and where it was destined to go. Continue Reading →

It‘s sometimes important to stay out of the way. I’ve learned this over the past 66 years of my life. This concept is especially true when you find yourself at the supermarket. I try to stand in front of the most innocuous products on display, in hopes I could hide as my wife picks out the most perfect bunch of bananas.

Following my wife through the supermarket or, as I used to call it, grocery store, I was impressed how easy it was for her to fly through the labyrinth of shopping carts and displays. They were placed in the middle of the aisles to not only sell the products but to drive everyone in the store to stress levels they never wanted to reach.

We worked our way through the store, to finally reach one of my wife’s favorite parts of the store. It had every type of vegetable I knew and a few I hadn’t imagined existed. Understanding only the vegetables I remembered seeing in my refrigerator, and could pronounce, I was surprised by a sudden burst of cold water flowing from the top of the refrigerator case.

At first, I though some sort of water- line had broken. An older, almost hysterically giggling woman came to my aid, explaining that a spray system is used to keep the vegetables looking fresh. Of course, I couldn’t quite understand how watering carrots in plastic bags could help them stay fresher. Continue Reading →

The 2016 election has surrounded itself with stress, much of which we will hopefully soon be able to forget. The election also defined the term “Millennial”. I am sure the term existed before the election but this process has brought the definition to the forefront, since the people of the “Millennial Generation” will be a force that will have a place in the election our new government.

Pew Research Center defines the Millennial Generation as those born after 1980, and the first generation to come of age in the new millennium. Another name for the millennial is Generation Y. The Millennial generation follows Generation X in order of demography.

This generation is often associated with technology and social media. Since I’ve yet to meet a millennial without having a cell phone in hand, or earphones attached to some device to their ears, this definition is easy to understand. Their future will tell whether or not this is a good thing.

This is not the first generation of Americans to be categorized by chronology and history. The “Lost Generation”, which was the post-World War I generation, was actually a group of writers who came of age during the war and established their literary reputation. The decade for this generation was the 1920’s. The term was from a remark by Gertrude Stein to Ernest Hemingway.  Continue Reading →

I believe religion should be a personal issue. The practice should not be on the forefront of national or international politics. I am saddened to observe this is not the case. The image of religion has degraded into a means of power and control.

I no longer go to any church service because it now has a tendency to evolve into a promotion of one idea over the other. I talk with my God every day. I enjoy doing this because it is a means of relaxing my mind and thus taking my thoughts away from the madness of our present.

I am told many concepts and ideas of our past are now being radicalized. In my nation a political discussion was based on ideas that would help our society. This election is based on personal assaults and fear. What made me most proud of my country was the election process.

In the past, when one lost an election he or she would concede with a promise to support the winning candidate. This is not the case today. Now we have a candidate that states the only reason for a loss would be that the process is “rigged”. This is a radicalization or our electoral system. Continue Reading →

Seasons in northern New England never change gradually. One day its sunny and warm with people walking the beaches in shorts and t-shirts and then, within minutes, the winds of autumn empty the beaches by becoming one large sand blower that scrapes the skin off one’s body and the hair off one’s head. These same winds also pull the leaves from the trees and basically rearrange our tidy little world.

This happened to me the other day as I drove off to an appointment. The day before was beautiful and warm. Because of this I wore a short-sleeved shirt and didn’t bother to wear a jacket. I was hoping this would be the year summer would last forever. Once again I was wrong.

As I walked into my garage I heard the wind howl. I hadn’t heard that sound since last March but I thought it was time for a little bit of interesting weather. As soon as I left my garage I knew I was right.

Backing out of the driveway was like backing into a wind tunnel. I swear my truck left the ground for a couple of microseconds because everything started to float a few inches in the air. Since I drive a truck I always assumed that I was in a heavy enough vehicle to hold the road. After driving onto my lawn and into my once-standing mailbox I knew I was wrong.

Driving down my road was like driving through an intergalactic battle scene from an old “Star Wars” movie. My truck was attacked by hundreds of red, yellow, and brown leaf-like star fighters that swarmed on my windshield hoping to block my vision and thus have me drive into the ditch or one of my neighbor’s mailboxes. I chose the latter. Continue Reading →

Autumn is part of an integral cycle. This is the time we have to pull up the plants we cherished, fed, and protected during the last five months of the year. During the summer months we were proud of how strong our plants looked. We waited patiently for their fruit to ripen so we could fill our family’s tables with delicious vegetables and sweet-scented flowers. Like everything in everyone’s life all things change and nothing stays the same. In other words, everything is mortal.

Walking into my garden, I am saddened to see my tomato plants turn black with brownish green tomatoes left on dying stems. When the tomatoes were in full bloom you couldn’t see the cage through the thick foliage of green leaves and ripened tomatoes. In fact, throughout the entire summer I had to add miles of twine in order to keep my once giant tomato plants from falling to the ground. This of course made the task of cleaning up this part of my garden more difficult, because I had to separate the plants from the cages and then from the twine.

After I pulled the main part of the tomato plant away from the cages I accidentally knocked my glasses from my head and proceeded to step on them in the muck of mud and crushed tomatoes. Looking down at them and seeing they no longer looked like glasses I decided to leave them in the garden over the winter. Who knows maybe I’ll grow an eye-glass plant. Continue Reading →

“An unexpected relationship will become permanent.”

Tthe message from inside the fortune cookie stared me in the face and I stared back, first at the broken cookie then at the scroll-type message within, and finally at the man seated opposite me on the table. Was it an omen, a premonition, or a warning for what lay ahead?

There were so many thoughts cramped up in my head in that instant of a second, that I was truly able to appreciate Bill Gates’ phrase “at the speed of thought”. It was the first time that we were out together and he looked terribly handsome as he sat there chuckling at what his fortune cookie said, completely oblivious to my state of mind at the time.

I’ve always been a superstitious person. I have a lucky pen, a money plant that I never dare to neglect, and a set routine that I never defer from, but treating a fortune cookie as a message from God was a bit much, even for me. For the moment I relegated the incident to the back of my mind and joined in his laughter.

As we sat in his car in the parking lot, just below my apartment, we chatted easily, neither of us wanting to break the momentum of a lovely evening by saying goodbye. I had the urge to lean over and kiss him on his cheek. I had the urge, but not the nerve. For all technical reasons, it was not a date. We were just two friends, out to dinner and I had no intention of spoiling that.

By the next afternoon, I knew I was falling in love, because I had completely lost my appetite and my interest in anyone or anything else. It had certainly been unexpected. Yet it was neither a relationship, nor did it have any chance of becoming permanent. What struck me with a jolt was that I wanted it to be. Continue Reading →

Iit was the first part of December and the frozen ground was covered with snow. My little girl said to me, ‘Daddy can we have that tree we saw on our hike through the woods last summer, for our Christmas tree?

My little girl had a bad accident in the autumn and the doctors had said that she would be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life. Wanting to do all I could to please my precious child, I began getting things ready to do my chores, in order to get an early start next morning. I forked some hay into a pile to feed the cows and horses, I also set a bucket aside with some grain in it, to feed it to my saddle-horse. I then filled a pan with slop, to feed the pigs. This was all so that I could go and look for the tree that my daughter wanted.

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