Greetings and salutations from the sand, sun and surf of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and the great island of Nantucket! Great to be with you on this Christmas morning, the twenty fifth day of December, of course, in the year of our Lord 2010. Looking out on “Faith Hill” at Dowses Beach here in Osterville, it is plain to see that we are experiencing a very white and sunny Christmas here on the Cape and Islands and judging from the reaction of the congregation at “Our Lady of the Assumption” after our choir gave one of it’s best performances ever at last night’s midnight Mass, the Christmas spirit is alive and well this a.m… However, Christmas to me would not be complete unless I watched the classic film, well, “It’s a wonderful Life”, for one, but, on this day, I prefer to watch, “A Christmas Story”, that spins a yarn, narrated by an adult, “Ralphie”, and his exploits as a kid growing up in a typical Midwestern town, somewhere in Ohio I believe. Ralphie, along with his loving mother, cantankerous, yet equally loving father, and his younger brother Randy, who all await this big day with great eagerness, go through the same trials and tribulations we all go through today at the holidays, just on a slightly calmer scale as it seems that life was just a little less complicated “back then”. Especially Ralphie, as his wish for a “Red Rider BB gun” is tops on his list and he intends to get that air rifle at any cost. He tries Santa, he tries his teacher, through the art of bribery, by using an apple, his charm or even a brilliant essay that he envisions receiving an A plus, plus a Nobel peace prize if the writers would have thought of that. But, alas no Red Rider, and as all looked lost, at the very end, his father, spied something in the corner of the living room that Christmas Eve night, where, to Ralphie’s surprise, was a brand new Red Rider BB gun–and let me tell you, from my perspective, I lose it every time, Niagara Falls, Frankie Junior. You see, many moons ago, my father had lost a job, things were tough and in my darkest hour that Christmas day in Simsbury, Connecticut where I did most of my “growing up”, I was told in a small present under the tree, as I ripped it open in disgust, for it was small, light, and seemed to hold no value at all, as I opened up said box, what was inside frightened and made me even madder. It told me to go down into the basement to retrieve my Christmas present. Now, I had always found the basement, as a kid, to be a scary place, especially the place where the furnace was, you know, the creepy unfinished part, where who knows what shady characters could be lurking. But, to my great surprise, as I walked very hesitantly down those stairs, was the gift I had always wanted since, well, forever, at least at that moment in “time and space”, and that being a full size air hockey set. And there it was. I remember how happy my Dad was at that moment, but it did not match how much LOVE I felt for him that day, how much it meant to me, how much I knew he had to sacrifice to give that air hockey dream to me when he could have just as well bought me a “football”. So, on this Christmas morning, I just want to take a moment to shout out to my Dad, wherever he may be at this moment, Merry Christmas DAD and I LOVE YOU!, and that gift, that simple, elegant, gesture of LOVE is still the greatest Christmas present I have ever received, and perhaps ever will, for it showed me the power of GIVING, and it is in the GIVING that we truly receive. I love you DAD! Merry Christmas Everybody and may GOD keep you and yours into this next year. PRESERVE THE WILDERNESS! Peace~M
December 25, 2010
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