Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Merry Christmas to all.

Even though no longer a practicing Catholic, I always celebrate Christmas. Christmas to me - is all about, and I do really mean ALL about, gift giving and not one other thing. The gift of the use of the manger to Joseph and Mary, God's gift of his own son to mankind, the gift of the shepherds who watched over Jesus, the gift of the guiding star, the gifts of the Magi to the Christ child, the gift of Christian teachings to us all, the gift of Christ's own life to save us, the gift of forgiveness. If only we would truly celebrate gift giving more often the world would be better. It does not have to be commercial gift giving but can and also should be giving of: charity, common courtesy, a smile to a stranger, good manners, respect, kindness, friendliness, forgiveness, assistance to those in need, love and so forth to one another as opposed to greed, hate, racism, politics, one-upmanship, crankiness, war, politicizing everything and so on. Yes, I think Christmas is 100 percent about gift giving and should take place every day of our lives at least to some extent. Then again, we being less than perfect do okay to celebrate it once a year in big style and then at least a little bit during the rest of the year in the little things we do for one another.

Again, Merry Christmas. And, lest I forget, Happy Festivus for the rest of us!

All the best,
Glenn B

At Last, Time To Unwind - All Done Until Next Year - And The Mall Shooting That Wasn't

I am done with all the Christmas rush, trying to figure out what to buy for whom, shopping, trying not to lose my cool with ill mannered aresehats in the crowded shopping centers, done wrapping the presents (thank the Heavens {or Walmart} for wrapping paper with grid lines on the reverse - a pleasure to cut to size) and done hoping that tomorrow will be a nice day. Now that last one may surprise you a bit, I mean who in their right mind that celebrates Christmas would not want it to be a nice day. It's not that I don't care, I just am not worried that it will not be a nice day, I will make it one. The tension is all gone now that the shopping bit is over. Well almost all gone.

As usual, I went out shopping today. In fact, I went for two very different reasons. As usual, I went Christmas shopping, as I always do, on Christmas Eve. Before that though, I drove 25 miles to a florist to order flowers. Sure, I have plenty of florists closer to home but this was to buy flowers for the funeral of my good friend Jerry (we both retired from the same job) who just passed away. He had brain cancer - he went quickly and as far as I am aware without pain. Of course, his family and loved ones are suffering because of his loss especially at this time of year. While a family member asked for donations to a charity in lieu of flowers, I figured that he was well worth both and took up a collection starting last night. So far, the flowers are covered and whatever is left over will be donated either to the family or the charity. Being that I was out until about 0430 last night, enjoying some hard cider and Jameson's Irish Whiskey at my favorite local pub, I only crawled out of the sack at about 1030. I had a lot of emailing back and forth to folks about the flowers and some other funeral arrangements and the next thing I knew it was almost 1 in the afternoon. I skedaddled off to the florist. Spent about 30 minutes there going over the arrangement we wanted we wanted, a patriotic arrangement with red, white and blue flowers looking like Old Glory. Once done there, it was back toward home but first I had to stop at the mall.

I got to the mall shortly after 3 PM, got there in good time from the florist. When I walked inside, I was shocked, it was not a ghost town but surely was the least crowded I have ever seen a mall on Christmas Eve. As I was shopping in one of the department stores, a saleslady walks over to me and another customer next to me and asked if we had heard about the "shooting at the mall today". She went on to explain that the mall had been evacuated because of a reported shooting but that thee really had been no shooting at all. A shoplifter reportedly had resisted apprehension, In Macy's (my son-in-law works there and must have had a headache over this as he is their Operations Director) and in the ensuing scuffle a large display crashed to the floor. It made a loud noise and the sheep of NY thought it was a gunshot and many bolted for the doors.

The police responded and supposedly the mall was evacuated for awhile but I later heard conflicting stories on the radio news, one saying only that shoppers fled the scene another report saying it was evacuated by police. Each report though said that according to some shoppers, they saw others take advantage of the situation by fleeing the mall with unpaid for items in their arms and then make for their cars. Merry Friggin Christmas! An online report in a local news outlet said that the mall had been locked down for about 20 minutes by the Nassau County Police. (If so, I have to applaud them, they did it right. Heck, they have been known to shut down an intersection for over an hour for a fender bender, so a 20 minute lockdown was excellent for a report of a shooting that was found to be without basis.) The report that said the mall was locked down for 20 minutes sounds like the most likely thing to have actually taken place being that I got in to shop there by just after 3 and this happened just after 1 or 1:30. I guess I got lucky and got there after all the commotion. It seems not all that many folks wanted to go back shopping at said mall after the reported shooting.

Finally got home around 5PM, shopping all done. At last, I got to eat breakfast a few minutes later. Had not had a bite all day until then, nor a drop of coffee. Then onto the final stage of the gift wrapping. I was done wrapping most presents yesterday but still had several to do today. That is all over though now it is time to kick back and unwind with a drink or two. My first one for the evening was a hot cocoa. My next one or two will probably contain Vodka and hot cocoa will not be an additional ingredient. While it has not been a very long day, it sure has been a busy one, I can use a small libation and some good cheer.

All the best,
Glenn B