About Me

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Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, United States

Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Quiet Christmas

This has been the quietest Christmas
that I have ever spent.
Memories of past celebrations
flood the memory banks.

In an unheated stone church in Germany,
built during Charlemagne's reign,
a children's choir in dirndls and lederhosen
sang a touching, "Stille Nacht!"

Eleven o'clock evening services
or thereabouts in eight Episcopal churches;
one in which I began a tradition
of ushers in black tie and dinner jacket.

Then the return to the house for
a midnight repast, mostly alcoholic,
with guests, usually oddball characters
whom we barely knew and promptly forgot.

Early on, Mr. and Mrs Santa Claus
labored into the wee hours.
In later years, a designated slave
assembled the do-it-yourself items.

Ma and Pa staggered down 
the stairs as late as possible
to see the stockings being emptied,
get some stollen in their stomachs.

After the Santa Claus days were over
a strict order of opening presents was imposed.
One by one, each person in turn
selected a gift, and opened it for all to see.

I forget when the standing rib roast tradition began
but it was a welcome change from turkeys.
The only problem was that it took all day to cook
while Pa again failed to master Yorkshire pudding.

Dessert was often a flaming pudding
which was both hazardous and hard to eat.
By late afternoon, chaos had faded to stupor.
The progeny then scattered to various venues.

This year, Barbara and I were alone,
attending a Christmas Eve service at seven.
In bed by ten as usual, we had
a leisurely pancake breakfast next morning.

Our major presents were already in use,
so we took pictures holding the boxes
of a Canon Power Shoot camera for her
and a 40 inch Panasonic Smart TV for me.

God bless you all, have a Happy New Year,
and forgive my lengthy lucubration!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

2014 photos

Christmas 2014

Cape Cod's famous hydrangeas, view from the deck of our house

USMA Class of 1949 65th reunion at West Point, alumni in dark blue blazers

North rim of the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone Park (it really blew!)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Christmas 2014

F. Scott Fitzgerald was wrong.  
There are second acts in American lives.
Barbara and I are privileged to enjoy
a second act in very long lives.

I will be 87 in March, God willing;
she just turned 85 in November.
We experience as much good health
as people our age can reasonably expect.

Looking at the picture attached,
you see part of the enormous garden
Barbara has created, in a bank of
Cape Cod's famous hydrangeas.

Every morning and throughout the day
we see a view of marsh and tidal waters,
an ever-changing sea sky to the east,
and the antics of native wildlife.

The reunion at West Point was a
bittersweet occasion for the forty some
classmates who attended, showing the
mental and physical ravages of age.

From Phoenix to Rapid City, SD
we toured eight of the national parks, 
took hundreds of pictures of the sights 
survived long and hectic days.

Barbara made two arduous hops to
attend family reunions, so we were glad
to have two of her daughters here
to celebrate a real family thanksgiving.

Christmas and New Year holidays 
will find us alone again, but with 
numerous cultural events beforehand
to get in the spirit of the season.

Our attention is focussed on saving
the two institutions we follow closely,
the art museum Barbara helped to found,
and our troubled local church.

May you have good health, good times,
and good friends this holiday season, and
the peace which passeth understanding
all throughout the new year