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Showing posts from 2013

Keeping the Holiday Spirit

It’s the holiday season, soon to be a new year We’ve shopped and we’ve wrapped, and we’ve tried to spread cheer. The halls have been decked and the trees are all glowing, And we’re dreaming of a “White Christmas”, although it hasn’t been snowing. We’ve hugged and we’ve kissed, and hung mistletoe from the ceiling. We are trying to spread that merry, yuletide feeling. With each card we send, the Christmas spirit should flourish. Peace and good will must prevail; they are never to perish. But something is wrong: the holiday wonder has left. It is part of our aging, an inevitable theft We’ve tried to keep merry and not be a miser, But the innocence of youth fades, as we become older and wiser. As our loved one’s depart, and leave us alone on this earth: We find our world sadder, less filled with true mirth. How can we retain our childhood sense of joy? When the

Keeping Christmas Memories Alive

Another Christmas is on its way, and the decorations are finally completed. I can relax now, write out my holiday cards by the glow of the tree and enjoy Miracle on 34 th Street .   I am watching the second snowfall of the season, so perhaps we will have a white Christmas. As much as I love the holiday, and the postcard view from my window, this year is going to be difficult. With all my decorations safely packed away in the storage room, I contemplated not creating my holiday display this year. “Let’s skip Christmas!” was ruminating in my mind. Christmas is such a time filled with wonderful childhood memories and family traditions. Could I enjoy the festive occasion this year with the passing of my mother this November? Both my parents are gone now, and that childhood connection seems lost. The wonder and excitement is overshadowed by loss and loneliness. There will be no hugs and kisses to be shared with my parents. No gifts or the all-important Hallmark Car

Yes Virginia, there is a Thanksgiving!

The holiday season is upon us. The malls and the stores are all decorated with their Christmas finery, and Santa is there greeting all the boys and girls.   Carols are playing and gingerbread is baking. The only issue is that it isn’t even Thanksgiving yet.   Every year it seems that merchants and advertisers are making the Christmas holiday season longer and more deliberately in your face. When I was growing up, the official Christmas shopping season did not begin until after Thanksgiving. The turkey was carved, and the trimmings were packed away in the refrigerator when the shopping lists would come out. The first time we would see Santa was in the Thanksgiving Day Parade.   He would be making his way to the department stores for all the good boys and girls to visit. In Philadelphia, Santa climbed a fire truck ladder into the Gimbels’ Department Store at the conclusion of the parade. This was the official start of the holiday season.

In Loving Memory of Loretta R. Sparks - 1924 to 2013

My mother passed away on Friday November 1, 2013.  The priest, who came to the nursing home to deliver Last Rites, advised us that that it was All Saints Day.  You are never prepared to let go of a loved one, especially a parent, but as a Catholic my mom left the earthly plane on a fitting day. I know that my life changed on that day.  I will never be the same. The mother who gave me life, held me in her arms, dried my childhood tears and always believed in me is gone. I can’t see her, call her on the phone or go visit her at Shady Lane Nursing Home. There is a pain in my heart that only the grief process and the support of family and friends will help relieve. The night before her passing my mom whispered to me “I am always here for you.” I truly believe that my mom’s spirit is watching over me, and I have the best guardian angel ever.  I wrote the following as a tribute to my mother to be read at her funeral service.  I share it here on my blog to provide a lasting rem

The King of Costumes

When Halloween draws near every year, I think of my grandmother.   It wasn’t that she was a cackling, hump-backed witch or shaped like a fat pumpkin. My grandmother was a small woman with graying hair and bifocals, a typical grandmother image. She was “Nana” to the family. There were no casting of spells or broom riding over the harvest moon. That’s not why she comes to mind. It’s the fact that she made Halloween a special holiday for me.   You see, in my neighborhood my grandmother made me a costume connoisseur. Every October, all my classmates rushed to Woolworths to select their Halloween garb. You might remember those rows of costumes with the brightly colored masks peering from the cellophane window on the box lid.   These types of costumes make every child look like a cardboard cutout of their favorite cartoon character. If I wanted to be Batman, I wanted a real utility belt not a stamped on flammable material version. Remember this was the 60’s, so a swipe

Is Common Courtesy Dead??

Common courtesy has died. Yes, the milk of human kindness has soured, curdled and is now being sold as Greek Yogurt at a supermarket near you. The propensity for humans to look out for one another has failed. It seems to be everyone for themselves in this Twitter, Google, Android, iPhone World. “Get out of my way, you are standing in my hotspot,” seems to the prevailing mantra. People are too busy in their own electronic paradise to give much thought to anyone they aren’t texting, talking or tweeting to. Crowd’s march like drones with their heads down enraptured by the screen of their cell phone, as they stumble over curbs and into oncoming traffic.   Recently, there was a woman that made it on the news for falling into a mall fountain, because she wasn’t paying attention to where she was walking. Can there be anything that important you need to text that makes you oblivious to your surroundings? Unless your sending me a text that informs me