Saturday, December 26, 2009

A child for life

Late on Christmas Eve my grandson spotted an intruder in our home.

I suppose "intruder" isn't exactly the right word since this old man was welcome and expected. Still, we never knew what time he will arrive and he never bothers to knock on the door or announce himself.

Isaiah was awakened by his dad about 11:30. They crept silently down the stairs and peeked around the corner into the parlor.

And, there he was! The man who keeps us tethered securely to our childhood sense of miracles, joy and wonder.

As we watch helplessly, first our children and then theirs grow inexorably closer to grownup problems and occasional tragedy. We want nothing more than to hold them on our laps, suspended in time forever, but they just won't sit still.

Some may argue that showing a child Santa Claus in his own home is an artful deceit that grooms him for disappointment. I beg to differ.

I never saw Santa in our house but he always came. I believe in him with all my heart.

On cold December nights I would perch in my bedroom window and scan the sky for a flying sleigh pulled by magical reindeer. I was no fool, even at seven or eight. But I believed it was possible to see Santa on his journey because I wanted to believe.

To this day I look at the sky every Christmas Eve and wonder where the old elf is at that moment. And while I'm looking for him I see something else, something I see nearly every night of my life and yet rarely notice.

I see the heavens. All of God's stars are there and somewhere among them is the One that made all this childhood joy possible and ageless.

And every Christmas Eve I am a child again. A child for life. And so shall my children be thanks to the miracle of one night every year.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Dearest friends and family,

So many of you have warmed our hearts and graced our home with your beautiful Christmas cards, family photos, personal notes and newsletters over the past couple of weeks I confess I have been enjoying them with a dollop of guilt.

It has been a tough year for Carolann and me financially and nothing stresses the heart and soul more than worrying about how to buy food, juggle the bills and remain employed with some degree of security.

And, most importantly, to always wear the infectious, beaming, loving smile our loved ones richly deserve.

I don't want to belabor the subject or start whining. Good grief, I have riches a kingdom couldn't buy: good health, honest love, and many hearts happy to see me waddling down a sidewalk or hallway in approach with my Popeye-squinty smile.

Carolann, of course, lights every room and heart she enters, and she bursts into them all.

So, I hope it's a small comfort to you to know that we are digging deep to get ourselves out of relatively modest debts with our modest incomes.

I'm not quite "pushing sixty" yet but I am pulling fifty and we want to retire eventually. We're trimming our sails, even to the point of cutting out 44-cents stamps.

This is your Christmas card.

We hope you're not offended that you can't hold it in your hand or tape it over your fireplace.

We love buying, wrapping and giving gifts and cards as much as anybody. But, for now we hope you'll read this and know it serves as a personal prayer from Carolann and me to each of you:

Bless you and yours. And please know that you have all our love for these sacred holidays and the new year to come.

God bless us, every one!

Dave and Carolann

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Things you'll remember: Part Two

Nothing lasts forever. Except, perhaps, forever.

Before I got onto that honey bee tangent I was talking about the things from our lives which are rapidly passing into memory. And, in a mere generation even the memory will be gone.

Technology does that. It creates new ways of doing old things and mind-blowing new things most of us could never imagine. That's cool stuff but what's even better, I think, is that technology sweeps us all forward in a stream, rushing past ever-changing landscapes.

Take my profession, for example: broadcasting. It is rapidly become anachronistic.

For my forty years of experience and supposed expertise I can't for a minute understand why music radio stations still exist. Who needs them? The human factor, camaraderie and entertainment, were distilled from them years ago. Now we're left with mostly mindless jukeboxes that play songs they merely guess we might like to hear (and commercials they know damned well we don't want to hear.) The fact that we all carry our own radio stations containing thousands of songs of our own selection in a device the size of a matchbox seems to have been missed entirely by my industry.

Talk radio is still viable but only because there is money yet to be made in it, which soon won't be the case because technology has given everybody a pulpit: a microphone, a web cam, and a blog.

I am a lamplighter in the twenty-first century.

Luckily for me, I am approaching retirement age. My younger colleagues need to get scrambling to learn new ways to earn a living. And honestly, as much as I have loved my career I won't bemoan its passing. That's the way things work in a world driven by creative human ingenuity. We dream, we strive, we achieve; we move down that stream.

Last week Carolann, our seven-year-old grandson, Isaiah, and I were singing along with Christmas songs on the car radio. When Feliz Navidad came on we all had a bit of trouble remembering the lyrics. (That's pretty funny considering there are, literally, just six words in that song plus a seven-word English translation.) Specifically, we were all butchering "Prospero Ano y Felicidad." When the song ended Carolann was repeating the words aloud so that she might remember them but still having a bit of trouble with that new year greeting en español. But Isaiah had a simple solution:

"Play it again, Nana."

He couldn't imagine a device that played a song one time, and one time only.

Goodbye, radio.