TRIMMING THE CHRISTMAS TREE WITH FAMILY HEIRLOOMS
oh sanguine, lost hopes and dreams
each ornament renews
kisses, laughter, loved ones remembered
each ornament renews
the victories, the struggles, from bounty to barren
each ornament renews
from cradle to grave, sweet memories rush back
each ornament renews
strength to survive, with loved ones near
each ornament renews
oh sanguine, fresh hopes and dreams
james marshall goff
As December winds swirled the snow in drifts outside
Lisa covered Mama, held her hand as she cried
“It’s my last Christmas, I know it in my heart, dear
Send my prayers to God; deliver them with my tears”
“Hush, Mama, you can’t die; Tommy needs you so
And his tour of duty still has six months to go”
Mama fell asleep, Lisa bowed her head in prayer
Adding her own tears, she asked that Tommy be there
“Please let my brother see Mama just one more time
When her eyes open, may it be her son she finds”
Tears fell on the floor as Lisa kept vigil
Beside her cancer-stricken mother so fragile
Awakening to see Tommy standing nearby
In uniform he appeared; Lisa exhaled a sigh
“God sent you home, I knew He would, our pleas were heard”
Tommy stroked his sister’s hair, saying not one word
‘Twas then Lisa saw Mama standing behind him
Aglow in heaven’s light were her mother and twin
“How blessed we’ll be – together on this Christmas Day!”
Lisa exclaimed, just before they faded away
Confused, she saw her ashen mom so still in bed
‘Neath the door a telegram, Tommy too was dead
And though there were tears in Lisa’s blue eyes so bright
Her loved ones would spend Christmas together in God’s sight
A smile came as candles flaming in the window grew
Lisa realized one Christmas she’d be with them too
*Rhyming narrative for Paula Swanson’s “Tear” contest
The old man had always had an unnatural fondness
for the animal but could never seem to bond with human easily,
with the exception of a special, dear grandmother. His mind
wandered back to his childhood, the Christmas eve of 1958 about
a special chore that he was required to do of his parents…….
To be or not to be
One two three,
Five more to go…
The eight year old counted the puppies his female Border collie
had given birth to only three days earlier. The words of his parents
echoed in his ears, “We can’t have so many dogs around the house,
we can’t feed them all. You will have to dispose of them,
she is your dog, your responsibility.” The lad wiped the tears from
his eyes, as he prepared reluctantly to smash another head against
a large stone which he had selected. “Smash!” not a whimper.
He had become proficient at this chore.
To be or not to be
One two three four,
four more to go.
The remaining puppies snuggled together for warmth in the cold
December breeze. I can’t do this his conscience screamed as his
young mind reasoned, “You have to, mom said, and dad will be home
in the evening. You will get a licking such as you have never gotten before.” “Smash!” not a whimper. The blood trickled down his finger tips.
To be or not to be,
One, two, three, four, five,
Three more to go, He looked at the huge stone, “The killing stone” he
thought as he prepared to finish all three of the remaining puppies
in one swift moment if possible. “Smash! Smash! Smash!” It was over
he gave a sigh of relief as he gathered the tiny, still bodies into a small
shoe box that was to be the coffin of burial. He quickly buried the box
with the puppies’ corpses inside. He knew this was one chore on Christmas
eve day that would haunt him for many days perhaps years to come.
In Honor of Carol Brown
The sandwich was probably only two days old
School had let out for Christmas vacation on the 23rd
And now on Christmas Eve Sam had found it -
lunchbox and all - in an alley behind Clarke’s Super
The kid had taken a couple of bites of the apple – now
gone brown- but left the roast beef sandwich whole
“Too damn much mayo!” Sam frowned
“But boy am I hungry!”
Licorice the cat – so named by the neighborhood kids –
was hungry too and let Sam know it with his most
Sam was street-wise an old cardboard box dweller who
had tenanted many boxes many alleys in his time
Yet this was no “Hello puss whose puss are you?”
animal summons for attention
The yowl had a bone-rattle desperation Sam hadn’t heard
Licorice blended with the night
But stood out even against the gloom
She was pressed against an empty oil barrel back arched
on the tips of her paws so almost skeletal
Sam couldn’t help but sigh
It was Christmas Eve and despite the location – a forlorn
back alley – a string of lights (from somewhere) were
The red-green-gold shown against Licorice’s satin fur
Charmed the (already charmed) night
Charmed Sam the Box Man
“Well I’ll be damned!” he gulped
Then threw half the sandwich to the starving kitty
“Merry Christmas old beggar.” Sam smiled
Daddy, were you alive when Jesus was born?
No honey, he was born a long time ago, over 2000 years ago.
Where was he born Daddy?
In Bethlehem, a small town in the desert in a manger,
Whats a manger Daddy?
It's a place where they kept animals to feed them.
You see when Jesus was born the Inn was full, so
they had to get Mary to a warm place to give birth to Jesus.
that was the only place they could go.
Daddy who is Jesus' Daddy?
God is his Father honey?
But who is Joseph?
The Chosen Father, who God chose to raise him, Mary's Husband
I don't understand Daddy!
God wanted a son, he could not have a son without Mary and Joseph's
help. God asked them both if they would help him, without even thinking
they said yes. God gave to them a great gift, God gave them Jesus.
At that moment God gave us all a great gift, He gave us the Son of Man.
The Son of Man Daddy?
Yes honey, you see God is not Man, not one you can touch, Jesus
was, he healed people who were sick, He showed people how to love God
and how God loves them. There is one more important thing
I want to tell you honey.
What's that Daddy? Jesus did a coupla more things I think are
important, there are many of course but two I like.
Go on Daddy!
Jesus taught us how to love without conditions, like the way I love you
and you love me and your Mom and Brother. But how to love everybody
like that. The most important thing is, is that he died because we humans
broke God's laws, which means we sinned. He died so God would
Wow Jesus really did love us didn't he Daddy...?
Yes he did baby, and the really good thing is he still does and always will.
Come on it's time for bed!
Not until I say my prayers Daddy!
How bout we Pray together tonight?
I'd like that Daddy!
So would I baby, so would I .
Jump up on my back and I'll give you piggy back ride!
I love you Daddy!
I love you too baby, I love you too.........
My Christmas wish is you all have Conversations like this with your
kids. Trust me they bring tears of joy!
May God Bless you all this Christmas Season as he has Blessed me.
From Mary, Josh, Shay and myself MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR
What is that
in our western sky
some kind of star
coming near by
it's radiance seems
as bright as the sun
but bowing to the night
it's beauty for reason
so compelling that
star in the sky
it's dazzling light
amazes my eye's
that star without words
beacons me to follow
my soul being bared
for something sacred and hollowed
Yes that is the star
our ancestors spoke of
i can see it with my eye's
that star is filled with love
quick quick hurry let's go
follow that star
where ever it goes
or weather far
no matter what
follow that star
for it was told
by ancient and old
that star would bring
our God and King
can't you see
this wonderful thing
Gods birth on earth
is where this star beams
there in the distance
gathered are the shepards
the lowly lowly shepards
soon to be joined by kings
"all men of the earth"
the angels did sing
to such a lowly place
this star did us bring
to a child born
in the company cattle
but worshiped by kings
accompanied by the light
of that stars wonderful beam
a lowly lowly place
for the birth of the King of Kings
the place long for told
as the birth place of the King
we were humbled
by the mystery of this birth
this is the way
God would visit earth
with lowly shepards
under a bright bright star
humbled to be like us
to be near not far
We were poor, but my brother and I didn’t know it.
Before Christmas my dad would take us to find just the right scraggly
fir tree..a wonderful afternoon tramping around in the woods.
Old and worn decorations..we were delighted to open the crate
and unpack them; it was like seeing old and beloved friends again.
The red velvet car was my favorite.. his a bedraggled Santa sled.
We always had a present or two..but the most exciting gifts were
in our stockings. The stockings were my dad’s work socks..washed
and pressed for the occasion. They hung with pride, beautiful to us.
One year I got a fishing pole in my stocking. It was stuck through
a hole in the heel. I thought that Santa was the cleverest
of men. Imagine..using that hole to my advantage!
My dad’s boss would give us the same thing year after year.
A crate of oranges, something we never had at any other time.
I can still see the juice on my hands as we devoured that special gift.
I wouldn’t trade those Christmas memories. The greatest gift was feeling
warm, and safe…and loved.
It wasn't long after Christmas
The one where the fates had granted me my fondest wish
A shiny, red, Schwinn bicycle..... a basket in the front, and a bell to ring
On that cold January night, the sky was stained by the color of trepidation
I remember my young mother leaving her warm bed at three in the morning
rousing us all with calm haste
Deep red reflections seeped through the mud-splashed window screens
as she shooed us downstairs, down the raw-grained stairs,
not tying her robe, pushing from behind with her two hands
out onto the back porch, into the frost of the wee, early light
We stood and watched the fire from a safe distance,
as it consumed our garage.
From the frame of the doorway, and the top step's narrow slat
she enveloped me in her folds of chenille to keep me from shivering.
The cool of her hand on my shoulders,
watching my dad in his attempt with a hose
warning him to keep safe,
while sounds of sirens wailed in the distance
When I looked up into her face, with anxious eyes
I remember her soft, reassuring voice
"Don't worry, we will make sure you get another one, just like it"
Then, I remember looking down, at her bare feet
turning blue in the cold
11/25/13 For Nette's Contest: "Brief, Unforgettable Moment"
A little girl lost her home this year, for her, Christmas wouldn't be there.
Her family was angry from all the troubles, they simply couldn't repair.
Don’t bother us about presents her parents said, they were depressed by their fate.
With bitterness they said, you’d be lucky to have dinner tonight, or even a plate.
Life was harsh, nowhere to go, anger and fear had put their souls, in a terrible place.
The little girl had found no hope or joy, lurking near their old car, of late.
The car was their home, gas money was scarce, and with few places they could park.
Yes, their troubles had slowly extinguished, that precious hopeful spark.
Without that spark, they’d never find their way, from this terrible place of cold and dark.
And life’s darkness grew deeper nightly, as hope vanished under a reality so stark.
Even the very fiber of her family, seemed to be shattering slowly, slowly, apart.
The child felt alone here in this dark car, as sadness tried to engulf her little girls heart.
The future seemed filled with hopelessness, as shame and dread, were leaving their mark.
Embarrassment to be seen and turned away, made it hard for them to reach out, to restart.
But life goes on, and we can’t fear to rebuild, or the future will be hard to impart.
The girl suddenly declared there’s more to life, and she wouldn't let it conquer her heart.
She decided triumphs will come, and all will get better, if she held to that hopeful spark.
Seeing the desolation and anger here, she couldn't stay around, she had to get away…
So she climbed out of the car, and she walked into town, not so very far to stray.
She went and looked at the store windows, where Christmas was being displayed.
The music and people filled her heart, lifting her spirits, deep inside, that day.
She noticed a store, way down at the end of the row, on the next block, where it lay.
No one was there, it seemed lonely, and the darkness was again, spreading it’s decay.
She ran there in time to see an old man closing up, with sadness on his face betrayed.
What use were his goods, if no one would shop, or come down along his way?
The super store down the block, was daily making him lose more and more in the fray.
He could no longer afford to hire people, and the season had very little time, to stay.
As they talked the girl saw that she couldn't let the darkness take another, so she prayed.
Then she told the old man, if he’d open the shop, she’d bring customers down his way.
She added, she’d find reasonable workers, if her family could live upstairs, she portrayed.
First bring the customers, he said, and the rest will be yours little friend, he conveyed.
She had him put his best toys, as a contest prize, and to add lots of lights on the display.
He set a contest, “Winners-the best collectors for families in need” on Christmas Eve.
He put out a bright contest sign, but still nobody came to his end of the block, to survey.
So she had him call the Salvation Army, for a kettle, Bell ringer, and Carolers, who came
Lickety split, their way.
Then she had him call a dear old friend, and farmer, to bring a tractor full of bails of hay.
Another volunteered his horse and sleigh, both, to see the city lights thru New Years Day.
This was a great idea, since the older drivers, could use the help, for their bills to pay.
The girl ran all over spreading the excitement, and to come see the prizes, his way.
The families suddenly started heading toward his door, and to those wondrous rides.
At that moment her parents came, and she explained what her hope, had improvised.
Her father talked a contractor into building a disabled family a home, to help advertise.
He could get a tax break; come to this store for supplies, and hire unemployed workers, he devised, so wise.
In the end, each night grew brighter, because of a girls hope, and heart-warming delight.
And the old man began smiling for the first time, in a long, long, time, starting that night.
All was saved, a home was found, and another built, as a sad little girl taught grownups to smile along the way…
You might say, A Spark of Hope lit a candle, then a raging fire, which was burning bright by Christmas day.
The moral to my story is:
Never give up on Hope; it’s your best friend, as life brings its troubles your way…
Know that with time, a good heart, good will, and friendly ways…
You can find God’s gifts again, if you don’t let the dark take you away…
I was sitting in the crowded train station with time to waste, waiting on the train to take me home on Christmas Eve. A very pretty, young lady, carrying a full backpack headed for one of the only open seats across the aisle from me next to a rather dirty and disheveled older man.
As she removed her backpack to sit down he glared up at her; she smiled a beautiful bright smile and said to him, “Merry Christmas”.
“I don’t celebrate Christmas”, he barked up at her.
“Yeah? Well, that doesn’t mean you can’t be happy on the day that I celebrate Christmas. And I hope the day is merry for you as well.”
“What is there to be merry about”, he moaned, “A bunch of hypocritical religious zealots pretending to be nice to one another while the world goes to hell in a hand basket.”
“Well, at least for that one day, most of us believe the hypocrisy, and even for just a few hours, we practice the morals that our religion tries to instill in us. At least on that one day, for us religious zealots, there is a glimmer of hope that we can save the world from going to hell and, I, for one, believe that is reason to be merry.”
“Terrific! And, what does that get me,” he whimpered.
“Well, what you get is this one time of year, when a twenty-two year old college girl is not afraid to sit next to you; smile at you; and, wish you a Merry Christmas. And, if you just say, ‘Thank you’ and ‘Merry Christmas’ back to her, she just may give you the biggest and best kiss you have ever experienced.”
She stood back up and started to put her backpack back on as he simply stared up at her. Once she was situated and ready to move on towards her train, she stopped; smiled at him again; and, said, “Merry Christmas.”
It seems I was not the only stranger that was witnessing this exchange. All of those around me were perched on the edge of their seats waiting to see what might happen. The old man cracked a little smile. A glimmer came to his eyes, and he said, “Thank you. And, Merry Christmas to you, too.”
The girl leaned down and planted a kiss right on his lips for what seemed like ten minutes. Smiles lit up the faces of all the men, women and children watching this take place. When the girl finally pulled back, the old man was frozen in place with a big ole smile on his face. She adjusted her backpack and started heading towards the tracks. All the men she passed on her way who witnessed this exchange anxiously yelled, “Merry Christmas” as she passed, hoping for a kiss as well.
I looked back at the old man who was still in a dream. Suddenly he caught me looking at him and barked, “What are you staring at?”
I just shook my head back and forth and said, “Merry Christmas”.
“Yeah! Well Merry Christmas to you, too” he shouted.