My Musings

This text is currently hidden by a css change. Alow's me to go directly to the category description because it is editable in the front end,

Ghosts of Christmas Past

When I was a kid, I felt ripped off at Christmastime because I didn't get to wake up on December 25th and tear open presents like all my Catholic school friends were doing. Instead, my family was on the road, spending the holiday in Quebec at my grandparents' house.

I loved my grandparents – they were enormously kind people – but limited space in our Country Squire station wagon and evil Canadian border guards who seemed ready to confiscate our belongings meant that only a few small gifts could be brought with us, to be opened by the relatives.

Bear with me, it gets worse.

While my friends had gone to bed early on Christmas Eve without a complaint, knowing that the sooner they fell asleep the sooner Christmas morning would arrive, my early bedtime had no such rainbow on the other side. Instead, I was cruelly roused out of my slumber at 11:30 and made to march with my sisters in the frigid cold to tiny St. Patrick's church, where I tried to stay awake for Father Boudreau's scintillating celebration of midnight mass.

The reward – an all-night "Reveillon" back at my grandparents – with ham sandwiches, sugar pie, and adults drinking and cackling until daylight while we kids played with the Victrola and watched TV – was no substitute for the excitement that my friends experienced of waking up to piles and piles of presents brought by Santa on a sleigh.

I received little sympathy for this unfathomable injustice: several times I was reminded that not only was I not denied gifts, but actually got to open them early, since we always departed for Canada a few days before Christmas and opened our gifts before we left home. Still, all the great stuff I had received – like the electric football table that vibrated to move the plastic statuettes of players across the field – was out of reach hundreds of miles away due to crazy rules that border guards apply to wreck Christmas for kids like I used to be.

My mom, a wise woman who realized the opportunities that these annual pilgrimages presented, soon implemented a new tradition: when it was time to leave for Canada and we were all piled into the car with no handheld devices to stare at – she would declare that she needed to pee, then disappeared for 10 minutes. This awfully long bio-break was simply a ruse to fill our stockings with gifts, such that when we returned from our grandparents' place, we'd discover that Santa hadn't forgotten us after all.

OK, so maybe my childhood wasn't quite so awful. As Christmas night 2022 turns into the day after Christmas, it occurs to me that what we had back then – grandma and grandpa, plenty of good food, and the part where they shake you awake on a cold night to attend a mass that I despised –was magical in its own special way. 

Continue reading
  390 Hits



J'Biden Era Haikuage


People's Arms. That's right!

200 million shots

In 100 days


We are good people

But we still have far to go

Repair. Restore. Heal.


There's nothing new here

The Affordable Care Act

We're restoring it 


America's Day

Democracy is fragile

The world is watching 


Strategy is based

On Science, not politics

Truth, not denial



Subscribe To The Blog

Produce This Audio Play!

Ever wanted to produce a radio play?  Think you have the mettle?  Read on!

Tag Cloud

Bands I've seen Bicycles Hache Verde Soccer Elvis Presley Bodysurfing weather Peacekeeping The Future The Past Big Shoes Marketing Gimmicks Butterfingers Stairs Chowder Vaughn Mass General Hospital midwinter vacations NFL Bikes afterlife Reveillon Rock Bands nukes the sea My Parents Food NPR punk music seasons Motorists Soviet Union vacation Mom and Dad People I know Things I've done Climate Change Imaginings Texting Cars Sugarbush Guns and Ammo Ukraine Skating Godfather Coyotes Bill Monroe Belgian Ales The Old Days Ticketmaster My Estate Christmas Allergies COVID Bands I haven't seen Hurricanes When I die Politics As Usual Car Dealerships Soup Canadiana Weather Halloween Ketchup Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Hawaii the future Mike Doughty Wind Red Sox Good Reads Existential Crisis coronavirus Higher Education Cats Stories I should write Martinis Boston BB King high winds Advertising Putin Beer Theater Liz Phair Knots Bunker Them Kids Brain Surgery gathering throngs Spice Girls My sisters Hot Air Balloon Syracuse Work Football Bob Dylan Quebect Pats Art My grandparents New England Grass Skiing Roommates I've Had Ice Dancing Earth War and Peace Head injuries Yeast Email Plastic Rabbit Hole 1980s Canada Drumming Communication Channels baseball Spoon the band Eclipse Scotch and Sirloin Dad advice Cornhole star Barber Shops Europe acerbic high school principal technology Zoom Hand Planes town square Biden Mustard Candy First World Problems Joan Jett Vaccines Folk Music Soul Coughing Religion Tom Waits Royal Stuff The future Accounting Skiing Music Audio Audubon Bar US Senate Sports tambourrine Me plan mid-winter vacations TV soapbox rantings Trump Bands I've Seen China cornhole Diseases Golf Eating and Drinking COVID-19 curling shoes Snow Guns Fiction