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

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