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
  494 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

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