Thursday, December 31, 2015

Year in Review

“God hates me.” I said half-heartedly.
            My wife shook her head with a look of disproval on her face. She then made a contradictory comment I didn’t hear because I knew as soon as I said it, the disproval from her would be overwhelming. Basically, I retreated into the dark recesses of my mind, a scary place for anyone, and I began to review how wonderful 2015 had been for me.
            After what seemed like endless hours, which was more likely twenty minutes, I came up with bupkis.
            Sure, I had my highs throughout the course of the year, moments of sheer delight and joy, time spent in fond recollection of my past and I even got to visit some loved ones halfway across the continent. Yet through all these past 365 days there has been looming doom, destruction, worry and pain. Those brief moments where I was able to forget the impending cloud of American disillusionment have truly been fleeting.
            This year started off with a plate full of crap and it seems to be ending with an even larger plate of crap. No matter how hard I try to get rid of it, it never seems to leave. Only grow, like some sort of self-replicating cancerous tumor that holds my life in its disease ridden palm. I’m not happy about this.
            I’ve tried to count my blessings so to speak. I’ve tried to meditate and look at the brighter side of life. I’ve tried to have a more cheerful disposition. Yet through it all, inside me, deep in the bowls of my mind, I know. I know what is waiting. I know that no matter what I do, how hard I try and what I sacrifice, I will never outrun the desolation and pain that is about to befall me and my family.
            I know, I know, I sound more ominous and over-dramatic than I should. But, that is how I feel.
            I’m not going to air my dirty laundry here. This is not the venue for it. Besides, the people who need to know about the craptastic year I’ve had, know. They are the people I lean on. The people I’ve come to depend on. Well, that is not necessarily true. There are still two people I need to talk to. Two people I’ve been putting off talking to. Why? Because this shit is painful to talk about. Also, no one wants to listen to some asshat who is on the edge of just letting everything in his life go to shit and walk away. Walk away to something different, something simpler, and something with less distractions and responsibilities. However; I know that this sort of action is not a proper response to life’s issues. You can’t escape your past, you live in the present and you hope for a better future. No, walking away is not a real option. But it is a nice fantasy.
            Fantasy is a real nice place to be. You can be who you want, be with whom you want, work when you want, pay bills and not worry about overdraft fees, not hear about third hand rumors about you, not be betrayed by new friends, not hear shitty news from doctors and not have people you care about die.
            Nope, in fantasy-land, it’s all sunshine, roses, prime rib lunches and lobster dinners with all the people you care about and need in your life. It is filled with endless conversations, great cigars, amazing books and the most amazing music you could want. In fantasy-land, you can sit down with Carl Sagan and Thomas Jefferson over breakfast. Ride horses with John Wayne and motorcycles with Dennis Hopper. In fantasy-land there is no disease, no rot, no ruin, no lies and no betrayal. In fantasy-land the weather is always 78 degrees and it only rains while you sleep.
            Yeah, I don’t live in fantasy-land. I live in reality. A reality that seems hell-bent on breaking my body. Not my will, for you see, reality knows it can never do that. I’ve proved it four times over. (This is a reference to the four times I’ve almost died.) Reality lost. Reality knows I have a deep and almost unbreakable will when it comes to survival and moving forward. However; reality knows that even I have my limitations.
            Limitations which will force me to do everything I can to complete a task or promise I set out to do. I don’t give up easily. I never have. If you don’t believe me, send me a message, I’ll give you names of people I’ve fought and never gave up even when I was truly beaten and bloody and the only way I stopped was when I was rendered unconscious.
            Wow, I just read the last 800 words I wrote, it’s pretty depressing. Sorry about that. Guess I needed to vent a bit. Like you need to every now and then. So, in order to remedy this, let me try and list some things that offered me some joy in my life this past year.
            I got to witness my daughter act on stage and it was truly amazing. I laughed, I cried and I was extremely proud of her. She has, for the past sixteen years, been a high point in my life. She never seems to not bring me some sort of happiness and accomplishment.
            Seeing my mother and spending three uninterrupted days with her. Being able to reconnect with her and even introduce her to some great friends of mine was an epic event in my life I hope to never forget. We got to break bread, go on long car rides, visit relatives and even bond over the most insignificant events. Hell, she even understood my sarcasm and vitriol when it unknowingly reared its head. I wish for more days with her. Although, I don’t see how that can happen.
            Spending time with good friends and new friends at a convention in Williamsburg. Being around people who enjoy horror books and movies, all the while never taking it too seriously is truly an honor to experience. I thank you all for being there and taking your time to hang out with me.
            Doing my second official public reading of a story I wrote with a legend of the horror writing community. Craig Spector. That was surreal at best. Truly an amazing night and I hope to be able to do it again. With Craig or some other great writers. Just thinking about that night gives me goose bumps.
            Watching my wife go through the learning of her new job, Spreading her wings, expanding her horizons and struggling through all the bullshit she has to go through just to survive. I can’t say I would hold up as good as she would given her physical limitations. However; she seems to be dealing with it better than I would. Hell, I’d probably have just checked out. Nah, I don’t think that is in my nature. My will wouldn’t let me.
            Talking with my friends. I’m referring to you guys. My constant readers. Trust me, this helps and I do look at my stats in how many view I get. I don’t do it all the time. I check a couple times a month just to see if I’m reaching anyone and whether or not I should continue posting my mind droppings. You guys do help me. Just knowing you’re out there, taking your time, reading what I have to say, means the world to me.
            Lastly, and this goes back a few paragraphs, speaking with two special friends I have. They help me understand my life, understand where I am, who I am and what I need to do. Yes, I know we need to get together soon. I’m not ready yet. I wish I were. I wish for a lot of things. Yet wishes are like yesterdays breathe, they are gone in the ether of life as soon as you wish them.
            Okay, so in conclusion, 2015 has sucked more than most years. I can’t say 2016 will be any better but I hope it will be. I have hope, not a lot but some. That is one thing 2015 has not taken from me. Hope. I have just a smidge left.
            So c’mon 2016, make 2015 your bitch and help a brother out.
            Have a great week and I hope your year was a thousand times better than mine.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Ten Again

On Christmas Day, 2015 I turned ten years old again.
            Now for those of you who know me are shaking your head and saying “But Skip, I know you are forty-eight. Which is true, however; as one of my gifts I was taken to see Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens. You should know before you read this that if you haven’t seen the film, don’t worry. I’ll try not to spoil it for you.
            To be truthful, I was excited to see this new episode, even though I already knew the story and what was going to happen. But, I wasn’t so excited that I needed to see the film on opening night like most of the general public, nor was I so excited that I had planned on going to this film on this day. Quite contrary, I knew I was going to see it, but I knew I’d see it when I had the time to go and enjoy it. In other words, seeing the film was inevitable for me but not necessary for me to make time in my schedule to go sit in a darkened theater for over two hours when I knew I had other things to do.
            The movie theater we went to was not even a quarter full when we arrived almost thirty minutes early. Soon though, the place was packed and there were maybe a dozen empty seats by the time the trailers started. I spent most of this time eating popcorn and trying not to be irritated by the man who sat down in the empty seat next to me. He kept shifting from his left to his right. Bumping into my elbow and trying to gain a superior position on the armrest where my right arm was sitting. The force was not strong with him.
            To my left, my daughter was sitting, holding the popcorn bucket and leaning against my arm. You see, she has seen the movie. Hell, she works at a movie theater that is showing the film and I’m sure she’s seen it more than I ever will. Perks of working at a movie theater I suppose. I should also say, that in my household of three, I was the only one who had not seen this film and I’m a bigger Star Wars fan than the other two inhabitants put together.
            Once the opening of the film started… and we know how every episode starts…
“A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…”
            It was a long walk from my house on Memory Avenue in Green Bay, Wisconsin to the movie theater in De Pere, Wisconsin. It was summer time, it was hot and my mom had left me five dollars to go see Star Wars. I don’t think she had much of a choice. I’d been pestering her for weeks to let me go see it. The movie was a matinee and at a theater I’d never been to but I knew where it was.
            I left early, more than two hours early just so I’d have time to get there. When I arrived, there was a line of parents and children. I felt a bit out of place, being the one of a handful of kids there without any supervision. The line moved quickly, I got my ticket, got some popcorn and a soda and found a seat in a very full theater. It was an old theater, with three sections, right, middle and left. I found a seat in the middle section near the right aisle. I can’t say I remember who was sitting next to me, but I do know who was sitting in front of me. A girl named Karen. I knew her from school. She was with her parents and she was also the first girl I ever kissed. Okay, I didn’t really kiss her as much as I was tackled by her on the playground and she kissed me. But that is another story for another time.
            I remember her and I talking animatedly about how excited we were to see this movie and what all of our friends had told us about the movie. When the lights finally darkened and the opening sequence started; I was enthralled.
            The music was intense, it’s opening chords sending chills down my spine and causing goose bumps all over my arms and neck; the blockade ship being chased by the star destroyer was something I’d never even thought of in my wildest imagination; the first appearance of Lord Vader frightened me to my core; the droids made me smile with their lack of emotional understanding; the lightsaber’s tickled my imagination in their physics; the Millennium Falcon piloted by Han and Chewie, two smugglers with hearts of gold reminded me of old pirate films; and oh so much more. I never wanted the movie to end. But like with all good things, it had to end. I stayed and watched the credits. It was the first time I’d ever done this.
            I was the last person to leave the theater. I was confused, happy, sad, amazed and I told myself I’d see the film again as soon as humanly possible.
            I was so deep in thought about this movie and all its implications that I didn’t even notice when my Mom pulled over to the side of the road to pick me up a mile or so from the theater.
            She asked me what I thought about the movie, all I could do was grin and say “I have to see it again.”
            She rolled her eyes and drove us home.
            The next day, while hanging out with my friends, all we could do was talk about the movie. We were obsessed. We all hopped more films would be made, at the time, we’d never heard of a sequel. Almost all of us agreed on one thing, we wanted to be Han Solo. Only one of my friends wanted to be Luke Skywalker. Which is cool, I suppose.
            You see, we thought Luke was kind of whiny, kind of wimp, a sort of self-entitled kid who couldn’t see what a great gift he had. To us, he was the kind of guy we’d hang out with but never become friends with. While Han, well, what can I say about his character. He was, is and will always be the guy that made the Kessel run in 12 parsecs. He saved Chewie, He is the reluctant hero. He is the guy you know you want on your side when everything is going wrong. The guy who will eventually do the right thing, but only if you let him make the decision and not try and force it on him.
            Yeah, we all wanted to pilot the Falcon and smuggle goods from one planet to another.
            I saw that film three more times that summer. Not an epic number. Four times. I knew other guys who’d claimed they saw it a dozen times. They could have just been trying to one-up me and impress anyone in ear shot but I didn’t care. I had seen it, enjoyed it and was from the first symphonic tones of the opening sequence, completely and utterly in love.
            The movie inspired me to learn, coaxed me to tinker with things that were broken and fix them and it also taught me how to think for myself, listen to my heart and never give up. Especially when I believed I was right and others said I was wrong. It taught me to overcome limitations I put on myself and others put upon me. It also made me dream.
            Dreams of fantastic battles, epic technology, unbelievable journeys and amazing planets to explore.
            So as I sat in a darkened theater almost thirty-six years later hoping to catch a glimpse of the characters that inspired my youth, I was not disappointed. No, I was transported back to the young, ten year old Skip with second hand jeans, dirty t-shirts and worn out shoes who sat in a movie theater he’d walked to just so he could see what all the fuss was about. Only to walk out amazed and curious about life and what life will hold for him.
            I applaud J.J. Abrams and Disney as well as George Lucas for creating this wonderful, violent, love filled universe that tugs at my heart strings every time I think about it. (Except for Episodes I, II, and III. I didn’t like those very much.)
            This one film was like a reunion of sorts. Meeting new people you don’t know but connect with and catching up on your old pals who helped mold your life and who have also missed you as much as you missed them. It was amazing.
            I’m not going to tell you to go see this movie, because you most likely already have. I do know however, I will be going to see it again. I have to. I need to. Also, I need to watch episodes IV, V, and VI again.

            So, from ten year old Skip… May the force be with you.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Innocence Found

This week, well, one day this week that is, my offspring needed to miss a morning of school for a very important appointment. An appointment I am not at liberty to discuss but one that I am both proud and envious of at the same time. Also, I’m not at liberty to discuss here on an open forum. Regardless, I saw no fault or issue with her reason to miss half a day of high school.
            She knew that when she made this appointment that she would have to come to work with me and I leave for work around six in the morning. Which means she would have to get up by 5:30. A time most sixteen year olds have no idea or concept of. However; my child is a bit different, she has no problem getting up before the sun and getting ready to face the day. That is, as long as it is a weekday and not in the summer time.
            By 6:15 we had arrived at my work and she readily agreed to follow me and help out with the set up and checking of each and every exhibit in the museum. The first stop, well, my first stop, is always the bubble room. Simply because it requires no electricity and I don’t have to turn everything on to get this room prepared for a day of small children and their escorts.
            As I went about the set-up of the room, filling the bubble tables, the step-in a bubbles and the stretch a bubble table, she took all the bubble wands and tubes and placed them in their respective places. I began to make bubble solution, a task that is done at least once a day. We even have a special closet in which to perform this task.
            As the water filled the bucket in which we make the bubble solution the sound from the bubble room was drowned out by the sound of the water. So I turned and poked my head out the door to check on my daughter. She was standing by the bubble table, in one hand a bubble tube and she was blowing through it. A large bubble appeared at the end of the tube and she pulled it away from her face. She held it out in front of her at arm’s length and a large, innocent and joyful smile filled her face and eyes. She set the tube down and picked up a wand and began to wave it in the air, soon the air around her head and body were surrounded by floating, viscous orbs and the stark, florescent lights from above cast beams in the air around her. Her impossible smile grew even larger and she began to twirl inside the safety of the fragile, floating orbs. She was completely oblivious to my actions of watching her and the joy she was bringing me.
            That moment sent my mind spinning back in time. To a time almost ten years ago, a time when the museum was kicking off its Capital Campaign for fund raising to upgrade the museum and its exhibits.
            Part of the Capital Campaign was to film a video of children enjoying the museum and its exhibits. The initial video ran ten minutes and parts of it was used to build a thirty second commercial. I was asked if my daughter would be interested in being one of the children. I knew she wouldn’t mind and I quickly accepted the offer on her behalf. When I got home that night, I asked her and she did not disappoint me.
            When the day of filming came, she was eager, excited and ready to do whatever was asked. The crew doing the filming even made sure there were plenty of snacks for the kids to enjoy during their down time between takes. I was working that day and my daughter had been a staple in the museum for so long that she was perfectly comfortable to not have my full attention or the attention of other people as she went about her day of play and filming.
            Weeks, maybe months later, when the final cut had been fully edited and approved, I was handed a dvd with the full ten minute fund raising video as well as the thirty second clip for television. I quickly took the disc to my office, plugged it into the machine and sat down to watch it and take joy in the fact that my child was on the television.
            I sat in my chair, on the edge of my chair, my elbows on my knees and my eyes glued to the monitor so I wouldn’t miss a millisecond of my lovely kid on full digital, high quality film. I was disappointed. After nine minutes and thirty seconds I had seen every other kid who had been signed up to be in the video and not even a fraction of a second of air time for my child. I was getting ready to just eject the dvd and toss it in the trashcan when the bubble room footage appeared on screen.
            I saw several children from the video front and center on the screen, yet in the background, I saw a small, almost frail looking blonde headed girl with a short page-boy haircut. My daughter. Finally! She was standing at one of the old bubble tables playing with a bubble wand. A large smile adorned her cherubic face. I felt pride swell in me. I didn’t care she wasn’t front and center, I didn’t care she hadn’t been in the rest of the film, I was just happy to see her in the background. Then the scene cut sharply and my daughters face filled the screen. In her hand, a bubble tube and she was blowing gently into it. A large bubble grew at the end of the tube and finally released itself into the air in front of her face. Her eyes grew wide and gently she reached out with her hand, closed all of her fingers except her pointer finger and she touched the bubble. It immediately popped and her smile was replaced with a look of pure, unadulterated joy and fascination. The video froze and did a slow fade out on my daughters face.
            I was elated and exhausted. I slumped back in my chair and felt nothing but pride for my progeny.
            Then the thirty second tv spot started. No surprise, my daughter was not featured in almost any of the film. Except at the end. Where she pops the bubble. The commercial closed on her just as it had in the ten minute spot. I couldn’t have been happier.
            I must have watched the video a dozen times that day. Each time it ended, I felt the swelling of pride and joy.
            So, ten years later, after so many heartbreaks, disappointments and growing pains in her life, to be given a chance to observe the untainted, unabashed and sheer joy of childhood fill her again and see the wonderment and amazement that water and soap concentrate can still bring into her life makes me feel like I may have done something right in my life. As if all the hard work, the missed performances, the endless aches and pains I put myself through in order for her to have a better and more secure life has been worth all those regrettable moments of failure I feel almost every day.
            Yes, she has kept a sense of wonderment, yes, she still finds happiness in the little things in life, yes, she still dances and twirls when she thinks no one is watching, and most importantly, yes, she is still the greatest source of joy in my life and everything I have to suffer and endure has been worth it.
            As an epilogue, I was busted. She saw me at the end of one of her twirls. She stopped and looked me right in the eyes, he smile never faded as she waved at me from behind the floating bubbles that seemed to be orbiting the being that has been the center of my life for sixteen years.

            Have a great week. And if you have kids, go give them a great big hug.

Friday, December 11, 2015

____ward Bound

The sun was setting in the west and our planet was tilted on its axis in a manner so that the hemisphere I live in was farther away from the sun as I drove my car to pick my daughter up. The air was cool but not chilly so I had the windows down and the autumn scents filled my nostrils with the earthy sweet smell of decay and overrode the scent of exhaust from the vehicles I was sharing the road with.
            The sun was low on the horizon and the sky was remarkably crisp in its clearness. A few cirrus clouds dotted the rich blue hue of our atmosphere and I smiled. The clearness reminded me of my days in the Navy when my ship was at sea, all our work was finished for the day and I’d find a quite place to sit outside with a book and a cigarette and relax in the glory of just being.
            As I scanned the sky I was surprised to see the air filled with vapor trails. More than a dozen filled my view as I counted, even more appeared. Jets filled with people traveling from point a to point b across our country. Across our globe.
            Where were they going?
            Who were they?
            Why are they traveling?
            Which is when I remembered that the holiday season is upon us and many of those travelers were heading home to see loved ones and not so loved ones and enjoy or at least try to enjoy, the place that helped make them who and what they are.
            What is home? Where is home? Who helps create our home?
            It seems, to me that is, the mythical place known as home, is an ever changing place. As well, it is a place that seems to move from one geographical location to another, almost random geographical place.
            Home is a place, as a child, we rush to get to when we’ve had a good day at school to show of our grades. It is a place to run to when we’ve had a bad day outside and are in pain. A place where we receive praise and comfort, a place where we can hide from the boogey man and a place where our imaginations are born out of fear, disappointment, success and love.
            Home is a place, as a teenager, where we try to run away from because of shame or embarrassment. A place where we only feel safe in one, lonely room where the curtains are always drawn and the window will never open. It is a place where we learn how to speak out against what we feel is wrong. A place where what we believe is true, is never really true. A place where we learn that sometimes, what we dream will never come true. It is also the place where we learn to hone and shape our dreams into what we one day hope will come true.
            Home is a place where as an adult, we leave behind. We venture forth into the world in an attempt to make our own home. Be that home a shitty, one bedroom apartment on the seedy side of town as you work an even shittier, menial job, or a dorm room in college where you spend endless frustrating hours trying to cram as much knowledge into your booze soaked and sleep denied brain as possible or even on a large, gray Naval vessel with one thousand other men who are on a mission of peace by force under a renegade president.
            Yes, homes change for various reasons. They are like the ether that way. Always shifting, always moving, always fluid, always just out of your true physical reach and yet, always within you. In a place you can never quite understand and never quite tangibly grasp with your hands.
            Home is a place you think you are leaving when you walk out of one parent’s house, get in the car of another parent and take the almost eternal drive to their new home. A building that is as alien to you as the earth beneath your feet is foreign to a fish in the ocean. Yet, slowly and eventually, that new place soon becomes a second home to your young mind. A home that can chase away the bitter tears of loneliness and confusion at the actions of adults as the car ride becomes shorter and shorter with each commute.
            Home becomes a place you make yourself. A place where you are comfortable in your own skin and with your own random thoughts that you believe prove you are as crazy as everyone says you are. It is a place where you place your memories, a place where you build new memories and it is a place that transcends the chasm between the physical world and the unseen, earth real world of intangibility.
            Home can be a place of great stress and great comfort at the same time. It is a place of constant growth, in both birth and death. Home is a place of contradictions, illogical thinking and behavior and a place where we know we will eventually be accepted and loved. A place where the stress put up on us in our lives away from home can be miniscule when compared to the stress we put upon each other when we are home. Yet, we wouldn’t give our home up for anything or anyone.
            Home, it is where you are and where you are going as well as the place you just left. We all can be home wherever we are if we just take a few moments, calm and stead ourselves by changing our thinking and realize, we all are trying to get to the same place even if that place is not in the same location. We share that with our fellow travelers.
            I can only hope, that all those people who are traveling realize this and maybe, while stuck on a tarmac somewhere or at a stoplight or even in a traffic jam, that they are truly not alone. Everyone wants to be with their own loved ones in their own home.

            Have a great week.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Bing, Gayla and the Goose

In 1945 Bing Crosby released a Christmas album comprised of ten songs. After a few years, and advancements in technology, the album was re-released. However, this time, there were only eight songs on the album. This album’s release coincided with Bing’s hit holiday film “White Christmas” The album has become a huge success over the decades and I can honestly say that the songs have become a part of the American psyche for the holidays ever since.
            Yet two of the songs from the first album seemed to have fallen through the cracks of time. One of them being quite interesting and unique even though it was an old standard, the song is “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”.
            You see, Bing changed some of the lyrics. Modernized it a bit, jazzed it up so to speak. Especially the ending, which, I’ve overheard some say it was not just a bad version of the song, but he had no right to do what he did.
            When I first heard it, I loved it. Of course, I have an odd view on some standards, not just in music, but in general. Now, I can’t really remember the first time I heard Bing’s version of the song, but I always remember the ending. “The big fat man in the long white beard is coming to town.” Said with almost no consideration of the songwriters or even the sentiment of the season. It was as if Bing is saying “Don’t worry, even if you’re bad, things will work out.”
            Another song I can’t remember my first hearing of but always loved was “I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” recorded in 1953 by a young lady named Gayla Peevey. I do remember, however, waiting every year at Christmas time to hear her sing that song on the radio. I knew it wasn’t Christmas until my ears were assaulted with her almost nasally and raspy voice belting out how she wanted to creep down the stairs and see a giant hippo standing there.
            To this day, in my middle age, both songs still fill me with child-like joy and wonderment.
            So, when sixteen years ago my daughter was born, I did my best to introduce some of my favorite music to her while she was completely unable to understand what was going on in her life. Yeah, infants just don’t understand music, time, life and how sights, sounds and smells can bring happiness. Nope, they just live in the moment and enjoy everything.
            It wasn’t until years later, when she was four, that she finally caught on to the impact of music. You see, we, my wife, myself and our daughter who was strapped in to her car seat in the back of our mini-van, were driving somewhere, and the Hippo song came on the radio. My bride and I quickly started singing along with the radio. When the song was over a small but clear voice from behind us vehemently answered our lyrics with “I don’t want a hippopotamus for Christmas!”
            I looked at my wife, she stared at me, our jaws both hanging agape and then, as if on cue, we both busted out laughing. So much so, we almost drove off the road.
            Not so many minutes later, Bing’s song about Santa comes on the radio. We sang along, even our small child piped in here and there. Yet, when the end of the song came, and Bing went into his non-standard ending my lovely, talented and amazing offspring yells “That’s not how it goes!” with great disappointment at what she had just heard. I laughed.
            Fast forward to today, my child is now a young lady, driving, writing, going to school, working, directing student films and listening to all sorts of modern music that sounds like a bag of cats fighting to me. Yet, she loves her music and it makes her happy so I’m happy.
            Which is funny, because now, her taste of music being that of a young lady in this country, she seeks out new music as well as finding old songs sung by new artists and I find myself shaking my head on what some of the young singers are doing to old standards. I guess I feel like she must have felt when she was four years old and was introduced to music that she thought was one way, but ended up another. A bit disappointed, a bit offended and as if the world had just played a cruel joke on me.
            Which is funny, when I think about it; you see, here I am, two years from half a century in age and my offspring, a full thirty-two years younger than me, has been able to strip away all my years of wisdom and maturity and made me feel like a four year old child. I feel like a child who is just discovering how the world can zig when you expect it to zag, which is an awesome feeling for someone who has become tainted by life when it comes to the wonder of this celebrated season.
            It is a good thing, in my opinion, learning from a younger generation. I’ve grown too comfortable in my likes and views of society and the world. . Like the student becoming the teacher. Her younger eyes, attitude and sense of wonderment have become her teaching tools that I seem to have lost over the years.
            So, here’s to her and the up and coming generation of thinkers, dreamers, inventors, musicians and writers she calls her friends. Keep shaking the tree of standards like so many before you. I will try to sit back quietly and understand and enjoy watching you make this world yours.
            Why? Because the big fat man in the long white beard is bringing me a hippopotamus for Christmas.

            Have a great week.