Saturday, December 26, 2015

It was the day after Christmas and everyone was...

Good Day World!

The lines started early today.

Hundreds of thousands of people trying to be patient while clutching gifts to be returned in stores across America.

If this has happened to you before, or on this Christmas, here's some tips for returning unwanted gifts.

About 8 percent of shoppers planned on hitting the stores the day after Christmas to return or exchange gifts they received from others, according to a survey by American Express.


The amount of returning "is going to escalate every year in direct proportion to the holiday shopping that's done online," said Candace Corlett, president of WSL Strategic Retail, a retail consulting firm.

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas to all!

Merry Christmas!

Thanks to all of my readers for stopping by so often this year.

I wish you the best of the season's greetings, and hope that you enjoy it with family and friends.

This is one day when everyone needs to set aside their differences, and to be loving to one another.

Life is too short for hatred. Don't let it into your lives. Instead, have compassion for others and smile at strangers!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

T'was the night before Christmas...and we were up putting together presents

Good Day World!

I'm turning the clock back to the Christmas of 1980 to share a story some parents can relate to:

T'was the night before Christmas and my wife and I were putting together presents. You know the kind I mean. They have murky instructions and are often missing key parts.

One example: we bought a toy box that had to be assembled. It came with a top, bottom, four sides, and numerous plastic bags with various nuts, bolts, and washers.

The instructions were in every language imaginable...except in English. The diagrams did not resemble the actual parts.

Pause for a moment. I am not mechanically minded. My wife, Shirley, is. We pretty much came to an agreement after this Christmas Eve she'd put the stuff together, and I would have to put my manly pride aside for the benefit of all!

Back to Christmas Eve of 1980...

For some reason nearly all the toys we got our three boys had to be assembled. It didn't take long before we started squabbling about interperating the instructions.

As the hours went by and most people slept, we toiled, and haggled, over the presents. Our tempers were frayed by the early morning hours when it became apparent we weren't going to get any sleep.

Looking back now I can admit that I was the problem that night. Shirley has told me since then, that she wondered why I didn't seem to "get things" that night.

At first light we finished and put a pot of coffee on and waited. It didn't take long. The two older boys came stumbling out with sleep still in their eyes (chubby little fists wiping it away) as they gasped.

The delight in their eyes. when they saw the presents under and around the tree, was worth our sleepless night! 

Shirley went and got our youngest (he was only six weeks old) and brought him out to watch the proceedings.

It was a Christmas to remember for a lot of reasons.

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Nine Famous Christmas Stories to Share With Children in Your Life

Good Day World!

Christmas is for kids.

I know many will not agree with me because the holiday is rooted in Christianity. That's okay.

When I say Christmas is for the kids, I'm speaking for parents everywhere.

There's nothing like watching those innocent little eyes light up as they gaze at presents under the tree, or listen to you telling them Christmas stories.

As a proud father of three sons I can testify to that. 

As the weeks leading up to Christmas went by, my wife and I always shared Christmas stories with our children. That tradition was carried over to our five grandchildren. 

If you are fortunant enough to have children in your life, here's a short collection of classic Christmas stories to share.

Open and print: 

1. The Little Matchgirl by Hans Christian Andersen

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

My Loneliest Christmas Was a Milestone in My Life

Good Day World!

I'm fortunate to have had only one really lonely Christmas in 65 years.

I went into the Army in 1969 and did my basic training at Ft. Ord, California.

(Ft. Leonardwood barracks circa 1969)

 For my advanced training (Combat Engineer) I was sent to Ft. Leonardwood, Mo., that October.

Snow everywhere in November. A first for me. For whatever reasons, the DI's made me Field First (acting E-6) for the cycle. I was sent to two weeks of Leadership School.

Leading the entire company meant I called the trainees to formations three times a day, and I led then marching daily, while barking out the cadences I'd learned.

I was expected to excel and set an example for the troops.

I had my own little room. It was located in a barracks that dated back to WWII. It was a long wooden 2-story building with one heating source - an old pot-bellied stove at one end of the room.

There was no heating in my little room. The price of leadership I supposed. In my spare time, I boxed against opponents from other companies. Those were wild booze-driven affairs that sometimes ended in mini-riots.

I didn't have any friends. I couldn't afford to show favoritism and the DI's weren't interested in making friends. Most of them had been to the Nam, and knew that was were I was going.

I didn't have enough money to go home for the holidays that Christmas. I waited too long to ask for financial help from my family to fly back to California. 

I had just turned 19-years in November. I'd never been away from home during the holidays before. The Christmas cards and packages that I got only made me long to be home even more.

It was time for me to become a man. A milestone in my young life. It was like putting toys from my youth away, and stepping into another world of adults.

As I sat alone in my cold little room on Christmas Eve, I fought back tears. I wondered if I was going to die in Vietnam and desperately missed my family.

But...on Christmas morning I woke up smiling.

It was like a miracle. Maybe my dreams were so good they carried over. Whatever the reason, the sadness had slipped away like a thief in the night.

I made a few reverse-charged phone calls to family members, and that perked me up. They were all so supportive. The durability and adaptability of youth stood me in good stead that day.

Time for me to walk on down the road...


Monday, December 21, 2015

A Letter From a 65-Year Old Man to Santa Claus

Dear Santa,

How's it going?

I know it's been a long time since the last time you answered my letter (1955), but you're really on my mind this season.

For starters, I never got to apologize for planning to mug you that Christmas Eve. I was only five, and my brother was only three, but for some reason we thought it would be a good idea to mug you and get more presents.

As you know, we both fell asleep, a baseball bat cradled in my arms and my brother clutching his blankie beneath the Christmas tree that night .

I can imagine your shock at the scene we presented when you came to deliver our toys. You still left us toys, but that was no longer answered my letters.

I've tried to make up for that faux pa by telling our three sons what a great guy you are. It must have worked because none of them attempted to mug you!

Then the grandchildren came, five in all, and I dusted off all my old Santa lore to entertain a new generation and make them Santa believers. Again, it must have worked because they really did believe in you for years.

I guess I just wanted to say that I still believe in the spirit of Christmas - which includes you - and that same little mixed-up kid that waited up for you with a baseball bat has turned out to be one of your greatest supporters.

Thanks for taking the time out to read my letter during this busy time of the year for you.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Santa Hacks and Facts for Inquiring Minds

Good Day World!

Here's some Santa Hacks and Facts:

That's it. 
You're tired of sneaking around the house to hide the presents, telling your child that No, those aren't squirrels in the attic, it's Santa on the roof!, eating the carrots left out for Rudolph (okay, so maybe you still enjoy those cookies for Santa..) and holding your breath every time your kid uses the internet. 
It's time to let them know the truth. That Santa is fake. A myth. A story. A fraud. Nothing special. Here's how.

* Santa ClausSaint NicholasSaint NickFather ChristmasKris KringleSanty, or simply Santa is a figure with legendary, historical and folkloric origins who, in many Western cultures, is said to bring gifts to the homes of good children on 24 December, the night before Christmas Day

* Here's what Santa looks like according to this 1823 poem "A Visit From St. Nicholas" by caricaturist and political cartoonist Thomas Nast.

* Here's Santa's Phone Number…Grab your family and give him a call at 951-262-3062 to recieve a holiday greeting from Santa and leave your wish list.

* Your kids can keep track of Santa all December long while playing with his elves here.

* Will Ferrell Is the New Santa Claus! Check out this funny video

11 Insane Things You Didn't Know About Santa Claus

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Blog Break Until Presidential Election is Over

I finally hit the wall today. I can't think of what to say about all of the madness going on in this country right now. I'm a writer...