10 Resolutions I’m Making For the New Year

Here’s hoping everyone has a wonderful New Year. Party like it’s 1999 but don’t drive while drinking. Remember there are a lot of amateur drunks on the highway. Better yet, stay home and invite your friends over. Let them face the amateurs. Isn’t that what friends are for? Anyway here is my list of New Year’s Resolutions.

1.Remind people that I am not dead yet. But Elvis is.

2.Start a Bucket List, and make sure the bucket ain’t leaking.

3.Turn on the light at 3 a.m., so I don’t break another toe stumbling around in the dark.

4.Quit throwing the alarm clock across the room. Alarm clocks are like hearts. They break easily.

5.Give up dancing. I have no rhythm. At all.

6.Quit imagining I am a bullfighter. Those bulls have horns, and they hurt.

7.Don’t play with guns. I will shoot my eye out. Ouch!

8.Next Halloween I shall not go as a pumpkin. At least, not without cleaning out the insides.

9.Betting on the horses is no retirement plan.

10.Gotta give up singing “In-a-gadda-da-vida” in the shower. The shower is getting sick of my singing.

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The Christmas Man

Harry went Christmas shopping two days after Thanksgiving. He hit the streets early that morning with his list. It was a tradition with him. Avoid Black Friday and hit the stores the next day. He was off with a smile on his face.

The crowds didn’t bug him. The lines at the cash registers didn’t bother him either. He always took a a book and got a lot of reading in that day. This year it was “The Christmas Carol” on his kindle, one of his favs.

While in line, he listened to the carols and let his imagination sink into the world of nineteenth century England. There was a comfort in knowing that everything was going to turn out just right. And Tiny Tim always put a smile on his face. He could imagine the carolers coming around to Scrooge’s place of business, singing, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”.

Since he was a boy, since the first time he heard the manger story and the peace on earth goodwill toward men, since the first time he read of Tiny Tim and Bob Cratchit and the transformation of Scrooge into the best of men, he had loved Christmas. While others barked out their complaints about the crowds and the lack of Christmas cheer, Harry had nothing but happiness in his heart.

When he got home late in the day, the kids waited with hugs for their daddy and Merry had a special kiss for her husband. Then he saw the tree. Merry and his boys had spent all day while he was gone, doing an extra-special job trimming the tree and decorating the house. It was a delight. Tears formed in his eyes, tears of love and wonder.

Soon the day would come, soon the presents would be opened, soon the Christmas feast would be eaten, soon the decorations and the tree would come down, but for now Harry lived one day at a time.

He went over to the pitcher of eggnog Merry had made. Poured a large glass. Took it out to the garage. He finished it, then went out to the car and carried the presents back to his cabinet and stored them away until Christmas Eve.

He locked the cabinet, then he strung up the lights around the house, put up the large Santa and his sleigh along with the Nativity creche on his front lawn. When he was finished, it was time for a late dinner. Then he was off to his job at Santa’s Workshop. He had just been promoted to head elf. He had his own desk. He even had his own special name plate. It said “Harry Christmas”.

So have yourself a very Harry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

‘Tis the Seasn

Mother, manger and Child in a stable
Bethlehem on a midnight clear
Angels and peace on earth goodwill toward men
Adeste fidelis and little drummer boys
Shepherds, Magi, and gold, frankincense and myrrh
O Christmas tree and we three ships
Saint Nicholas, Santa Claus and Rudolph
Good King Wenceslas, Tiny Tim, Scrooge and Charlie Brown
Miracles on 34th Street, It’s a Wonderful Life, and White Christmas
Christmas wreaths, mistletoe, deck the halls and jingle bells
City sidewalks, pretty paper and chestnuts on an open fire
Hippopotamuses, two front teeth and a Red Ryder air rifle

So hark the herald angels sing tidings of comfort and joy
‘Tis the season for a thrill of hope
and a Mother, a manger and a Child

May all of you have a very merry Christmas.

The year Santa lost a Ho

The missus and I had just finished our afternoon tea when we received a surprise visit. It was Blitzen, the Old Graybeard of Santa’s Reindeer. He was accompanied by his young apprentice, Donner. Blitzen and I had run together in our younger days before the missus and I took up with each other. And it had been some time since we caught up.

To allow his great antlers into the house, we opened the french doors. Still they barely made it into our home. We poured our guests two large mugs of our best cider, threw a log onto the fire and settled in for some news.

Seems the rest of the Reindeer were down with reindeer-itis. As they say at the Pole, when it hits, it hits hard.

Blitzen was using the free time to get the Rookie, Donner, up to snuff on sled-ology. He didn’t want a reprise of the fiasco two year’s earlier when Donner stopped in the middle of nowhere to take a good gaze at the moon.

Blitzen, in his deep reindeer voice went to the subject at hand. “Earlier this year Santa lost one of his Ho’s.”

The wife blushed.

Blitzen continued, “Now I know what you’re thinking. I’m here to tell you that the Ho he lost is not that kind of Ho. It was one of Santa’s three Ho’s in Ho-Ho-Ho. One went missing in action. The middle one to be exact.”

“You don’t say.” I was deeply concerned. This couldn’t happen to a better man than Santa. He was such a jolly, old fellow, him with his red cheeks and all.

My dear wife said, “Poor dear man.”

Donner’s enthusiasm was not to be contained. “Just think what Christmas would be without one of Santa’s Ho-Ho-Ho’s. Why it would be an embarrassment to Santa saying, ‘Ho ho.'”

Blitzen added, “Leaves a person hanging, don’t you think? And we couldn’t leave Santa hanging.”

I agreed.

Blitzen continued, “We all decided that something had to be done. But what?”

I wracked my brain, trying to come up with an answer. “I’m not sure.”

Donner was champing at the bit. “I mean, there was no way Santa was to show up at chimneys with only two Ho’s. They’d paid for three Ho’s. Three Ho’s were expected. They’d think Santa was a fake. Oh, my. That just wouldn’t do.”

Blitzen moseyed back into the conversation, “We put our heads together. The reindeer, the elves and Mrs. Santa. Decided we needed a detective. We could afford it. It would be a tax write-off. Business expense and all. So we hired a a real pro. Not one of them Sam Spade types.”

Donner was back in. “We got that Hercules Parrot. He’s the one we’ve heard so much about. And I got his autograph too.”

“Was he available?” I asked. “I heard that he retired and was no longer taking cases.”

Blitzen ignored the younger Donner’s enthusiasm. “Yes, we got him. Monocle and all. Because of the importance of the case, he was willing to come out of retirement.”

I was impressed enough to repeat the word, “Monocle.”

“We had to pay top dollar too,” Donner said with a bit of pride. “But it was worth it. When he arrived, a calm came over the situation. We knew we had the right man for the job.”

“What a coup,” my wife said.

“This is Santa,” Donner said, “we’re talking about. Only the best for the boss.”

A tear rolled down Blitzen’s eye. “He’s more like a father to us than a boss. When Mrs. Blitzen had the twins, we asked him to be their godfather. We couldn’t believe he’d agree but he did.”

“He’s the epitome,” my wife said, “of Christmas charity.”

“While Monsieur Parrot worked on the case,” Donner jabbered on, “the Elves fashioned a temporary Ho. And I helped too.”

Blitzen shook his head and his deep voice added, “It wasn’t the real thing. Didn’t have the depth. And a bit clumsy. But it was an emergency. We needed a stand-in.”

“So? Did Monsieur Parrot save the day?” I inquired, anxious to know.

Donner spoke at the speed of light. So much was his enthusiasm for the detective. “He took each of us aside and grilled us, ‘Where were you on the night of the fifth?’ I can remember how that voice went deep inside me and stirred up all the fear I had ever had. I thought he was going to accuse me. Trembling, I answered, ‘I don’t know because tonight is the night of the fifth.’ ‘Of course, it is,’ he said. ‘You answered correctly. You must not be guilty.’ I was so relieved.”

Blitzen continued, “When he had finished with us, there was one that was missing.”

My wife and I looked first at Donner, then at Blitzen

The two reindeer joined together and said, “Rudolph.

“The red-nose guy?” my wife asked.

Blitzen said, “I’m afraid so.”

Donner slowed down. “Yeah. Rudolph being the hero and all last year. We were surprised.”

“Unfortunately,” Blitzen said in his deepest voice yet, the kind of voice that can only be used when you say unfortunately, “Rudolph made a real mess of things.”

Donner picked up again. “Monsieur Parrot has this special hound, Monsiuer Basset. He tracked Rudolph down. Finally found him hiding in Santa’s chimney, shaking his booties off. Man, he was such a sight with all that soot on him.”

Blitzen continued the tale. “Before any of us had time to comment, Monsieur Parrot stepped forward. ‘Monsieur ‘Udolph, I presume.’ It was a statement, not a question.

“‘Y-y-yes,’ the poor fellow said, shaking his way from antler to hoof. His pathetic look had turned our anger into pity. He was such a pitiful thing, sitting there in that chimney.

“‘It is not fashionable to wear a suit of soot. I would say you are hiding. Is this not true?’

“All Rudolph could do was shake his antlers and red nose yes.

“‘Please step forward,’ Monsieur Parrot commanded, ‘And tell us why you are dressed so unfashionably.'”

Donner now came in. “He was such a poor thing. Rudolph with his shiny young reindeer coat. It was shiny no more.”

“The poor dear,” my wife offered.

Blitzen took out his pipe, lit it and finished the tale. “Rudolph stepped out of the chimney. Beneath him was Santa’s missing Ho, broken into a hundred small pieces. We couldn’t believe it. We just couldn’t believe it.” Smoke curled out of Old Gray’s pipe. It curled into a teardrop, then flew away as smoke often does.

“Rudolph dropped to the floor out of sorrow and hunger. He had been missing several days, hiding out in the chimney.

“‘Feed the poor creature,’ Monsieur Parrot ordered, ‘and get him cleaned up. Then we will question him.’

“It took several hours to put Rudolph back together again. But it was much easier to put him back together than it was the Ho. Finally, Monsieur Parrot continued his questioning, ‘Tell us what happened.’

“Even though Rudolph had been spiffed up, he was still down in the mouth. He knew he was about to get kicked out of the Reindeer Brigade. He looked up at Santa, Monsieur Parrot and the rest of us with those mournful eyes of his. ‘I’m so sorry, Santa. I wanted to make an impression. Last year I almost tripped when I led the sleigh with my red nose. I knew I needed coordination and I had read that juggling would help.’

“As he said all this, he was crying. It was very sad. ‘The only thing I could think of to juggle was your Ho’s, Santa. At first, I was careful. Very careful. I became over confident and tried a juggle I should have left alone. I stumbled, and I dropped the second Ho. It smashed. I was so scared. I put the other two Ho’s back and cleaned up the smashed one. I didn’t think anyone would look for me in this chimney.’

Donner chipped in. “I always knew Rudolph was a problem. Him and that red nose of his. Show off. Wanted all the glory.”

“Now, now,” Blitzen said. “You’re not so hot yourself.”

My wife was crying. “I’ve never heard such a sad story.”

Blitzen wasn’t through. “Monsieur Parrot was paid. The North Pole Council of Elves, Clauses and Reindeer held a meeting. Everybody knew the trouble Rudolph had caused. It was going to take a year to order a new Ho and have it shipped to the North Pole. Just as we were about to banish poor Rudolph, Mrs. Claus saved the day.”

“Leave it to Mrs. Claus,” my wife said admiringly. “She is a miracle worker.”

Donner stepped back in. “She scooped up all the pieces of the broken Ho and stirred them into a big pot of chicken soup. She cooked it overnight. When she took the cover off the pot the next day, the chicken soup had disappeared. In the middle of the pot was one complete Ho. And it was as good as new. Then she said to the Council, ‘You can only have this Ho if you forgive Rudolph.'”

Blitzen finished out the story. “Of course, the Council was so happy we forgave Rudolph. With a warning. ‘Never play with somebody else’s Ho.'”

 

haiku for the day: Christmas decorations

Boy, it is close. The big day. You know the one I am talking about. Hanukkah? ‘Fraid not. If you’re getting ready to get out the dredel, you’re running a little late. Boxing Day? Well, not quite but close. Epiphany? No. Kwanzaa? Sorry to have to say it but it’s not the one either.

Yes. You guessed it. We’re talking about the Big Guy showing up with his ho, ho, ho. We’re talking Christmas here, man, and presents. Bunny suits and Red Ryder BB guns. Oh, don’t worry. I’m not going to shoot my eye out. If I do, I have one to spare. You know, that second eye kinda like a spare tire when you have a flat.

Creches on front lawns
Christmas lights lining the streets
Merry Christmas, y’all.