Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve Gift


"Christmas Eve Gift." That is the way my father answered the phone every Christmas Eve morning when I called him. Strangely enough, I never asked why he said "Christmas Eve Gift!." It was just what he did. Of course, now that it is too late to ask him, I have begun to wonder where that greeting originated.

After a little research, a few theories of the meaning were brought to light. The greeting is prevalent mainly in the southern states. Most believe it became popular during the depression. Since people couldn't afford gifts, their gift was their friendship, love, and presence.

I can remember the joy on Dad's face as we shared Christmas Eve with his brother and family, mother, and sister (and, of course, later with us and his grandchildren!). When he was serving his country during World War II, he must have wondered if he would see his family again. So it only makes sense that when they were all reunited, he knew then and there that there was no greater gift in the world.

 There is so much during the holidays to get wrapped up in (no pun intended), and so much thought goes into finding that perfect gift. But, we always have the perfect gift with us, and it is the best gift to share with family and friends. Plus, we can give it all year long, and it lasts long after we are gone.


Monday, December 17, 2012

A Message from Barry

I found this in my comments:

I am emailing you a picture of the "Bote" all put together. I know when your readers see it they will be calling me and requesting a ride. Please try & post the photo.

Float the Boat

Why no posts for so long?

Sometimes I get writers block. Sometimes I have too much that I want to say, but the content does not pertain to this blog. Those thoughts keep me from coming up with superficial subjects.

But, somehow, Barry never fails to give me something to write.

As you may remember, Barry and I went to an RV show in Dallas when we were trying to decide what kind of trailer to buy. As we were walking around the exhibits, we came across a booth selling a boat.

Barry has been talking kayaks for a couple of years now, but we both had some reservations about them. They would take up room in the garage, getting them loaded and unloaded could get hard for two (in pretty good shape), but aging people, etc.

The boat we saw at the RV show is called a Porta-Bote. I'm going to tell you up front it is unusual. Notice the spelling of the word boat in its name? Do you think there is some reason they cannot use the word "boat"? Would that be false advertising?

Being fiscally responsible, Barry decided to check out eBay for used Porta-Botes. He found one for sale. It was in California, and the owner had posted he would not ship. Barry emailed and tried to convince him to ship it, but got no response.

Then, Barry found one in Florida. This seller was a little more willing to try to ship it, but to make a long story shorter, this sale, too, fell through.

Not to be deterred, Barry found one for sale in the metroplex. Over Thanksgiving weekend, he went to check it out and came home with his very own Porta-Bote.

Due to work and weather, Barry did not get to put the boat in the water until recently.

It was hanging neatly in the garage.

It folds up to four inches wide, but is twelve feet long.

Then the weather cleared, and Barry had a day to take the bote to the lake and see if it would float.

Barry and I loaded the bote in the truck. He wanted to make sure I could help lift it. What a stroke of luck that I can help load the bote and motor.

Phil was Barry's first mate. I refused to be the guinea pig in the "float or sink" experiment.

Phil was impressed with Barry's knot tying skills.

So with the bote, motor, and life jackets loaded, they headed for the lake.

Less than sixty minutes later, they were back. They took the bote out into the water about twenty or thirty yards and...

The Game Warden stopped them.  I like to think that he watched them unfold the bote and felt it shouldn't be in the water. Barry says that he stopped them because the bote was not registered. Barry was certain, the Game Warden was impressed with the bote, because he only gave them a warning.  

So the bote is back in the garage awaiting its registration. Barry assures me it floated just fine. Somehow I feel, I will be the guinea pig for its venture farther than thirty yards from shore.

Friday, December 14, 2012


Today was going to be my "come back" post. I have most of it written. Some of that post even contains reasons I don't write more on current events. That post will have to wait.

After the tragedy today in Connecticut, I didn't feel that a regular post was appropriate. I can't even fathom how someone could kill people in cold blood, especially children.

I have been retired from the MISD for many years. While I was there, we were required to have lock down drills. When the secret code was announced on the intercom, we turned off the lights and huddled the children in the corner, where we all sat in silence while administrators and police officers walked the halls to see how efficiently we could lock the whole school down. You could hear footsteps coming down the hall and then the door handle would jiggle. Then the footsteps would walk away.

I had spent time to prepare the children, so they knew what to expect and knew that all this was for their safety like a fire or tornado drill. They trusted that I would watch out for them and that they were safe with me.

I know that the staff of Sandy Hook Elementary would have done anything to save those children. I am so mad that another manic has taken the trust and innocence away from the children at the school. I am so sorrowful that families have lost their children and parents for no reason.

There is nothing that will make sense of this violent act. Just hold your children and loved ones. Never forget to tell them you love them. Let's all pray that 2013 will bring us a kinder, gentler world.