Archive for December, 2014


December 18, 2014

This morning’s news carried a story about how more families and I suspect more parents are deciding to limit their gift giving to one present per child. Frankly I think this concept is downright “Grinchy”. I’m sure a slew of parents will disagree but here’s my thinking. I’m a product of the one present rule, ours was caused by lack of finances, and frankly IT SUCKED. My aunt tried to do her best to override the rule but her bright red “looks like long underwear” pajamas just didn’t cut it. (I grew to hate those pajamas.)

The idea of giving presents is just that—gift giving. It should be an outpouring of love and generosity. Children should learn the value of giving gifts to their siblings and parents even if the gifts come from the “Dollar Store”. The presents may include things like a toothpick holder, which came from my grandson to his new step-grandpa. It was one of the sweetest gifts I’ve ever seen. He had observed grandpa looking for toothpicks after a meal and thought the holder was a perfect gift, and it was.

Some folks are doing it right and I think everybody needs to stop and watch. There are a great many children who have the spirit of giving in their hearts: boys and girls who raise money for vandalized playground equipment or to help pay a friend’s hospital expenses. These children may ask for an extra set of Lego blocks or an extra doll, but they have the right spirit. They will also drop their mittens into the Salvation Army bag or give away a warm scarf because they know someone needs them.

So stop with the one present thing! It may trim down your Christmas expenses, but it sends the wrong message. Your children don’t need to think that your heart is two sizes too small.



December 5, 2014


It’s been a long week. Personal problems including my spouse loosing the personal checkbook have left me frustrated with an elevated blood pressure. I suspect that I’m longing for an older gentler time when a person’s word was their bond and nothing required canceling your life in order to prevent thieves from wrecking it. Before the turn of the 20th century thieves were bolder and if possible more “up front”. They took your money and rode off into the sunset. They didn’t hack into your computer or your credit record and ruin your life. Even I can remember a time when if you lost a checkbook, the bank provided a new one and life went on. Now you have to cancel your life.

It is too late to cancel my life. I know that for sure.

I also know I’m a bit too old to wait five (yes, 5) hours on hold for someone from Social Security to answer. Five hours subtracted from perhaps twenty years at 24 hours per day is 175,200 hours minus the 5. That’s a lot of wasted time listening to the worst hold music on the planet. I’m sure the music is meant to drive you completely insane after an hour at which point you slam down the receiver and go smashing through the house destroying anything which made sense yesterday.

Some things should be easier, I know that. Some things should be as simple as explaining the problem to a sympathetic person on the other end of a telephone conversation and immediate reassurance that everything is handled and you can go on with your life. I know there are simpler ways to do things and I know there are easier ways to stop those thieves who disappear into the sunset, otherwise what are all these computer geniuses doing with their time.