Happy Holidays Everybody!
As we barrel toward the New Year, I want to take a minute to tell you how much I appreciate you—more than you know!—and to wish you the happiest holidays ever.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Everything you treasure and love! That's it, no news, no announcements, nothing to market. Just a word of wisdom from one of my inspirations… for year's end.
Also here: the e-Christmas card my wife and I are sending to friends and family. And lastly, a poem I wrote many years ago for my sister Helen, who loves Christmas.
I'll check in with you in the New Year. Till then, I pray you'll have a sweet time over the holidays.
1. A word of wisdom for year's end from Steven Charleston
2. A Christmas e-card from me & my wife Kat
3. A Christmas story: My Sister
1. *A word of wisdom for year's end
“If someone asks you why you are such a dreamer, tell them it's because reality can't keep up with you.”
—Steven Charleston (b. 1949), Native American spiritual teacher
*From his book Ladder to the Light
2. A Christmas card from our home to yours
3. A Poem for the Season
My sister Helen sang Christmas carols
even in the summertime;
she was weird like that.
Once she ate a whole
stick of butter. And once,
I guess because she was told
not to, she stuck her arm
right in Bubba’s big window fan.
You had to keep an eye on her.
If my sister was last at the table
she would likely hide what was left
of her peas and rice under the rug,
and once a fossilized sandwich
was found in her Sunday purse.
Mama says that whereas I would
tell the truth when a lie would’ve
saved me from a whipping, Helen
would tell a lie when the truth
would’ve gotten her out of trouble.
Fact: my sister was much smaller than I was
and thus extremely susceptible to torture.
At various times I:
locked her out of the house
in the snow wearing
only her pajamas
stuffed her upside down
in a garbage can
placed a large dead spider
in her open mouth
while she slept in the back seat
on our way to the beach
But here’s the story of the meanest thing
I ever did to her:
My sister wanted a horse
more than anything in the world.
She asked for one each birthday and Christmas,
and as every birthday and Christmas approached
she was told that Mama and Bubba and Santa Claus
were very sorry, but that you just can’t
have a horse if you live in town, and so on.
Still, this was implausible to Helen and
she continued to dream as she played
with her toy horses, drew pictures of horses,
wore her cowgirl outfit, pretended to be a horse,
wrote Santa faithfully each year
(starting around July), till one Christmas morning
when she was six and I was eight, I had a terrible idea.
I ran to the back window and yelled,
Helen! Helen! Look what’s tied to the tree!
My sister has long since
forgiven me for this and for countless
other crimes and trespasses,
but I can tell you without a doubt that
I have not forgiven myself
for this particular transgression.
Therapy and prayer have alleviated other regrets,
but somehow I still imagine myself before the Judge
being told, Son, there’s a difference between
a practical joke and a sin, and there are sins
for which there is no remedy, for which penance
is ineffective—for certain acts set worlds in motion
that will spin eternally, worlds of dark secrets
from which you will never be free.
These days, when the family banter starts up
about our childhood pranks and follies
I inevitably remember that Christmas morning,
and if the story is told I hold my breath and sweat it out.
So my prayer now is not for the gift of remorse.
I have that; I’ve had it for years now, certainly.
What I need is no less than a re-write of history,
a chance to undo what began with great force.
I imagine a world where dark fact becomes fantasy,
and fantasy fades from a gray sky to blue—
where a wish is a seed taking root in reality.
Merry Christmas, dear Helen, may your dreams all come true.
Till the New Year, Maximum Peace, Love & Understanding.
©2023 Point Clear Records & Press