Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I'm Giving You Nothing For Christmas

Despite all of the groovy presents you see under this tree...

... I'm giving you nothing for Christmas. Sorry.

Fact of the matter is, I don't have enough time to write anything new. I'd like to do so. I had some vague notions concerning a story from my childhood, going to the Enchanted Village at Jordan Marsh to see Santa, but no go. Maybe next year.

You see, last minute details concerning this Christmas have been clogging up the septic tank of my joy. Nothing that can't be taken care of with some philosophical Rid-X, but still.

One of the more concrete problems involved procuring a piece of equipment that wasn't included with a gift we purchased. We thought that a digital picture frame came with a memory card, but it didn't. So, I got one this morning, and now I have to load the photos onto it, etc.

The digital photo frame is for my Grandma, whom you may remember is 103 years old. That means there were about 100 years worth of photos to choose from. About all I can offer you as entertainment are some of the more interesting photos I'll be loading.

The Christmas tree up above is one of them. That was her and my Grandpa's tree back in the 60's and 70's. They were the first people I knew to have an aluminum tree. My grandparents were pretty radical in some ways. I thought it was very weird then, but I sort of wish it was still around now.

This is my mother looking very 1940-ish. I suspect the photo is actually from the early 50's.

This is Washington Square in Weymouth Landing, Massachusetts. I'm not sure of the exact date, but perhaps it is around the turn of the century.

This is my Aunt Jeanne (deceased) and my cousin, Scott, in a dogsled. They lived in Fairbanks, Alaska, in the 1960's.

And this is them, just a few years later, in Hawaii. Quite the contrast, eh? My Aunt Jeanne was an adventurous sort. She died many years ago now, and I only have bits and pieces of stories. I know she rode a motor scooter back when that wasn't considered a thing for a lady to do. She wasn't averse to trying new things, as witness the above locales. Her second marriage was to a warlock, a very sweet guy with an infectious and unique laugh (haw-haw-haw, it went, which doesn't really give you the sense of it completely, but anyone who heard it has never forgotten it and could probably do a decent imitation even now.) As I've gone through my own interesting adventures in life, I wish I could talk to Auntie Jeanne some more now. I'd have a much greater appreciation, I'm sure. Too bad I can't.

On somewhat the other end of the spectrum, this is my Uncle Louis Barcello. He was a Roman Catholic priest, serving mass in Albuquerque in this photo. I was his altar boy once. He was visiting home and had me be his helper. I sort of knew what to do, but I wasn't totally proficient. I had been attending mass for years already at the time, but had never considered being an altar boy, so hadn't been paying attention to them so much as the priest. I got through it without disgracing either one of us. When I faltered, Uncle Louis stage-whispered directions to me.

Self-explanatory, I suppose, but that never stopped me from going on at length before, so why not now? This photo was taken in either St. Petersburg or Tampa, Florida. It was the only time I ever met my great-grandmother, I believe.

It is now 43 years later. The three people on the right are still kicking ass and taking names. As the story goes, that side of my family used to own half of that town. They sold it for a bag of magic beans or something; I don't know the whole story, but I know I'm not rich. That's enough.

And I leave you with this picture of a kid on a rocking horse.

Yes, it's me. The rocking horse was built by my Grandpa, a man very handy with tools. He later painted it, beautifully, in red's and whites. It might have been a Christmas present. If so, a fitting end to this.

The rocking horse is still extant, on my Grandma's front porch, and if I weighed about 100 pounds less, I'd give it a ride two days from now when we go there for Christmas. But, I don't weigh 100 pounds less. The lovely horse doesn't deserve to have his back broken after all these years, so I'll resist the temptation.

I'll be back around New Year, and I hope I bring something new and shiny for you to enjoy. In the meantime, I hope you get everything you want to get, are able to give everything you wanted to give, and, if not, you realize that the Lord's blessings are still upon you in abundance, even if you don't quite see them clearly. You will, someday.

Merry Christmas!


Lisa Johnson said...

Merry Christmas Suldog! Thanks for sharing these beautiful photos. Wonderful history here!

Oh, and I love the snow on your blog. Blog snow is my favorite actually. It doesn't make me cold. : )

Katney said...

But Sully, you HAVE given us a very special treat for Christmas with this post.

Michelle H. said...

The photos are beautiful. And this post is a great Christmas gift.

As for the blog, the snow is beautiful. But I seriously don't give a rat's ass what color you make it so long as you keep blogging. I know that is selfish of me to say. Deal with it.

~j said...

I love love love old photos and the stories that go with them. I've spent the last 6 months scanning all our family pictures so my brothers can have a complete set. It's been so much fun!

thanks for sharing with us!

Merry Christmas!

Saz said...

Awww...so much for not having any time to post..this is great..very appropriate for this time of year!!

Happy Christmas Suldog

Saz xx(FFF)

Bear Naked said...

Thank you for sharing your photos and family stories with us.
Merry Christmas from my blog to your blog.

Bear((( )))

Pat - Arkansas said...

Merry Christmas to you, Suldog, and to YOUR WIFE and your family, including 103 yr. old Grandma. What a blessing to still have her around!

Loved the photos.

tshsmom said...

What a beautiful final paragraph!
A Blessed Christmas to you and your amazing family Suldog!

Karen said...

Christmas blessings to you and yours. I'm so glad I found your blog this year. See you in 2009 !

GreenJello said...

Merry Christmas! And you did leave us something for Christmas. Thank you for a post worth reading. :)

lime said...

aww, thank you for sharing those marvelous pictures. i am sure your grandma will just LOVE the gift. how wonderful.

merry christmas to you and all those yo ulove.

Hilary said...

With you, and your wonderful tales of family, every day is like Christmas. The photos are lovely. I kept looking at those digital frames and wishing I had someone who would appreciate one like either of my sons' two grandmothers would have, had they still been with us. I'm glad you have your grandmother. I know she'll love your beautiful gift from the heart.

Merry Christmas to you and yours, Sully. :)

Shammickite said...

For someone who saud he didn't have anything to write, that was quite a substantial post. I wish I had known Aunt Jeanne too. Have a good Christmas and I'll be checking in again when the celebrations are all finished and Christmas has been put back in the box in the basement.

Angie Ledbetter said...

May the blessings of the Holy Family come to you and your family...especially the little tyke on the rocking horse. :)

Elaine Denning said...

Merry Christmas! x

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas to you and your Lovely Wife. Travel safely.

((hugs)) Thim :)

Christina RN LMT said...

Thank you and Merry Christmas!

Alison said...

I have several relatives that have been long gone that I wish I could talk with now.... as you said, having a greater appreciation of things. A poignant reminder to cherish those still with us. Best wishes for a happy holiday.

Anonymous said...

This was a truly lovely post, Suldog, especially for a post that wasn't going to be a post. Have a wonderful Christmas with Mrs. Suldog and all your family.

Adamity73 said...

Dude, great pictures. I loved that Washington Square one. Tres cool.

Merry Christmas. I'm glad I found your blog.

Ericka said...

ooh, you made it snow on your blog! that is so cool!

cool pictures - i'm sure your grandma will love them.

have a merry christmas, jim!

Shammickite said...

and now I want to know how you got those snowflakes to flutter down on your blog page????

Buck said...

I predict your gift will be your Grandma's most treasured gift this year. What a brilliant idea. Kudos to you for the effort and thought put into this, Jim.

Merry Christmas to you and yours... and thank you SO very much for all the joy you've given me this year.

Unknown said...

Abundance is just a state of mind my friend and you are one of the people in this world who, although as you claim, not rich, is wealthy beyond all compare! Enjoy your festive holiday and have a wonderful day of laughter and family :)

Merry Christmas!

Chris Stone said...

love the pictures... and have a great christmas!

Cleary Squared said...

Hey, Suldog...do you happen to know a Stacy Sullivan, who now goes by the name Stacy Sullivan-Woods? She used to go to school with me at Boston Latin Academy and now she lives in Worcester.

Cleary Squared said...

Oh, and Merry Christmas.

rosecreekcottage-carol.blogspot.com said...

This WAS a Christmas gift! I enjoyed every word...every picture. Merry Merry Christmas to you and your whole family, Suldog!!!

Cath said...

Great memories. I love that last one of you. (What happened? *sigh*) I like the hand caught in the frame - the mother ever ready to catch lest he fall. It made me smile.

Nestor Family said...

Merry Christmas! Peace and love wished to you and yours for the new year!

BklynSoxFan said...

Suldog: I found out some shocking news about our "sick" blogger friend Kaylee: she's a fraud:


Discovered the post tonight, on Christmas night. I'm more shocked than angry. She needs help.

Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Jeni said...

For someone with "nothing to offer" as a new post, I think you pretty much did a great job with this one. Nothing better than old family pictures that give one a peek into your life, your family, your past. A great gift to the blogging community for sure.
Hope you and the lovely spouse have an excellent Christmas and an even better New Year -along with a great visit to Grandma's house too!
Cheers and Peace!

Neponset River Bridge Dig said...

Great photos, Suldog.

and a merry Christmas to and grandma.

Judi FitzPatrick said...

You sure bring back memories with grandparents who had a silver tree (my mom's folks did, too!) and The Enchanted Village at Jordan Marsh - sure do miss that.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and thank you for sharing these great photos and memories.

Peace, Judi

i beati said...

Was it an HP digital frame??Now tell me the purpose of a digital frame because my son got me one for Christmas all loaded with splendid pictures and I don't know where to put it. I have pics on the computer screen?so where?

anyhow your photos of yesteryear are provocative of my days round of yesteryear. I enjoyed the entire read a lot --

Anonymous said...

Just a few notations:

In the picture of Washinton Square, the beautiful building in the foreground was the Tufts Library. It was, unfortunately, torn down and replaced in another part of town by an ugly, rectangular building - perhaps more efficient on the inside but not nearly as lovely on the outside.
Directly in back of the library is the Sacred Heart Church, which burned to the ground a couple of years back and has since been replace by a nearly identical ediface.
The white building to the left of the library was once the "nunnery" but is now the rectory for the church.
The elms which lined the street all the way to the upper square (Lincoln) died many years ago of Dutch Elm disease.
The fountain in front of the library was replaced by a traffic box in which a policeman stood to direct traffic. That was later replaced by traffic lights.

Aunt Jeanne took her Vespa to Europe (along with her two friends Poul and Thom, who also owned Vespas). They disembarked in France and rode to Denmark (Poul's home)where Jeanne and Thom stayed for 6 months before running out of money and returning home. Jeanne had one accident on her Vespa where she broke her collar bone when she skidded on some loose dirt.

Janet said...

New and shiny has NOTHING on the wonderful memories.