Tuesday, December 26, 2017

My Writing

As some of you already know, the recent bankruptcy declaration by the Boston Herald impacted me directly. Being a freelancer, I was an "unsecured creditor". All of the pieces I wrote for them during late October, all of November, and early December end up as a total loss for me. I was not paid for them and it's unlikely I'll be getting that money from the new owners, GateHouse Media. I'd like to be pleasantly surprised, but I have the chance of that proverbial snowball in hell.

Having said that, I've been told that there should be no problem receiving payment for the one piece I've had published since the bankruptcy. Yay. However, until I have that check in my hands, I won't be submitting any work to them. If you might have been wondering why you haven't seen a post about my stuff being published there recently, now you know why.

With that having gone down, I don't feel much like writing at the moment. I will, again, some time soon, I'm sure.

Meanwhile, we'll be OK. MY WIFE, as always, has been a rock. She is a blessing - and always has been.

For now, I'll be re-publishing some things. Some of these may make it into a book someday. Who knows? In any case, I hope you enjoy them as they make a reappearance on this stage.

I'll start with this...


Grand Uncle Jim

First things first: This is a story about an Irish family. While my name is Jim, and I’m an uncle, I also have an Uncle Jim of my own. There is an Uncle Jim mentioned in this story, but he’s not that Uncle Jim, although that Uncle Jim is the one who told me this tale of the other Uncle Jim. Actually, he’s Uncle Jim’s Uncle Jim, making him my Grand Uncle Jim (and some folks prefer the title 'great uncle', but let’s not open that can of worms.) It’s very confusing to the uninitiated, I suppose, so if it will keep you from getting a headache, feel free to think of him as Uncle Aloysius.

Anyway, when my father was very young – five or six - his Uncle Jim taught him a very valuable lesson.

My father had hung his stocking on Christmas Eve, as did all of the family. This included the older relatives, and that group included his Uncle Jim. Come Christmas morning, everybody took down their stockings and looked inside to see what Santa Claus had brought them.

The usual things were found inside the stockings - little toys, tasty candies, and other such trifles. Nice, of course, but nothing unusual. That is, until Uncle Jim inspected the contents of his stocking. He turned it upside down, and out rolled a lump of coal and an onion.

While good little boys and girls receive toys and candies, a lump of coal and an onion are, by tradition, what bad boys and girls receive. Seeing those things come from Uncle Jim’s stocking, my father laughed and laughed. Uncle Jim was a bad boy! He got a lump of coal and an onion!

While my father was laughing, Uncle Jim said, "Oh! This is wonderful! A lump of coal and an onion? These are just what I needed!"

My father thought his Uncle Jim had gone round the bend. How could someone be happy to have received a lump of coal and an onion in his Christmas stocking?

Uncle Jim picked up the lump of coal, then took my father’s hand and led him to the basement. They stopped at the furnace. Uncle Jim said, "It’s so cold today, this lump of coal is the perfect gift. I can put it in the furnace and we’ll be nice and warm all day!"

Uncle Jim then led my amazed father back upstairs. They returned to the family parlor, where Uncle Jim now picked up his Christmas onion. He led my father into the kitchen. While my father sat and watched, Uncle Jim chopped up the onion, and then mixed it with celery, bread, and spices. During all of this, he went on rapturously about how his stuffing for the turkey would have been no good whatsoever without an onion.

Later on, as my father sat in a warm house eating delicious stuffing with his Christmas dinner, the lesson was permanently burned into his memory: It doesn’t matter what you’re given. It’s what you do with it that matters.

Soon, with more better stocking stuffers.


messymimi said...

Your stories get better with each retelling.

How revolting that they won't pay you for your work, that upsets me. There have only been a couple of times that i've been stiffed, and it takes the wind out of your sails.

Please do write a book. It's not something i can do, and i hate to see anyone who can pass up the opportunity.

joeh said...

Very nice story.

Char said...

Ah Jim. I would love to look forward to a book written by you. You have such talent, and it would be just awful for you to waste it. I know you wouldn't want to deprive us by not having your wit, talent and stories to read. I wish the very best for you and know you will land on your feet in the coming year.

Absolut Ruiness said...

I see that nonefitria completely understood your point about better stocking stuffers!
I hope you and your loved ones are having a blessed time right now. Your Grand Uncle Jim is what is required in generous amounts by the world today. More power to all such Jims around the world!

Shammickite said...

I had no idea that the Boston paper was declaring bankruptcy, that's horrible that you're not going to get paid for your work. You deserve to get every penny, you're one of their best contributors IMHO. So they took your work and published it and didn't even intend to pay you, I am disgusted. I hope that you get something out of it, when it's all settled.
Love the story of Uncle Jim. And the idea of writing a book....

Anonymous said...

I've been away a few days for the holidays and this post is what I found this morning. Just freaking ruined my day !!! While you've been sharing the most meaningful tributes to Christmas---look what's been brewing in the background!!! This just makes me sick!!! Linda in Tn.

Barbara said...

One of my favorites! I hope you continue writing - I think you should start on your book, for sure, but I hope you keep posting here for our enjoyment. :) You're too good to let the Herald stop your great stories.

Craig said...

I remember this one; one of my favorites. Thanks for re-posting it. . .

Sometimes it feels like somebody threw nails all over the home stretch of the race to the finish, doesn't it? I'm sure you'll be OK, as you say, but jeez, can a brother catch a break, just once in a while?

Jackie said...

Love the lesson in this story about your Uncle Jim.
Continued prayers for blessings that are overflowing for you and Your Dear Wife.

It's.a.crazy.world said...

Oh Suldog! I am so sorry to hear about the bankruptcy, and even more so that you're not going to be paid for your wonderful writing. Hope springs eternal ~ I've heard that somewhere, and say it often.

If karma has anything to say about it, 2018 should be a wonderful year for you! Hugs....

Sandra said...

Hi, Jim! When I was a blogger and was in touch with you, I always enjoyed your stories. Especially the ones about job hunting. I would definitely buy your book. I have no doubt that you will land on your feet after your recent shocking news. I'll say a prayer for you. Regards, Sandy Herman (addhumorandfaith.wordpress.com)

Ruby said...

Too bad about the bankruptcy :(( Loved this story of Uncle Jim, havent read this one before. Cheers,Ruby