Dick Summer Connection

December 12th, 2017

Lots of your Christmas stories coming in. (Please send yours to Dick@DickSummer.com) And check out what this is all about at DickSummer.com/podcast Here’s an especially important one from Proud Podcast Participant Bob Conklin.

Hi Dick

I am going to attempt to put this set of memories to paper. It is not a single story per say but rather a collection of what I remember. I say attempt because I suffer from that affliction that I suspect most of us Louie Louie generation men suffer from, the one that tends to cause excessive moisture to collect over the lens of your eye blocking the ability to see the text clearly. Here goes:

My dad was a firefighter for the City of White Plains, NY where I was born and raised. Being in that job meant that there was more then a good chance he would have to work on Christmas as well as my birthday, New Years day and any other holiday you care to mention. As an aside his birthday was December 24th so that meant he generally had to work his birthday too. Dad made sure the 3 kids and mom, my older brother and sister then later on my baby sister who never made it to her first birthday, always would go to Christmas Eve services. Our church held a true midnight service, where the Christmas story was told and at the stroke of midnight Silent Night was sung with the pipe organ quietly playing along. We held candles and sang our hearts out. Our church used real candles on the alter and in the pews. As I grew older I remember that the city told our church that in order to keep using real candles they would have to have a Firefighter in church to monitor the service. I can still see my dad working his magic to arrange his shift to make sure he was at church for the service before heading back to the station so finish out his shift. Dad never let on that it was he who would request that assignment because for as long as I can remember he was the dispatcher and that was a job that not all firefighters could do. Looking back now that he is gone, I am saddened that I never said thank you to him for doing what he could do to be near us even though he was working to serve our city. (There it is that affliction I mentioned earlier) On the rare times that he did not have to work, he would still wear his dress uniform and take us all in the old Chevy to church and secretly smile to the firefighter that was on duty while dad would hold my hand.

Damn its hard to type through the tears that always come.

Merry Christmas Dick!

Dick Summer Connection

December 11th, 2017

Looking for your Christmas stories for use here and in the podcasts. Our resident funny “Church Lady” is Ms. Many Waters. She is a proud pod person of the nth degree. She sent this to dick@dicksummer.com. It’s not strictly a Christmas story, but your fruitcake will come squirting out of your nose by the end of it.

The sermon this morning: ‘Jesus Walks on the Water.’ The sermon tonight: ‘Searching for Jesus.’
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Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.
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Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community. Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say ‘Hell’ to someone who doesn’t care much about you.
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Don’t let worry kill you off – let the Church help.
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Miss Charlene Mason sang ‘I will not pass this way again,’ giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.
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For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
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Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.
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Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.
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A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.
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At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be ‘What Is Hell?’ Come early and listen to our choir practice.
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Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.
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Scouts are saving aluminium cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.
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Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered.
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The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility.
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Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM – prayer and medication to follow.
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The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.
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This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church.

Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.
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Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10 AM . All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B.S. is done. ————————–
The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the Congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.
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Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door.
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The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
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Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.
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The Associate Minister unveiled the church’s new campaign slogan last Sunday: ‘I Upped My Pledge – Up Yours.

Dick Summer Connection

December 10th, 2017
Please send your Christmas thoughts for this blog, and the podcasts to Dick@DickSummer.com . Here’s one from Inger Battiato that just came in:

I can’t remember the last time I was with my Children around the Christmas Tree… I miss that very much… And now… it would be wonder- ful to spend time with my grandchildren around the tree! My story is that 1st Christmas in 1966 that I spent with my Children’s Father… Week’s before… I asked my mother what she would like me to buy for her? … She told me she so desparately wanted a new Rocking Chair… It definitely was time… I remember she wore it out… after all, that’s where she spent most of her time… morning, noon and night… that’s where you could find her… I asked when I could drive her to wherever she chose for me to purchase it… I knew it had to fit into my busy schedule… I did work 2 jobs at the time and told her I wanted her to have it by Christmas morning… that’s when she proceeded to explain to me her wonderful idea… she claimed it wasn’t important for her to have it on Christmas morning… Always being the bargain hunter… she felt it necessary to tell me that if I waited until after Christmas… I would get a cost discount… she explained to me that Fortunoffs on Penn- sylvania in Brooklyn had already mailed out “After Christmas Sales” that were a trememdous saving… she asked me how much I would be willing to pay for her rocking chair (and since this was going to be my very 1st purchase of said item) my response to her was “… I couldn’t say, but naturally I would pay whatever it took…”! … she thereupon in- formed me she was prepared to enjoy an expensive one and I should be grateful for paying a discount… I explained to her that if she was unable to open a Christmas Present from me (like all the rest of the Family)… I would feel extremely uncom- fortable… she told me not to worry because that was her decision… Christmas Morning arrived… All the other membèrs of my Family (my Father, two sisters, brother, niece and nephew… my brother-in-law was not to be found… he had already deserted my sister and their children)… my mother, in a very loud voice… in front of everyone… demanded to know where her gift from me was… I reminded her of her special request… that was the last words spoken between my mother and myself for the remainder of the Christmas Day in 1966… I spent a good portion of my day in my paja- mas crying in my room… to make things worse… Louie told me that because he had to work on Christmas Day… He would not be able to see me (It wasn’t until many yr’s. later, I found out He lied… He had to spend most of that day with His parents… and the wife and daughter He had… which I had no idea He had… He never even mentioned their existence… I guess since He had already left them and moved back home wifh His parents… He didn’t feel the necessity to inform me until the day I moved out of my parent’s apartment)… when I received a phone call from Him telling me He completed His work earlier than expected… and was hoping I didn’t mind seeing Him momentarily on such short notice… Naturally since I felt this wonderful man had no idea I was more than thrilled to get out… I didn’t care what time it was… He just saved the day… it was like a gift that He just freed the slaves… Well He came and picked me up in no time (by the way… He brought me a Beautiful Christmas Gift and He loved the one I gave Him)… He asked if I wanted to go anywhere in particular and I told Him it didn’t really matter… as long as it was far away from my mother so He drove to Sheepshead Bay and as soon as we arrived the snow had begun to fall as we walked along the Dock… it was too Beautiful to ever for- get… and I probably never will!

 

Dick Summer Connection

December 9th, 2017

Please send your Christmas thoughts for this blog and the podcasts to Dick@DickSummer.com. Here’s one that came in last year that will ring a sleigh bell for a lot of us. it’s from John Gfroerer. He calls it, “THE GIFT”

It is a funny thing how Christmas gifts work.  Most shine bright for a bit, but eventually begin to fade, and even lose their attachment to the Holiday from which they came.  But I have one that still holds on.  It takes me back more years than I remember.  I was young when I got it, I know that, maybe twelve or thirteen.  It was the time in my life when I wanted to drive fast cars.  I had a little shop down in the basement, John’s Speed Shop was the name over the door.  I was a subscriber to Hot Rod Magazine, and the time when I would be able to drive a car seemed centuries away.  My parents were not interested in these dreams of mine.  I don’t know what they had in mind for me, but auto mechanics and fast cars was not on their list.  But my oldest brother saw things from a different window.  So it was that one year for Christmas he gave me a 15 piece 1/4” socket set.  It was small, compact in its bright red metal case, and all the pieces were shiny chrome plated.  There were ten sockets, a ratchet, two extenders, a flex piece, and a straight driver with a yellow plastic handle, like a screw driver.  At that moment in time this set was beyond even being considered for my Christmas list. Now my oldest brother and I live miles apart.  We haven’t seen each other on Christmas in maybe forty years.  And I couldn’t say when the last time we exchanged gifts. Let’s just say it has been a while.  As brothers go, we are not particularly close.  His politics appall me, maybe even more than mine appall him.  We don’t have a lot in common except some DNA, a set of parents and siblings, and over sixty years of being in each others lives. But that socket set is out in my garage. In fact, I used it just a couple weeks ago. The red paint is a little chipped and worn. The case doesn’t close as perfectly as it once did.  One or two of the sockets may be missing. But the ratchet still works and that yellow plastic handle still feels perfect in my hand.  The set is without dispute, the thing I have owned the longest that makes me think of Christmas and brother Pete every time I use it. 

Dick Summer Connection

December 8th, 2017

Please send your Christmas thoughts to Dick@DickSummer.com for this blog and the podcasts. Here’s another one from one of my favorite Proud Podcast People, Carole:     I wanted to share a story about a gentleman who goes by the name of “Jim Rockford”, who was and is a biker. Only now, he spends his time giving back as Santa Claus. Much like the gentleman in your story who helped a dying boy cross over, Jim spends his time visiting Shriner hospitals, regular hospitals, and all kinds of venues where he can bring cheer, joy,and happiness to young and old alike. He lives in Florida, and gets to his gigs on his “sleigh” – a bright red Harley which has been outfitted with LED reindeer horns on the front which light up, LED candy canes and miniature Christmas trees which do the same on the back. He’s also set up a loudspeaker system so he can do his “HO,HO, HO” while on the bike. He spends most of the year preparing for this Season,and he is a most creative fellow. He built a”Santa Chair” big enough for him to sit in and comfortably have a child or two sit on his lap. He’s created cards and “money” which he gives out. One of them says “caught being good”, while another grants wishes. He also has a warm weather outfit to wear. His hair and beard are spectacular. Check him out on Facebook. He shares many photos with his FB friends, and one thing really stood out to me. He had an infant on his lap, and she was looking raptly up at him, with a faint smile on her face. Many times, little ones are terrified of “Santa”. I have always said that you can’t fool children and animals about people – who is really good and who isn’t. I think that was a perfect example. Jim was a rough and tough biker most of his life – but he has mellowed so very much. He was in a bad accident on his bike not so long ago, but he soldiers on – and this is his way of doing good and giving back. I am including a link to that photo and I hope it comes through.

https://scontent.fhyw1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/24796317_2168116430088491_5953038717032375747_n.jpg?oh=a409bf7f92c1aac4e5f88e45e3cb79bd&oe=5A8F50D0

Dick Summer Connection

December 7th, 2017

Please send your Christmas thoughts to Dick@DickSummer.com for this blog and the podcasts. They don’t have to be profound or funny or complicated. Just real. Here’s a good example from Proud Podcast Person “Betsy.”

Dick Summer Connection

December 6th, 2017

Please send your Christmas stories for this blog and the podcasts to Dick@DickSummer.com This is just in from Proud Podcast Person Jim Seitz: 

This was a simple moment, but a lifelong memory. Long ago, when I was in high school, I attended a Christmas Eve candlelight service. Ushers passed candles down the rows before we sang Silent Night to end the service. An elderly woman stood alone at the end of the row, next to me. She was composed but looked very sad. The usher distributed candles by handing them to the woman, who passed them down our row. As we lit the candles, one from another, I turned to the woman to share the light with her, but she had no candle, the usher having mistakenly moved to the next row before she received hers. As we all began singing Silent Night, she began crying. It was obvious that something terrible had happened to her, almost certainly the loss of someone very dear. I gave her my candle. She stopped crying, began singing, and gave me perhaps the warmest smile I have ever received.

Dick Summer Connection

December 5th, 2017

Please send your Christmas stories for this blog and the podcasts to Dick@DickSummer.com. This one was written by my best friend, Fred…who is a motorcycle guy. 

The Christmas Sandwich

The first major snowfall of the season was expected within the next twelve hours and the temperature would soon be dropping into the single digits. It was getting dark and I had just finished my last in a long line of errands … buying a box of religious cards for Mom.  Even with her failing eyesight, she never misses an occasion and, of course, Christmas is extra special.  My marching orders were clear:  They had to say both Christmas and God or Jesus in the text and must have an angel, the wise men, or the Holy Family pictured on the face. I had met all criteria for the cards but, as luck would have it, not for my lunch; I had missed that altogether.  No wonder my stomach was snarling at me in some foreign tongue! Fortunately, right next to the card store was one of those cookie-cutter submarine sandwich shops … you know, the one where the guy on TV ate nothing but subs for six months and became an individual instead of a group? It was either that or the Italian sausage place with grease-frosted plate glass windows; I opted for cold cuts.  There were only a few customers scattered about the shop and a rather purposeful-looking Black gentleman standing a few feet back from the counter, carefully considering the menu just above the pictures of tomatoes, cucumbers and bread on the wall.  He was probably in his fifties, wore a well-chewed mustache, navy knit cap and a respectably soiled brown winter jacket. I excused myself as I crossed in front of him but he never broke his concentration.  “Turkey, Black Forest Ham and Swiss on Italian,” I told the sandwich wench.  The bread was probably a holdover from my fleeting thoughts of the sausage place.  She added some ‘fixin’s’, chips and soda … then asked if I wanted anything else.  She had to ask twice because by now, I was as focused upon the man memorizing the menu, as he was upon his sandwich selection.  It didn’t look like this was an everyday thing for him. A few minutes after I sat down, he finally made his choice, smiled quietly and settled-in two booths in front of me.  After taking a few bites, his gaze became riveted upon the television mounted a few feet away.  He was nearly unblinking during the news … but when the weather came on, it seemed to create a conflict between eating and watching the parade of maps and snowfall predictions flashing across the screen. When my distant dining companion was finished, he carefully crumpled and tossed his trash, refilled his cup and produced a previously unseen [by me] shopping cart from behind a half-wall near the soda machine.  It was full, I guessed, of pretty much everything the man owned.  As he reached the door he stopped, turned around, removed his cap and placed it respectfully over his heart.  Speaking through a broad, toothy smile, in a clear voice he said, “I want to wish everyone the Lord’s blessing and a very Merry Christmas.  Thank you.”  With that, he replaced his cap, pressed his cart through the door and was gone. As I headed for the car I could feel the air had grown colder, with that damp chill that bites your bones just before a snowstorm.  Suddenly I noticed a figure wearing a well-chewed mustache, navy knit cap and a respectably soiled brown winter jacket, sifting through the contents of his wire suitcase under a parking lot lamp.  I went over to him and asked, “Do you have somewhere to stay tonight?”  He smiled, the quiet smile this time, and replied, ” I have a good spot all picked out.”  I offered him a couple of ‘Abe Lincolns’ together with my own Christmas wish. Still smiling but this time speaking with a note of pride in his tone he said, “Sir, I’ll accept your kind words and be grateful for them but I never accept money from anyone, unless I’ve worked for it.”  Then, looking at an invisible watch he continued, “And it’s after five o’clock!”  With that he offered a wink, wheeled his cart around and disappeared into the darkness.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Dick Summer Connection

December 4th, 2017

Looking for Christmas stories for this blog and the podcasts. Please send yours to Dick@DickSummer.com Here’s one from “Dave V.”

Dick, early in the relationship, back when we were both freshman college students, back in New Jersey, my First Love’s parents decided, for various reasons, to hate me. Virulently. I was a resident but she lived at home. So, for nearly two years, we saw each other behind their backs. Stole minutes and kisses when we could. Walked the campus between classes, telling each other that it would be different soon, someday. In retrospect it was not the best way we could have handled it, but for whatever reasons, it was what we did. Finally in the fall of 1976, we decided that we could not stand to spend another Holiday apart, so we confronted her parents. Came out of our personal closet. It was angry and difficult and frightening. There was shouting and tears, but that isn’t the Christmas story. We spent that Thanksgiving with my family, but that isn’t the Christmas story either, nor is the fact that before Spring arrived we were done forever. On Christmas Eve in 1976, I drove to her home in Bergen County. The atmosphere in the house was tense and unfriendly, so eventually we went for a long walk. It was cold. It wasn’t snowing but there was a bit of snow on the sidewalks and front yards, clinging to the bare trees. We walked the empty suburban streets of her neighborhood, holding hands, stopping to kiss, delighting in the sensation of merely being together, of feeling free and in love. I remember little else of that long ago night except for the way that the dim, widely-spaced streetlights cast our long shadows on ahead of us, elongated and distorted against the whiteness of the snow. I remember that the headlamps of passing cars made diamonds glint from the piles of plowed snow. I remember how the Christmas lights blinked on porches as we passed, and for just a while, I remember that we were so very happy. 
Happy Holidays to you and yours, Dick! Dave V.

Dick Summer Connection

December 3rd, 2017

Time to send me your Christmas thoughts and memories for this blog and the podcasts, please. Dick@DickSummer.com will get them here. This note is from a very proud Podcast Person by the name of Jim “The Hugger” Doran.

With the Holidays upon us I would like to share a personal experience with my friends about drinking and driving. As you may know some of us have been known to have brushes with the authorities from time to time on the way home after a “social session” out with friends. Well, two days ago I was out for an evening with friends and had several cocktails followed by some rather nice red wine. Feeling jolly I still had the sense to know that I may be slightly over the limit. That’s when I did something that I’ve never done before, I took a cab home. Sure enough on the way home there was a police road block, but since it was a cab they waved it past. I arrived home safely without incident. This was a real surprise as I had never driven a cab before, I don’t know where I got it and now that it’s in my garage I don’t know what to do with it. Happy Holidays! Jim Doran