Archive for December, 2012

A Better Year

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

I’m sitting here in my big, manly, comfortable black leather poppa chair in my living room, looking at a new calendar propped up on the shelf over the fireplace with a brand new number where 2012 used to be. The world is still here, and so are we. We didn’t pay much attention to the people who took that Mayan calendar stuff seriously. We sort of pinned a sign on their backs that said, “Gone crazy, be back soon.” But hey, what if they were right. Just think, no income tax this April. Arizona would never become beachfront property because of global warming, and we wouldn’t have to suffer through another avalanche of stupid political commercials in the next election.

But then I started wondering what would we do if we believed the hype, and really figured we had only one more year to live. Would we get holier or hotter ? I think I’d cut loose. How about you ? Drop me an email  to or just add a comment at the bottom of this blog.

I think I’d have as much fun as I could. I’d do silly stuff, like grabbing a handful of condom boxes at the drug store, and slipping them into the shopping carts of everybody who looks up-tight. Then I’d go over to the nearest security camera and look up at it and smile, and do something with my finger that you’re only supposed to do using Kleenex. Then I’d go to the clothing store, run into a fitting room…shut the door…wait a while…then holler, “Hey, there’s no toilet paper in here.”

If I knew we had only one year left, I’d retire, and then spend every last cent we have. The last check I’d write on December 31 would bounce, if there were any place for it to bounce to. I’d put my Lady Wonder Wench into our little plane, and fly low and slow over all of this beautiful country…and suck it all in. We’d stop in Nashville, Memphis, and New Orleans for music. We’d walk together in the quiet of the ancient California forest called Muir Woods…and I’d hold her and kiss her there. We’d make all the love we didn’t make before we met. I’d hug more, and pick up my old tenor sax again and practice Harlem Nocturne till I got it right. I’d find something nice to say to every waitress in every restaurant. I’d go back to Coney Island in Brooklyn and swim in the surf at bay 22 where I was a lifeguard so long ago. I’d spend every night of the full moon lying on my back watching it sail all the way across the sky.

You know what ? I just realized that’s exactly what I was thinking this time last year. And when I think about it, I realize that I only had one year left to go swimming at Coney Island. Sandy ripped bay 22 off the coast. If I had only known last year at this time…that I only had one last precious year.

Dick’s Details Quiz. All answers are in the current podcast.

1- What should Louie Louie lads do when we meet a pretty girl ?

2- How many men do many New York women kiss on New Year’s Eve ?

3- Why are there more of us than there are ancient Teutonics ?

Dick’s details. They take your mind off your mind.

Most of us are not going to miss 2012. The world did come to an end for a bunch of kids and their teachers, and for lots of folks in the middle east, including way too many Americans, and Hurricane Sandy smashed lives a lot of different ways in my home town. We’re still trying to come to grips with that. My Lady and I were at our favorite diner the other day, and a waitress we’ve known for years came over to take our order. Bridget is her name. A lovely lass from the auld sod. She’s usually bright and happy, but she looked awful. I said, “What’s the matter.” She said, “The kids in Connecticut. I can’t get it off my mind. It’s making me sick.”

She’s right. When you let terrible things like that keep spinning in your head, it can make you sick. My book is called, Staying Happy, Healthy And Hot. Because sad makes you sick and happy makes you healthy. And healthy makes you hot. And I guess this is a plug for the book, but I honestly think it’s something we need to keep in mind when terrible things like that happen. You can’t drive images like the ones from Connecticut out of your head. It’s like the purple elephant syndrome. If I say close your eyes, and don’t see a purple elephant, as soon as you close your eyes, you’ll be trampled by herds of purple elephants. So what do you do to get those awful pictures that are making you sick out of your head ? You start remembering other pictures of things that made you happy. They don’t have to be big things. Collect a lot of pebbles, and after a while you have a mountain. I mentioned the Chrysler building in Manhattan in the book. It’s made of bricks. Bricks are what…six inches thick ? A bunch of guys piled six inch bricks up one on top of another till they made a building so high it scrapes the sky. Lots of good things happen in my life. Little things. I woke up this morning kind of early, and the dawn lit my lady’s face on the pillow next to me so gently. A car stopped next to me at a light, and a guy in the back seat was dressed like Santa Claus. He waved out the window, and said ho, ho, ho. An old song called Lollipops and Roses came up on the radio a little while ago. One of my favorite songs. Lollypops are just little candies, and roses cost about a buck a piece. But they can turn a relationship into a romance.

Look. This works. When something terrible happens…like that Connecticut shooting…don’t run away from it. Understand it. And let yourself feel humanly terrible for a while. But then take control of how you’re feeling. Enough is enough. Don’t let sad things keep churning around in your heart until they make you sick. Just remember some happy things… keep piling happy pictures and the memories you have of the time those pictures were taken into your head. It helps. It really works. They go together. Happy healthy and hot. Sometimes it’s just a collection of little good things. Things that just take you a minute.

My Lady Wonder Wench gave me a minute, a long time ago. And it turned into a lifetime. There’s a story about that in the Bedtime Stories Personal Audio CD and in the current podcast. If you like it you can just keep the podcast. Or if you want a fresh copy, just go back to  and download it from the Bedtime Stories icon on the home page.

I didn’t know that last year was my final chance to go swimming at Coney Island’s Bay 22. So what would you do if the world had only one year left. Drop me a note. Dick at dick summer dot com. What would you do in the last year you had left to make this your happiest new year ever.

Lady Wonder Wench Writes the best Christmas letter I’ve ever had.

Saturday, December 22nd, 2012

In order to fully understand my Lady’s note, please go to Merry Christmas. Dick

The Louie Louie Lad remembers well … but I remember a Christmas when we were living in separate cities and I had a flat tire … and HE came to change it for me.

I remember a Christmas when I didn’t even have a tree or any ornaments or anything to remind me of the fact that I was alone … oh, not entirely ‘cause my parents were not so far away.  But HE was … and I didn’t want to care.  But HE came and brought me a little tree – and a great deal of Christmas.

I remember the year we went to an old unused firing range and cut down our own tree and dragged it home.

And I remember the year in Newark after Christmas when at 3 a.m. we went outside with our tree (me with matches in my pocket) and down to a little park so we could do an old Brooklyn tradition and set that tree on fire.  We did, of course, and then ran like hell so no one would catch us.

And I remember the year we pulled up the gates and spent the holiday by ourselves, just us … and as Dean Martin says, we had “our love to keep us warm.”

I remember the year our first grandchild was born … and his dad and mine spent hours in our kitchen putting together a rocking chair and a hobby horse for her.  They were like two little kids, having a ball …

But most of all, I remember … my Louie Louie Lad … and the snow melting on the cuff of a white coat on Boston Common as he asked me to marry him …

Christmas Dickie-Quickie

Friday, December 21st, 2012


Just a few days left to get your Christmas stories in. I’d love to hear from you. Just send them to:  Here’s one from Proud Podcast Participant Audrey.

Hi Dick,

The song “The Carol of the Bells” will always be the most important Christmas song to me. I remember my sister brought her 5 year old sister (me) with her to high school choir practice (Medford, MA High School) one evening in the mid 50’s. They were practicing that song. I sang alto with my sister. I felt very important. Some of the other members of the choir gave me some nice compliments and said they couldn’t believe someone as young as I could sing such a difficult piece. WOW! To this day, it’s not the Christmas season unless I hear “Carol of the Bells” at least once a day. My sister always brought me down to Boston to see all the lights, especially the ones on Boston Common. It was such a special time for me.

The next one, we were still living in Medford, MA and I was about 6 years old. When I came downstairs in the morning, there beside the tree was a cream-colored electric keyboard that looked like a miniature organ with a big red bow on it. I learned many piano pieces on that keyboard and to this day, I still think about what the songs sounded like when I played them on that instrument.

I remember the year that “The Little Drummer Boy” came out. I brought the record in to school and the teacher played it. A few of my friends and I stood in front of our class during our little presentation and sang the song, at the teacher’s request. I felt so important!

Many years later I ordered a set of record albums from Reader’s Digest….. Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Christmas concert albums. I had the first stereo record player I had bought. I put those albums on starting the day I received them, and played them every day throughout the entire month of December. I did that every year until about 12 years ago when circumstances prevented me from doing so.  Last year I pulled the albums out, only to find that my “trusty” turntable had quit working. I guess it’s going to be a while before I can hear them again —– not until I get a replacement turntable. I’m glad I have a good stack of CD’s and tapes, but nothing replaces that Boston Pops set.

My daughter was born just before Christmas 1975. The hospital was all decorated, and one day a small group of nuns came through and sang carols. My daughter celebrated her first Christmas at the age of 6 days, so tiny and new. That was a feeling that only a new mother can describe. I think of holding that tiny, sweet baby every Christmas eve.

Several years ago, shortly after I moved to a new state, I met a woman named Midge. She was like another mother to me. She wanted me to learn a certain song because her son used to sing it for her. He had passed away but the song always brought good memories to her. She gave me a CD of the song so I could learn it. I got to sing it for her exactly twice before she suddenly passed away. A few years ago, the choir director of our local Choral Society asked me to sing a solo at the Christmas concert. (The concert theme was “A Mary Christmas”). There was no doubt in my mind what to sing.  I enlisted the aid of a friend to play the guitar and I sang “Mary, Did you Know?”  While I was singing, not another sound was heard in the church auditorium. It was such a moving experience, one I’ll never forget.

Christmas has always been a special occasion to me. Besides the original meaning, it has given me the chance to buy or make gifts and cards for everyone who was special to me. As the years go by, that list has grown longer and longer. I tend to spread the gifts out during the year because birthdays are also very special to me. I now have 5 wonderful grandchildren and though they live almost 2,800 miles away, I make it a point to send them gifts – usually home-made or recycled —- at Christmas and their birthdays, and other special occasions. At this point in my life, I don’t want to receive any gifts. The things I want I can do without, and the things I need are too expensive for anyone I know to get. I share my singing with lots of different people for many diverse occasions. I always thank The Ultimate Gift-Giver for that talent that was bestowed upon me. I’m not so arrogant and self-centered any more so I can be more sincere and natural when I entertain. I enjoy other people singing and making music as well, but it’s still not Christmas unless I hear “Carol of the Bells” at least once a day.

Thank you, Dick, for sharing my love of music, for its impact on our lives.

Merry Christmas, Fröelich Weinachten, Göd Jul, Mele Kelikimaka, Kuri sumasu,
Buona Natale, Joyeux Noël, Felíz Navidad

—  Many Waters —

Christmas Dickie-Quickie

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Still a few days to get your Christmas story in for this year. The address is

Proud PodCast Participant Steve Green wrote a beautiful note that said in part: “My late mom came from a large family. By the time they had made their way from Poland to Boston, where a street (Greenwood Avenue) was named for my grandfather who built homes in the area…there were six sisters and a brother. My Aunt Fran had a ladies undergarment store….She specialized in undergarments for women who had undergone mastectomies. (She) always invited me to sleep over on Thanksgiving, so I could go to work with her on Friday to be the first kid in the family to see all the decorations in downtown….Year after year I would get to spend that weekend with my Aunt on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Many times there was snow. And what’s now known as “Downtown Crossing” was lit with the beautiful sights and sounds of Christmas. My other Jewish friends were often confused how I could enjoy this aspect of the holiday season. And even at the tender age of 12, I explained that I wasn’t celebrating Christmas, I was enjoying the candelabrum used…a menorah has 7 branches and was used in the Tabernacle in the wilderness and in Solomon’s and Herod’s Temples. But I had a great heads up on all the latest toys and games that were out, thanks to my special Friday in Downtown Boston. What a wonderful time it was. And oh, how I wish I could do it again.”

Christmas Dickie-Quickies

Monday, December 17th, 2012

A couple of real keepers here…your letters about Christmas. Please send yours to


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 Holidays 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.

This is from Pastor Rob Reid: The brand new pastor and his wife, newly assigned to their first ministry, to reopen a church in suburban Brooklyn , arrived in early October excited about their opportunities. When they saw their church, it was very run down and needed much work. They set a goal to have everything done in time to have their first service on Christmas Eve.
They worked hard, repairing pews, plastering walls, painting, etc, and on December 18 were ahead of schedule and just about finished.
On December 19 a terrible tempest – a driving rainstorm hit the area and lasted for two days.

On the 21st, the pastor went over to the church. His heart sank when he saw that the roof had leaked, causing a large area of plaster about
20 feet by 8 feet to fall off the front wall of the sanctuary just behind the pulpit, beginning about head high.

The pastor cleaned up the mess on the floor, and not knowing what else to do but postpone the Christmas Eve service, headed home. On the way he noticed that a local business was having a flea market type sale for charity, so he stopped in. One of the items was a beautiful, handmade, ivory colored, crocheted tablecloth with exquisite work, fine colors and a Cross embroidered right in the center. It was just the right size to cover the hole in the front
wall. He bought it and headed back to the church.
B y this time it had started to snow. An older woman running from the opposite direction was trying to catch the bus. She missed it. The pastor
invited her to wait in the warm church for the next bus 45 minutes later.

She sat in a pew and paid no attention to the pastor while he got a ladder, hangers, etc., to put up the tablecloth as a wall tapestry. The pastor could hardly believe how beautiful it looked and it covered up the entire problem area.
Then he noticed the woman walking down the center aisle. Her face was like a sheet. “Pastor,”she asked, “where did you get that tablecloth?” The pastor explained. The woman asked him to check the lower right corner to see if the initials, EBG were crocheted into it there. They were. These were the initials of the woman, and she had made this tablecloth 35 years before, in Austria.
The woman could hardly believe it as the pastor told how he had just gotten “The Tablecloth”. The woman explained that before the war she and her husband were well-to-do people in Austria .

When the Nazis came, she was forced to leave. Her husband was going to follow her the next week. He was captured, sent to prison and she never saw her husband or her home again.
The pastor wanted to give her the tablecloth; but she made the pastor keep it for the church. The pastor insisted on driving her home. That was the least he could do. She lived on the other side of Staten Island and was only in Brooklyn for the day for a housecleaning job.
What a wonderful service they had on Christmas Eve. The church was almost full. The music and the spirit were great. At the end of the service, the
pastor and his wife greeted everyone at the door and many said that they would return.

One older man, whom the pastor recognized from the neighborhood continued to sit in one of the pews and stare, and the pastor wondered why he wasn’t leaving.
The man asked him where he got the tablecloth on the front wall because it was identical to one that his wife had made years ago when they lived in Austria before the war and how could there be two tablecloths so much alike?
He told the pastor how the Nazis came, how he forced his wife to flee for her safety and he was supposed to follow her, but he was arrested and put in a prison. He never saw his wife or his home again all the 35 years between.
The pastor asked him if he would allow him to take him for a little ride. They drove to Staten Island and to the same house where the pastor had taken the woman three days earlier.
He helped the man climb the three flights of stairs to the woman’s apartment, knocked on the door and he saw the greatest Christmas
reunion he could ever imagine.
True Story – submitted by Pastor Rob Reid

Lady Wonder Wench Writes

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

This note from my Lady Wonder Wench is about the amazing Christmas Eve at Boston Common that was the subject of the December 8th blog. (See below)  It was a long time ago. But the first Christmas was a long time ago. Some of the decorations on our tree are from a long time ago too. And some of the best memories. And some of the best music. And come to think of it…some of us are from a long time ago too. The Summer sunshine of our lives has turned to Autumn gold. That change costs us. Physically, and emotionally. It’s sometimes hard to remember how precious that Autumn gold can be. Christmas is a good time to spend it… together.

There has never been another Christmas Eve to match that one on Boston Common …

 Well, except for the one my Louie Louie Lad and I shared together ALONE on Long Island almost as long ago …

 Or the one we will share with family this Christmas Eve …

Please send your Christmas memories to, then watch for them here between now and Christmas. Thanks.

Christmas Dickie-Quickie

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

This is one of the best comments I’ve ever seen. It’s from Proud Podcast Participant Bill Neftleberg


Letter from Jesus about Christmas

It has come to my attention that many of you are upset that folks
are taking My name out of the season. Maybe you’ve forgotten that I
wasn’t actually born during this time of the year and that it was some
of your predecessors who decided to celebrate My birthday on what was
actually a time of a pagan festival. Although I do appreciate being
remembered anytime.

How I personally feel about this celebration can probably be most
easily understood by those of you who have been blessed with children
of your own. I don’t care what you call the day. If you want to
celebrate My birth, just GET ALONG AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

Now, having said that let Me go on. If it bothers you that the town
in which you live doesn’t allow a scene depicting My birth, then just
get rid of a couple of Santas and snowmen and put in a small Nativity
scene on your own front lawn. If all My followers did that there
wouldn’t be any need for such a scene on the town square because there
would be many of them all around town.

Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a
holiday tree, instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made all
trees. You can remember Me anytime you see any tree. Decorate a grape
vine if you wish: I actually spoke of that one in a teaching,
explaining who I am in relation to you and what each of our tasks
were. If you have forgotten that one, look up John 15: 1 – 8.

If you want to give Me a present in remembrance of My birth here is
my wish list. Choose something from it:

1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way My
birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to
soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and lonely this time
of year. I know, they tell Me all the time.

2. Visit someone in a nursing home. You don’t have to know them
personally. They just need to know that someone cares about them.

3. Instead of writing President complaining about the
wording on the cards his staff sent out this year, why don’t you write
and tell him that you’ll be praying for him and his family this year.
Then follow up. It will be nice hearing from you again.

4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can’t afford
and they don’t need, spend time with them. Tell them the story of My
birth, and why I came to live with you down here. Hold them in your
arms and remind them that I love them.

5. Pick someone that has hurt you in the past and forgive him or her.

6. Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their
own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless? Since
you don’t know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm
smile; it could make the difference.

7. Instead of nit picking about what the retailer in your town calls
the holiday, be patient with the people who work there. Give them a
warm smile and a kind word. Even if they aren’t allowed to wish you a
“Merry Christmas” that doesn’t keep you from wishing them one. Then
stop shopping there on Sabbath. If the store didn’t make so much money
on that day they’d close and let their employees spend the day at home
with their families

8. If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary–
especially one who takes My love and Good News to those who have never
heard My name.

9. There are individuals and whole families in
your town who not only will have no “Christmas” tree, but neither will
they have any presents to give or receive. If you don’t know them, buy
some food and a few gifts and give them to your church food bank or some
other charity which believes in Me and they will make the delivery for

10. Finally, if you want to make a statement about your belief in
and loyalty to Me, then behave like a Christian. Don’t do things in
secret that you wouldn’t do in My presence. Let people know by your
actions that you are one of mine.

Don’t forget; I am God and can take care of Myself. Just love Me and
do what I have told you to do. I’ll take care of all the rest. Check
out the list above and get to work; time is short. I’ll help you, but
the ball is now in your court. And do have a most blessed Christmas
with all those whom you love and remember : I LOVE YOU,


Far too often we as people let things drive us apart when, the only things that really matter are the things that bring us together. His words are a reminder to us all to cherish the good times, remember those we love and have loved, because we never know when we wont have them any longer

Things that divide hurt us individually more than any illness or natural calamity ever could. Jesus always tried to lift up not tear down. So to all of you my friends I too say I LOVE YOU’


I’ll Never Forget It

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

I’m sitting here in my big, manly, comfortable black leather poppa chair in my living room, with visions of sugar plums dancing around in my head. Santa Claus came a little early this year in the form of lots of new Christmas stories from you, and a terrific review from Kirkus Review for my new book, Staying Happy, Healthy and Hot. Lots of your Christmas stories will be going up right here on this blog. And as far as Staying Happy, Healthy and Hot is concerned, Kirkus is the big, bad, bully of the book world. If they smack a book, it’s usually a knock out punch. But they liked it So we’re off to a good start.

I’m really charged up about “Staying Happy, Healthy and Hot.” It’s about taking advantage of your “been there done that” wisdom, instead of just thinking of it as excess baggage that’s sucking your energy, and dragging your life down. That’s what a buddy of mine was doing. He was letting his physical and emotional aches and pains change him from a motorcycle riding, second base softball playing, sexy guy into just a chunk of luke warm meat. He was sliding over to the dork side, and I wanted to help him stop the slide.

So I invented the Louie Louie Generation, and I tormented him into becoming a member. I call it the Louie Louie generation because Louie Louie is a song full of energy, good memories and high hopes. It’s beginning to work for my friend. Remember, happiness is a hypnosis that turns you into almost anything you want to be.

Staying Happy, Healthy and Hot isn’t some expert advice about how you should change your life. It’s a collection of 54 true stories about my life that got the best response when they appeared here on these blogs. I like watching for something wonderful to happen…and it usually does for me. Not always, but usually. Staying Happy, Healthy and Hot isn’t about looking at life through rose colored glasses. These are bi-focals I’m wearing these days. But they still get pretty steamed up about some things, good and bad. And sometimes they get a little teared up, because there’s lots of time going by, and I know I’m watching the Summer sunshine of our lives turn into Autumn gold. 

You and I both know that my buddy has lots of company. You’ve seen plenty of people like that. Folks who give up life’s goodies because they don’t have the fancy abs or perky breasts you see on the TV beer commercials any more. They are the, “Drab and dreary drones.” They should know better, because they’ve been around. But now they just keep going around, and around, and around. They slouch through life drenched in TV, slogging through soggy relationships, and settling for dimmed down dreams.

Louie Louie Lads and Ladies aren’t going to let that happen. We figure getting old is just an old fashioned idea. Let the Drab and Dreary Drones act like Senior Citizens. We’re more like Classy Classics. We make it a point to remember that you can never tell when something wonderful is going to happen to you. We take time to look up at the sky to enjoy a great sunset, not just to check on whether a safe is about to fall on our heads. That doesn’t mean we look up at the sky so much that we walk into lamp posts. We know where we’re going, and we know how to get there. And the “something wonderful” doesn’t have to be winning the lottery. It can mean getting nothing but green lights on the way to work, or hanging around into the early hours of the morning with some friends…sharing some memories…some dreams…and enough bad jokes to keep us laughing so hard we start to cry…which makes us laugh again…or watching a face you love smiling on the pillow right next to you in the first light of dawn.

Every generation has a leader. Ours is Big Louie, his own bad self. Big Louie is the guy who always says stuff. Like, “If you have any moving parts left, for cryin’ out loud move ‘em” That’s a line the Kirkus people liked a lot.

Louie Louie folks are mostly invisible to the Pimple People, because the Pimple People are usually busy texting, driving nails through their tongues or other sensitive places, or looking in the mirror to see how kool they look wearing their baseball hats sideways. That’s kool with a “K”. There’s a story in Staying Happy, Healthy and Hot  about why I prefer hot with an “H”.

Dick’s Details Quiz. (All answers are in the current podcast.)

  1. What was President Eisenhower’s real name ?
  2. Why did the ancient Greeks rub half a lemon on their arms ?
  3. What highly personal secret weapon did Lincoln have to get Congress to cooperate ?

Dick’s Details. They take your mind off your mind.

I love Christmas stories. Please send yours to then watch for it right here on the blog.

My friend Len Segal remembers one Christmas Eve when I was on the air in Boston. He says, “You asked listeners to write to you with their personal thoughts about what Christmas means to them. You were struck by how much your listeners opened up their hearts and souls in those letters. And since you were doing the Christmas Eve broadcast from the remote studio on the Common (Boston Common is a park in the middle of Boston), you decided to read the letters outside the studio with the people who had come to see the broadcast. You and I scouted the area for a suitable burn barrel, which we needed because when we went outside with the letters we were going to ask everyone to gather in a circle holding hands as you read the letters one by one…then you were going to throw the letters into the fire. That’s all I remember. By the way, I’m Jewish, but I spent many a Christmas Day with my Christian friends. It’s a spirit of good will that makes Christmas.” Right, Len. And Santa says, “Happy Hanukkah to you.”

Here’s a little more to the story, although I’m not going to swear everything I remember is accurate after all this time. The broadcast was 8 pm to midnight. I planned on reading the letters…and burning them…at around 11:45. I mentioned what I was going to do on the air, and I invited people to “drop in.” By 9 pm there were quite a few folks there. By 10, there were several hundred people there. By 11, there was a traffic jam on Charles Street (the street right by the park.)

Remember, this was a spur of the moment thing. I didn’t have permission from anybody, including the radio station or the police department to do it. By 11:30, it looked like we had at least a thousand people standing around the broadcast trailer, and the cops had sent extra troops out trying to untangle the traffic. I figured I was in TROUBLE. But one of the cops came over, saw what was going on, smiled, and just wished me a Merry Christmas.

Then some of the musicians from the Unicorn Coffee House showed up. As I recall, Tom Rush was there, and I think Jose Feliciano, Jaime Brockett, and Mitch Kertzman. At 11:45, I went outside and started reading the letters, and burning them as I went. I consider burning them to be a sign of respect. As if on cue, it started to snow….softly. And just before midnight…a little off key…we all sang Silent Night.

If you’ve ever heard 1,000 people singing Silent Night…standing close enough together to keep warm…by a Christmas Eve bonfire in the snow, you will never forget it. If you were there, thank you. It was a long, long time ago. But I will never forget it. Never.



Christmas Dickie-Quickie

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Looking for your favorite Christmas stories. Please dig into your memory bank, and deposit one of yours at It’s a special season, and I’d love to hear from you.

Proud Podcast Participant Pastor Mike, puts it as well as anything can be put. He says, ” I think the problem religious people and secular folks have over Christmas is that they don’t realize there are really 2 different celebrations going on at the same time. There is the celebration of the birth of Jesus, and the joys and miracles of that wondrous night. But over the years, the story became ritualized, and made solemn; and it became a believe it or else scenario. The wonder, the joy, the significance of the gift we’d been given were lost. And people missed that. So they found other ways of expressing the joy the ritual had taken away in Christmas trees, and Santa, and Rudolph, and Frosty…and most of all in the giving of gifts, to honor the Greatest Gift. Religious people of course hated this. “They’re not real” they said. No, they’re not. But the truths they represent are. The generosity of Santa. The loyalty and courage of Rudolph. The magic and happiness of Frosty…those things are real. And we should bless them.”

Pastor Mike is my kind of Pastor.

Christmas Dickie Quickie

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Looking for some real stories of Christmas. Here’s one from my friend Paul Berge, who wrote the Forward on my new book, Staying Happy, Healthy and Hot:

“You have to “Grow Up” to get it.”

“You have to “Grow Up” to get it.”No wonder I still don’t get it, Dick. I refuse to grow up. I still want a BB gun at Christmas and even if I do shoot my eye out, at least I got the BB gun.

“You have to “Grow Up” to get it.”And real Lionel trains under the tree…  

You have to “Grow Up” to get it.”And screw WDM, I still have faith that we’ll eventually find Xray glasses that really work…. And realize that Bosco is far superior to CocoMarsh…

And the ’59 Chevy was the best car ever… And Sandy Becker would’ve made a better Pope than that German guy…

And Yoohoo in bottles… And Three Musketeers bars for a nickel… And nickels… And singing harmony on a warm summer evening out on the stoop… And nuthin’ to do… And no guilt about doin’ it.

Merry All them holidays. –Paul