One of the Christmas notes you sent made me laugh so hard on the current podcast I couldn’t finish it. I literally fell off my big, comfortable, manly, poppa chair. Oh thank you. If you haven’t yet sent your favorite Christmas story, please do. Dick@DickSummer.com
Archive for November, 2014
My Lady Wonder Wench and I had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and we hope you did too. Our daughter Kris brought the newest member of our family, Cecelia, down from their home in Massachusetts for a visit, and our son Eric drove up from Virginia to join us here in Pennsylvania for the turkey and trimmings. Here are a few minutes of the happy stuff. http://youtu.be/JJCS_Wl9tGg Cecelia is five, going on twenty five. Her newest favorite comment (about almost everything she sees) is, “Oh my GOD!” We took her to a helicopter museum at my airport, and she broke up everybody there as she was riding in one of their simulators. I’m going to include her comments about Santa in next week’s podcast. Our house is gradually settling back on its foundation after her visit.
In the current podcast, I’ve been asking you to “Pick A Person” for Christmas this year. It has nothing to do with money, and it has everything to do with how you can enjoy Christmas like maybe never before. Please give it a listen at www.dicksummer.com/podcast There are also some of the Christmas stories you’ve been sending in there. One of the stories on the “Hark” podcast is so funny, I couldn’t finish telling it. It made me laugh so hard that I literally fell out of my big, comfortable, manly, black leather poppa chair in my living room. But there’s enough of it on the podcast so you can understand the story, and I just left the laughs at the end in.
Your Christmas stories are very important to me personally. I save them every year in a very safe place…right next to the box in which I keep the home made star that has been looking down from the top of our Christmas trees since 1972. Here’s another very special note from Proud Podcast Person Betsy:.
“I wanted to tell you what’s going on 2 doors down – a nice young family lives there with 5 kids. The father grew up in Africa with monkeys for friends and very outdoorsy. He and his kids have built a huge double sledding hill in their yard. We haven’t had all that much snow so they’ve been gathering it from other people’s yards. Last night they had a bunch of people over and along with the kids sledding they were giving hayrides. He has Christmas lights projecting up into the air from the flatbed the truck was pulling and it was full of happy people singing carols as they rode down the street. Music was being piped from the house and it was so neat to hear and see all this activity. What Christmas memories those kids are going to have!”
The plan is to post one of your Christmas stories every day on the Dickie-Quickie blog, and tell you some of the others on the podcasts right up till Christmas. There’s a chapter of my own personal Christmas memories in my book Staying Happy Healthy And Hot. (Shameless plug.) The last couple of sentences in the chapter have to do with a special Christmas custom of ours that I hope we’ll be able to observe again this year. It’s possible. We’ll see. I’ll let you know.
Dear Dick, Well here is a Christmas story for you.
I think I was 14 or 15 years old we (my family had already done the Christmas shopping) were a church going family. I was a member of the choir… a soprano. Because many of the choir members were going to be traveling the director asked me if I would sing a solo the Sunday before Christmas. I excitedly said yes.
So with the music in hand I went home and asked my Dad if he would help me practice. My dad played both the piano and the organ (otften at the same time… we had an organ and a piano in the dinning room/livingroom side by side). My Dad took his music very seriously but I loved to hear him play and I would often lend my voice to whatever he was playing. We practiced together after dinner for at least two hours or until dad thought that it was good enough. I also practiced when the choir practiced at church.
I usually never got nervous when I sang in front of people but when the Sunday rolled around I had huge butterflies in my stomach. I received a wonderful piece of advice from a cherished family member( my godfather) he told me don’t look any familiar faces just look straight out into the church. I told him that I thought that was a great piece of advice but that I was afraid of heights and I would be in the loft at the front of the church. My choir director said that if youlook straight out and not down I would be okay.
Well you know as I stood in the loft I looked straight out and in the middle of the church pews was a row of every relative I knew. However instead of making me nervous I was really calm. I saw my godfather make a gesture with his finger raising up his chin. The Song I sang was “O Holy Night” I was only concerned at that time of making my notes.
I was shaking so bad that I thought my voice would crack. I took a deep breath and I could not hear a note but everyone else did. After the service was over at the reception, a person that I don’t even know came up to me and thanked me for giving her a Christmas gift that she thought that she would never get again. Apparently she was going deaf and all that she wanted was to hear her favorite Christmas Carol again. I told her (my uncle heard me say it) that I was given a a gift and I was glad that I could pass it on and make someone’s holiday a special one.
It made me realize many years later and even to this day that if you are graced with a gift that you need to share it and never take it for granted. You may not think that anyone is listening but if you see one person smile that you have made a difference.
I’m collecting Christmas stories again this year. Would love to add yours to our collection. My Email is firstname.lastname@example.org Here’s one of mine:
The most popular Christmas song of all time is so beautiful, that for a long time lots of experts thought it must have been written by Beethoven. But they were wrong. Other experts said, “No it was Brahms.” Some said “Mozart…of course it was Mozart.” Wrong again Fruitcake Breath. Christmas’s biggest hit was written on Christmas Eve 1816, in Oberndorf, Austria. Father Joseph Mohr wrote a poem that he wanted set to music for midnight mass. The church organist, Franz Gruber, said, “Ok.” He did a very simple arrangement, because the church organ wasn’t working, and the song would have only a single guitar for accompaniment. Franz and Josef sang the song together that night. Can you imagine…you write only one song in your life…and it’s “Silent Night.”
Happy Thanksgiving. Please remember to “Pick A Person” this Christmas. It’s in the podcast. No money, just a smile and maybe a Tootsie Roll. Also collecting your Christmas stories. My Email is email@example.com Here’s one from Proud Podcast Person Ralph Bertolucci:
Ralph wrote: “I do not remember at what age I stopped believing in Santa Claus. I do recall a conversation with a older cousin at age 11. “Do you still believe in Santa” he asked. “No”. From the next room came my dad, “you never told me you didn’t believe in Santa!” I told Dad my reason for not telling him, “it would cut down on my gifts as I got gifts from Mom, Dad, Uncle Cheapo, Aunt Buxom, AND a gift from Santa Claus.”
Looking for your Christmas memories both here and on the podcast. My Email is firstname.lastname@example.org Also, please check the podcast for our Christmas Pick A Person campaign. No money. But it will put some happy in your ho ho ho. Here’s one of the funniest Christmas memories you ever sent me.
An Italian Christmas
I thought it would be a nice idea to bring a date to my parents’ house on Christmas Eve.
I thought it would be interesting for a non-Italian girl to see how an Italian family spends the holidays. I thought my mother and my date would hit it off like partridges and pear trees.
So, I was wrong. Sue me.
I had only known Karen for three weeks when I extended the invitation.
“I know these family things can be a little weird,” I told her, “but my folks
are great, and we always have a lot of fun on Christmas Eve.”
“Sounds fine to me,” Karen said.
I had only known my mother for 31 years when I told her I’d be bringing Karen with me.
“She’s a very nice girl and she’s really looking forward to meeting all of you.”
“Sounds fine to me,” my mother said.
And that was that.
Two telephone calls.
What more could I want?
I should point out, I suppose, that in Italian households, Christmas Eve is the social event of the season — an Italian woman’s reason d’etre.
She cleans. She cooks. She bakes. She orchestrates every minute of the night.
I should also point out that when it comes to the kind of women that make Italian men go nuts, Karen is it.
She doesn’t clean.
She doesn’t cook.
She doesn’t bake.
And she has the largest breasts I have ever seen on a human being.
I brought her anyway.
Karen and I walk in and putter around for half an hour waiting for the other guests to show up. During that half hour, my mother grills Karen like a cheeseburger and cannily determines that Karen does not clean, cook, or bake. My father is equally observant. He pulls me into the living room and notes, “She has the largest breasts I have ever seen on a human being.”
7:30 p.m. –
Others arrive. Uncle Ziti walks in with my Aunt Mafalde, assorted kids, assorted gifts.
We sit around the dining room table for antipasto, a symmetrically composed platter of lettuce, roasted peppers, black olives, salami, prosciutto, provolone, and anchovies.
When I offer to make Karen’s plate she says, “Thank you. But none of those things, okay?”
She points to the anchovies. “You don’t like anchovies?” I ask. “I don’t like fish,” Karen announces, as 67 other varieties are baking, broiling and simmering in the next room.
My mother makes the sign of the cross and things are getting uncomfortable.
Aunt Mafalde asks Karen what her family eats on Christmas Eve.
Karen says, “Knockwurst.”
My father, who is still staring in a daze, at Karen’s chest,
temporarily snaps out of it to murmur, “Knockers?”
My mother kicks him so hard he gets a blood clot.
None of this is turning out the way I’d hoped.
8:00 p.m. –
The spaghetti and crab sauce is on the way to the table. Karen declines the crab sauce and says she’ll make her own with butter and ketchup. My mother asks me to join her in the kitchen. I take
My “Merry Christmas” napkin from my lap, place it on the “Merry Christmas” tablecloth and walk into the kitchen. “I don’t want to start any trouble,” my mother says calmly, clutching a bottle of ketchup in her hands. “But if she pours this on my pasta, I’m going to throw acid in her face.” “Come on,” I tell her. “It’s Christmas. Let her eat what she wants.”
My mother considers the situation, and then nods.
As I turn to walk back into the dining room, she grabs my shoulder. “Tell me the truth,” she says, “are you serious with this tramp?”
“She’s not a tramp,” I reply. “And I’ve only known her for three weeks.”
“Well, it’s your life”, she tells me, “but if you marry her, she’ll poison you.”
8:30 p.m. –
My stomach is knotted like one of those macramé plant hangers that are always three times larger than the plants they hold. All the women get up to clear away the spaghetti dishes, except for Karen, who, instead, lights a cigarette.
“Why don’t you give them a little hand?” I politely suggest.
Karen makes a face and walks into the kitchen carrying three forks.
“Dear, you don’t have to do that,” my mother tells her, smiling painfully.
“Oh, okay,” Karen says, putting the forks on the sink.
As she reenters the dining room, a wine glass flies over her head, and smashes against the wall. From the kitchen, my mother says, “Whoops.”
I vaguely remember that line from Torch Song Trilogy. “Whoops?”
No. “Whoops is when you fall down an elevator shaft.”
More fish comes out.
After some goading, Karen tries a piece of scungilli, which she describes as “slimy, like worms.” My mother winces, bites her hand and pounds her chest like one of those old women you always see in the sixth row of a funeral home.
Aunt Mafalde does the same.
Karen, believing that this is something that all Italian women do on Christmas Eve, bites her hand and pounds her chest. My Uncle Ziti doesn’t know what to make of it.
My father’s dentures fall out and chew a six-inch gash in the tablecloth.
10:00 p.m. –
Coffee, dessert. Espresso all around. A little anisette. A curl of lemon peel.
When Karen asks for milk, my mother finally slaps her in the face with cannoli.
I guess it had to happen sooner or later.
Karen, believing that this is something that all Italian women do on Christmas Eve, picks up cannoli and slaps my mother with it.
“This is fun,” Karen says.
Fun? No. Fun is when you fall down an elevator shaft.
But, amazingly, everyone is laughing and smiling and filled with good cheer — even my mother, who grabs me by the shoulder, laughs and
“Get this bitch out of my house.”
Sounds fine to me.
Looking for Christmas stories again this year. Please send yours to email@example.com and check out www.dicksummer.com/podcast.
Here’s one from Proud Podcast Participant Ellen F:
Funny…I wasn’t thinking about Christmas till I got the podcast; even
> though it seems all of Manhattan is filled with Christmas decorations (the
> Rock Ctr Tree is not lit yet tho).
> I love this time of year! I am a December baby and so is my daughter. So,
> we get lots of presents!
> One of my favorite Christmas stories is the year my Mom got all three of
> us bikes! My Mom was a single mom (in the early 70’s working full time
> & going to college) and we didn’t have much money, but she was
> determined to buy us bikes! My little brother was only 3 or 4, so it was
> easy to get him a bike and put it together. But she knew she had to scour
> the pennysaver paper to find second hand bikes for me and my other
> brother. She was determined!
> That Christmas morning we got up early as usual; but couldn’t get to the
> tree because my mother blocked the access to it…we were so
> excited…what did we get?
> When we saw the bikes, we were so happy! Mine was the prettiest pink bike!
> I had that bike for years! Riding to and from school; riding in the park
> and throughout the neighborhood. It was one of the best Christmases
> because we really wanted bikes and didn’t know how Mom was going to get
> them for us!( my youngest brother thinks he got his from Santa!)
> You know, I don’t remember what happened to that pretty pink bike!
> It was so long ago. We are all grown up now.
> No pouting… just fond memories.
> Merry Christmas!
My Lady Wonder Wench sent this as soon as this week’s podcast went up:
Of course I believe in Santa Claus. I still look under my bed just in case the jolly old elf left something there. Even when times were bad, my mother never let me down, although it took years for me to figure that one out. And my very own Santa Claus made me keep Christmas even when I’d stopped believing. It’s not “getting” something – it’s “having” a piece of the special night that returns light to the world even when it seems darkest. That light will return – look for it.
I’m sitting here in my big, manly, comfortable, black leather poppa chair, looking out at the November-December weather here in the foothills of the Pocono Mountains. As usual, it’s no where near the Buffalo New York disaster scene. It’s just quiet, gray and dreary. But, No Pouting, because Santa is about to swashbuckle in here with a big red suit, green, gold and silver wrapped presents, and happy music made by symphony orchestras with choirs, rock bands, and even chipmunks. And there’s no ducking away from him to go suck your thumb and put the back of your hand to your head, and cry in your beer…because “He sees you when you’re sleeping…he knows when you’re awake….” no matter where you are, he’s going to pop up, and lay a ho ho ho on you if you give him a chance. I know things are tough this year, but no matter how tough things may be…the price is right…so you may as well not pout, and just give him a shot.
Santa is lots of things to lots of people. But he pretty often gets a bum rap. He gets the blame for all the tasteless, crass, loud tv commercials for “The Biggest Sale Of The Year.” He also has to take the fall for “Taking Christ out of Christmas.” I think he deserves better. I think it’s time to thank Santa, because that stuff is not his fault.
Santa is a connector. Every year…no matter how old you are…he connects you to who you were when you got your first electric trains… a sled…or a bike under the tree…or your first Christmas kiss. And most important, he’s the connection to that distinct Christmas Eve “tuck you – in – so – Santa – can – come – with – his – reindeer – and – presents” feeling that your parents gave you. It was so safe…and happy…and real. And with a little luck, Santa helps you pass all that along to your kids…every Silent Night.
Of course, “He knows when you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake.” Not a bad reminder for us “Louie-Louie Generation” folks. Sometimes we slip. We tell terrible Christmas puns like, “As Adam said to his wife on the day before Christmas, “It’s Christmas, Eve.” I know. That’s awful. But…that’s right. No Pouting.
There’s also the one about how the custom of putting an angel at the top of the tree started. It seems one Christmas Eve, Santa was really harried. Mrs. Claus had burned the Fruit Cakes, the Elves were upset at their HMO providers, and one of Santa’s sleigh runners was broken. Just then, the angel he’d sent to bring home a Christmas tree walked in with the tree and said, “Where would you like me to put this tree, Santa ?” And so, the tradition of the angel at the top of the tree the twas born. Groans are ok…BUT NO POUTING ! Remember…“You better not pout, you better not cry…”yeah…we do too much whining and not enough smiling the rest of the year. Christmas is a very good time to turn that around.
One way to do that is something that’s in this week’s podcast. (www.dicksummer.com/podcast ) I call it, “Pick a person.” Check out the podcast please. Because Pick a person is a guaranteed simple way to put your pouts away. Please check it out in the current podcast. And if you like these podcasts and or the blogs, please forward them to a couple of friends. That would be a good way to grow our group.
It’s also time to send your favorite Christmas story to Dick@dicksummer.com .We’ll be using them all the way till Christmas. SO……here’s a Golden Goodie from my friend Paul Berge who wrote the Introduction to my book Staying Happy Healthy And Hot. www.dicksummer.com Paul is a heavy duty pilot and a big time film maker. He says: “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.”But I still want a real Lionel train under the tree… “You have to “Grow Up” to get it.”But I still have faith that we’ll eventually find Xray glasses that really work….And we’ll 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.
Ahquabi House Publishing, LLC www.ailerona.com
Paul nailed it. Please…no pouting. Just send your Christmas stories to dick@dickSummer.com And thanks
CBS reports that talk show hosts in Florida “offered cash and prizes to anyone who created a disturbance” at a Bill Cosby appearance. I spent my adult life in the radio business, including doing talk for the NBC Radio Network. I am totally ashamed of these guys. As Cosby said, “Suppose somebody brings a weapon…” Whatever you think of Mr. Cosby, he has not been convicted of anything. And in America, last time I looked, you’re innocent until proven guilty. I think if those guys aren’t fired the station should lose its license.