Tuesday, November 29, 2011

T'was the Night after Thanksgiving - with Apologies to Clement Clarke Moore

T'was the night after Thanksgiving when all through the town,
Not a person was smiling; they all had a frown.
The mall doors were all locked; they were guarded with care;
In hopes that hoards of shoppers would soon arrive there.

The clerks stood ready, all dressed in holiday red,
While visions of full registers danced in their heads.
Then mama in her PJs, and I in my vest,
Climbed out of our tent, ahead of the rest.

Now out in the parking lot, arose a clatter,
We all turned to see just what was the matter.
In unison we craned our necks longing to see,
Yet keeping our place in line we wanted to be.

The red and blue lights from the top of the car,
Proved a dignitary was close, coming from far.
When what to our disbelieving eyes should appear,
But the CEOs of ev'ry store we held dear.

They spread through the crowd, somewhat panicked and thick;
They jumped up on a stage, erected so quick.
An emcee appeared, and out of the car he came,
And introduced them-called them each by name.

From Macy's, Best Buy, Target, Wal-Mart and more,
Kmart, and Dillards, Kohl's and one other store,
To the front of the line, to the end of the mall,
Now please listen to us, please listen to all.

Christmas gifts for the family are all very fine,
But this is the year you must all draw the line.
You see, it's not the cash or the size of the box,
And it's not the money; why put yourself in hock?

Rather, it's the time you will give that means the most,
It's the stories you tell, the occasional toast.
So dash away, dash away, dash away all;
On to your houses, now leave this here mall.

Off the stage strode the CEOs one and all
From their limos on cell phones they all made a call.
Christmas time is just perfect for lots of nice presents,
But what family needs most is your generous presence.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


The brothers gathered together to survey the room full of goods. Mom and dad had wanted all of their possessions to be divided among their children and it was now time. A plan was formulated that would ensure that each sibling would receive that which had meaning to him or his family. Some pieces were easy - gifts that had been given reverted back to the original giver, the organ would be passed on to the organ player, and since there were three brothers, any collection was divided three ways.

The day grew long as each item brought forth a time of remembering. "Do you remember when Dad brought that home?" "I can still see mom's smile when she was able to buy that." More stories were shared than items divided - but that was the nature of the day.

One box held a pleasant surprise - mom had saved every one of dad's letters to her. They were engaged to be married, but the war interrupted their plans. He donned the uniform and was stationed in Europe - part of a medical unit that treated frontline casualties. She stayed home and worked in a factory, buying war bonds and collecting items for the war effort. Each sacrificed for the good of the other, and shared their life in letters. He shared what he could about his days, careful not to reveal war-sensitive information; she sharing what she could about her days, careful not to reveal any upsetting information.

The brothers sat down and started through the box. The prose bespoke their heartache of separation, their devotion to each other, and their willingness to sacrifice for the good of the country. But most of all they shared their hopes and dreams for the future - a time of peace, a time of family, a time of love. They left a legacy of love and courage to their children.

Men, when was the last time you wrote your wife a love letter? There is something about taking a pen to paper and pouring out your heart's feelings that is special - both for you and for her. You don't have to be a polished writer, just heartfelt and honest. If the very thought of her brings a smile to your lips, then tell her that. If you can't wait to see her at the end of a hard day, tell her that. If you love the way she laughs, her cooking, or how she cries at movies - tell her that.

Mom and Dad were not writers, but they wrote from their heart. Mom tied a blue ribbon around her letters, dad kept his in a cigar box, but both read and reread them many times. Every now and then one was tear-stained, or folded over to fit in a pocket, but all were saved for a lifetime.

Guys, there is no time like now to write a letter.