December 24, 2022 Christmas Photo a Day

This nativity set, from my recollection of family lore, was purchased by my Aunt Gael, for my grandma Elaine, some time in the early 1960’s.
Year after year as a child, helping set it up, and then being responsible for setting it up, was a favorite holiday task. At some point, my brother Joe or I broke at least one shepherd… he’s been glued back together.

All the years that we lived on Ellicott Place, it was displayed on the credenza in the dining room… I would find blue paper, I would put small boxes under to create hills; I recall buying rolls of “snow”, using tulle for hills….

One year, I posed my 3-year old daughter Arlie in a white nightgown, a stuffed baby Mickey Mouse held behind her back, took a black and white photo, cut it out, posed that cut out in the scene and took a photo of the entire scene for a our Christmas card! WAY pre-Photoshop!

Over the last few years, the nativity has moved …first to our apartment on Sharon Ave, then to Virginia…lately, I seems that trees have enveloped them in a forest as I have begun collecting white and softly colored trees.

“In the middle of a forest, there’s a clearing by a stream where a mother hold her newborn and that child begins to dream”….

The Prince of Peace, Trans Siberian Orchestra…

December 23, 2022 Christmas Photo a Day

In an old city bar
That’s never too far
From the places that gather
The dreams that have been
In the safety of night
With it’s old neon light
It beckons to strangers
And they always come in

And the snow it was falling
The neon was calling
The music was low
And the night, Christmas Eve
And here was the danger
Even with strangers
Inside of this night,
It’s easier to believe

Then the door opened wide
And a child came inside
That no one in the bar
Had seen there before
And he asked did we know
That outside in the snow
That someone was lost
Standing outside our door

Then the bartender gazed
Through the smoke and the haze
Through the window and ice 
To the corner street light
Where standing alone 
By a broken pay phone
Was a girl the child said
Could no longer get home

And the snow it was falling
The neon was calling
The bartender turned 
And said “Not that I care
But how would you know this?”
The child said “I’ve noticed
If one could be home,
They’d be already there”

Then the bartender came out
From behind the bar
And in all of his life
He was never that far
And he did something else
That he thought no one saw
When he took all the cash
From the register draw

Then he followed the child
To the girl across the street
And we watched from the bar
As they started to speak
Then he called for a cab
Then he said “JFK”
Put the girl in the cab
Then the cab drove away
And we saw in his hand
That the cash was all gone
From the light that she had wished upon

If you want to arrange it
This world, you can change it
If we could somehow
Make this Christmas thing last
By helping a neighbor
Or even a stranger
To know who needs help,
You need only just ask

Then he looked for the child
But the child wasn’t there
Just the wind and the snow
Waltzing dreams through the air
So he walked back inside
Somehow different I think
For the rest of the night
No one paid for a drink

And the cynics will say
That some neighborhood kid
Wandered in on some bums
In the world where they hid
But they weren’t there
So they couldn’t see
By an old neon star
On the night Christmas Eve

When the snow it was falling
The neon was calling
In case you should wonder,
In case you should care
Why we on our own
Never went home
On that night of all nights,
We were already there.

Songwriters: Paul F. O’neill / Paul O’neill

Old City Bar lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc

December 22, 2022 Christmas Photo a Day

Let Heaven and Nature SING! This is my Christmas card this year. I was drawn to this Noble Fir while in Crater Lake, Oregon this summer … Naturally decorated by upright pine cones. Most cards are being mailed TODAY! (Remember, the 12th day of Christmas is on January 6… I am not close to late yet!)