Friday, October 31, 2014
So, I hear you’re back in town. You haven’t crossed my mind in years, but now I hear you’re back. Curious. I remember our first…hmmm…how should I put this…encounter? Yeah…encounter. A serious situation always calls for serious word usage. What was I…3 maybe 4…when I first became aware of your nightly presence? Sometimes under the bed…sometimes in the closet…always pretty spooky. Never really saw you, but I knew you were there…waiting. The rules were pretty clear though. No feet or hands hanging over the edge of the bed. I wasn’t going to give you the chance to grab any of my kid parts buster! And as long as the covers were over my head…I was safe. Covers made the bed “Under the Bed and Closet Monster” proof. No quite sure how that worked, but thank God it did. I’m sure millions of children have been saved by the “Covers” rule. You went away for quite a while, but returned to your usual hiding places when my own kids were little. Forcing me once again to invoke the “Covers” rule and nightly “Under the Bed and Closet Monster” reconnaissance patrols. And now you’re back once again. This time you’re trying to mess with my grandkids. So, let’s get something very, very clear here Bud. The “Covers” rule and nightly “Under the Bed and Closet Monster” reconnaissance patrols are still very much in place. This time though there is something else you should be very aware of and I want you to ask yourself this…punk. Are you feeling lucky? Because this time…you’re messing with a Grandpa!
Monday, October 27, 2014
There’s a warm wind tonight and the leaves are taking flight. It’s a joyful dance they do across the fields. The clouds hang low on the horizon in this late October sky...drifting slowly across the face of a golden, harvest moon. Soon enough they will be snow clouds hanging in black skies on crystal nights...drifting slowly across the face of a silver, frozen moon. Soon enough that warm wind will turn into one that blusters and bites. Soon enough we’ll all be settling in for our long winter’s nap. And soon enough will be here soon enough. But there’s a warm wind tonight and the leaves are taking flight. It’s a joyful dance they do across the fields.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
It’s a Halloween wind that blows tonight. Can you feel it? Warm and sweet, but with just the slightest touch of frost around the edges. It’s the kind of wind that gently rattles drying leaves on soon to be skeleton trees. It’s the kind of wind that lifts outbound geese in chevron flight and drives the clouds low across a fiery sunset sky. It’s a Halloween wind that blows tonight. It’s the kind of wind that makes the evening shadows dance and the critters nervous. It’s a wind that whispers that a change is coming. Get ready. It’s a wind that whirls the mist around a gnarly old oak as easily as it does a faded memory around a lonely heart. It’s a Halloween wind that blows tonight. Soon the witching season will be here and restless spirits will once again take flight under the ghostly cast of a harvest moon. It’s a Halloween wind that blows tonight. Can you feel it?
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Road construction...Hmmmm...I met some really important people the other day. Well, I can’t actually say I met them, but I did watch them as they sailed by a bunch of us good citizens waiting our turn in one of those lane ends construction areas. You know...you see one of those lane ends up ahead signs and you pull over and wait your turn to go through like everybody else...except the really important people. I mean they must be really important...because they can’t wait in line like the rest of us. They go right to the front and force their way in. I figure they do this because they have much more important places to go and much more important people to see than the rest of us. Their time must be much more valuable than ours. Yep...that must be what it is. I mean...you don’t think they could just be arrogant, thoughtless and rude do you? Nooo...they can’t just be inconsiderate jerks...can they? They must be much more important than you and I. I must confess to being a very bad person though. Because when I finally do get to the front of the line and there’s a very important person trying to get in front of me...I don’t let ‘em in. Screw ‘em. Terrible aren’t I?
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Fall will be here soon. Arriving with her many colors like bright burning embers of summer’s dying fire. Beautiful, but brief. Marking the cooling of the air...the lowering of the clouds...and the coming of Winter’s silver blue. The slanted rays and colored days, as Lightfoot put it, stir many emotions. There’s a certain sadness about a lonely chevron of wild geese in the distant sky. And the rattle of dry leaves on shivering, skeleton trees. Night falls sooner and seems a shade darker. It’s a bittersweet time of memories...loves lost and found and old friends and family past and gone. For me...I know I miss my Dad more in the Fall. I do love the Fall though. Sweater weather and nightly fires in the fireplace. For all the endings Fall brings it’s also such a gateway of promise and good times. Soon will come the little ghosts and goblins of Halloween. The warmth and good cheer of Thanksgiving. The magic of Christmas. The hope of a brand New Year. Fall...the bright burning embers of Summer’s dying fire. The season of what might have been. The season of what could be.
Thursday, September 11, 2014
From a few years ago. I knew I had to write about September 11th...I just didn’t know what to write about. My tears? My disbelief? My anger? I’ve never thought more about my country than I have since that terrible day. America...sweet America. Now, in my opinion, is the time for us to be more American than ever. Taking great pride in what we are...by keeping in mind who we are. We are white, black, red, yellow and brown. We are English, German, Spanish, Asian and Afghani. We are Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist. We have many differences, but we also have great strengths. The world knows we have big, strong arms to welcome and comfort. We have a broad back capable of carrying the heaviest of loads. We have a huge heart capable of overwhelming care and generosity. And now the world knows that when you wound one of us...you wound all of us. We may be a hundred different colors...a thousand different faiths....but we are one people. We will never forget September 11th...let us also never forget why we are...who we are. We are Americans. We’ve put together the best of all worlds to create the greatest nation in the world.
Monday, September 8, 2014
Season’s changing…can you feel it? The sun is hanging a little lower on the horizon every day. The wind blows with a bit of a chill on the edges. The evening shadows come creeping a little earlier. The critters know and have picked up their step a little. Season’s changing…can you feel it? Soon the fields will be bare…harvest gone. Cider will be filling up the cups while the scent of pumpkin and cinnamon will be filling up the air. Grandmas will be putting on the apron and pulling out the Mason jars. Soon the trees will be lighting up red, yellow and orange. Season’s changing…can you feel it? It’s an end and a beginning…and it happens every year just about this time. For some it’ll be their first time around. For others it’ll be their last. Some will welcome it…some will curse it. As for me…how about you pass me a cup of that cider and put another log on the fire.
Friday, September 5, 2014
I asked for your hand...you gave me so much more. I asked for your hand, you gave me your opinion. Something I’ve found most valuable...most of the time. I asked for your hand, you gave me your curiosity. Sometimes a very “curious” curiosity I must say. I asked for your hand, you gave me your common sense. Most uncommon these days. I asked for your hand, you gave me your dreams. I know I’ve let you down on more than one of those. I asked for your hand, you gave me your trust. You gave me your faith. You gave me your...well...we’ll talk about those later. You gave me the chance to be the father to your children and the Grandpa to your grandkids. I owe a big thank you there. I asked for your hand, you gave me my best friend...my hope...my strength...my rock. You gave me the chance to be loved and the once in a lifetime opportunity to love you. I asked for your hand...you gave me so much more. I asked for your hand...you gave me your life. Happy Anniversary.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
As I approach another birthday, I’m telling you right now that this getting old crap isn’t for sissies. It takes a real man to stand right up…and shuffle off to the bathroom to pee three or four times a night. Yes sir! And you can’t be faint of heart with fiber. No sir! You’ve got to take it…take it like a man. A hopefully regular man. And these tests you have to start taking…geez. You feel like your back in high school except most of these tests end in “oscopy” and involve various bodily orifices that are usually much more comfortable with stuff going in the opposite direction. I don’t think I’ll ever forget those words the doctor spoke at my first sigmoidoscopy…”We’re only going up about three feet.” Sissies need not apply. I’ll leave you today with this. I didn’t write it…wish I had…but I think it’s most appropriate. "At age 4 success is not peeing in your pants. At age 12 success is having friends. At age 16 success is having a driver’s license. At age 20 success is having sex. At age 35 success is having money. At age 50 success is having money. At age 60 success is having sex. At age 70 success is having a driver’s license. At age 75 success is having friends. At age 80 success is not peeing in your pants." - Unknown
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Remember when you first learned to ride a bike? Remember that feeling in the pit of your stomach as Dad took the training wheels off? The anticipation, the excitement...the fear? Dad would run along side holding you up as you tried to peddle faster and faster. Remember how red his face got and how he huffed and puffed? You’d be screaming, “Don’t let go...Don’t let go.” But he would...and you’d fall. You’d skin a knee...bruise an elbow. Then one time Dad let go and...you didn’t fall. You were actually riding a two-wheeler. You were flying. You were lord of the sidewalk. And all the skinned knees and bruised elbows were a small price to pay for the feeling of the wind on your face and this new found personal freedom. The point is you took a chance. Sure you failed a few times, but when you succeeded...you were magnificent. Life is like that. Never take a chance and you’ll never fail, you’ll never skin a knee, you’ll never bruise an elbow...you’ll never fly.
Monday, August 18, 2014
My grandson Brennan invented a very special word all on his own. Brennan invented Yesternight. As in…remember yesternight when we had chocolate ice cream? Or…remember yesternight when we went to the zoo? Yesternight. I remember some yesternights Brennan. I remember the yesternight when you were born. I remember the yesternight when your Momma was born. I remember the yesternight I married your Grandma. Just a few yesternights ago. I’ve lived a lot of years Brennan so I’ve lived a lot of yesternights. Some remember better than others, but I keep them all carefully tucked away on the yesternight shelves of my brain. And sometimes when I need a smile I’ll take a precious one down, dust it off and remember when. So, Brennan…remember yesternight when you invented…yesternight? Thanks my love. Fill your heart with all the wonderful yesternights you can. I hope Grandpa shows up in a few of them.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
What if there is no heaven, no spiritual afterlife, no freeing of the soul from its physical body to seek another plane of existence? What if when you draw your last breath and your heart beats its last…it truly is over? You would feel no sorrow because you wouldn’t feel at all. There would be no guilt over anything done or not done. There would be no regrets, no what ifs, no what might have beens, no disappointments lingering in your soul…because you wouldn’t have one. You…would be over. You would never know that you ever existed. To you it wouldn’t matter how richly or poorly you felt you lived your life or how you treated people or how people treated you because you…no longer exist. There would be no memories, no thoughts to look back fondly on, no judgement…no nothing. Your spirit and its amazing beauty, wonder, curiosity and capability to love, hate, hurt and heal…would stop with that last breath and beat. The end. I find that odd. I can’t quite get my hands around the thought that a being capable of creating music and laughter…would not go on…somehow…somewhere.
Thursday, August 7, 2014
We had the tired, old apple tree taken down last week. Standing there looking at where it had stood all those years reminded me of something I'd written some years ago. A tree fell in the back yard the other night. Luckily it missed the house although it did take out the deck, the grill and a section of the fence. Now, all the damage is fixable, but that magnificent 60 foot maple tree is gone forever. I counted the rings on the broken trunk and that tree was 132 years old. It got me thinking. That tree was a sapling when we were still grieving for the boys who never came home from the Civil War. It stood tall and strong as our soldiers went off to the war to end all wars. And stood guard still as our boys went off to...World War II. It saw the dawn of flight and man on the moon. It watched families in this house grow up...grow old...be born and die. Some rings were fat...years with a lot of rain. Others were very thin...years of heat and drought. I imagined hot summer evenings at the turn of the century with neighbors sitting on the front porch sipping lemonade and tossing “Hot enough for ya's” back and forth. Well, the old maple is gone now and all that remains is a big old stump. You know, I don’t think I’ll have that stump removed. To me...it’s a little piece of sacred ground.
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
My grandson's love of baseball reminded me of this. How many moments in your life have there been where you’d like to get a “Do Over”? Remember those? One more chance to change the outcome. One more shot at something or someone to make whatever turn out differently. There is one moment in my life that I still have dreams about getting a “Do Over”. Actually there are a lot of moments in my life I still have dreams about I'd like to do over, but this one pops up pretty regularly. I’m twelve years old and my little league baseball team is in the city playoffs. We’re playing South Side Shell. Now, imagine hearing that name again…South Side Shell…only this time it’s with James Earl Jones’ voice complete with Darth Vader echo. Not only are they all big and scary, South Side Shell shows up wearing full uniforms. Not kidding…full uniforms including socks and spikes. We had blue shirts with white numbers and bring your own hats. Some of us had socks…none of us had spikes. Their coaches even had full uniforms. Our coach was our first baseman’s big brother and he was wearing a “Wonder Bread builds strong bodies twelve ways” T-shirt. After watching them go through batting practice and some infield stuff, most of us were pretty sure they were actually a farm team for the Cleveland Indians. We played them pretty tough though. And the score was actually tied going into the bottom of the ninth inning. So, here comes the moment. Bottom of the ninth, they’re up with two outs and a man on third. I’m playing third so I’m not too far away from Mr. South Side Shell…and his full uniform. A huge, they said he was thirteen, but I saw the five o’clock shadow, kid steps up to the plate. The full uniform on third looks over at me spits and whispers, “Game over rookie”. I give him my best snarl and spit right back. It landed on my shoe. Here’s the pitch…and with a vicious crack of the bat here comes the ball…right back at me. I’m not sure if I closed my eyes or not, but dangit…I caught the ball. I spun…set my feet…and threw it twenty feet over the first baseman’s head and into the bleachers. Game over. And even though the ball did manage to hit the kid who stole my best girl at the roller rink the night before…I still dream about getting a “Do Over”.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Seeing grown men and women pounding American flags against the windows of buses filled with frightened Central American children while screamng, "Go home. America for Americans."...reminded of this. There is an ancient saying...When you teach your son, you also teach your son’s son. Unfortunately, in so many cases...it’s so true. I think that’s why it’s so difficult for us to break the chains of bigotry, intolerance and the distrust born of ignorance. When the next generation is taught to hate and fear...the generation after that is being taught the same thing...at the same time. And so on and so on. And while we can change the laws...we have the fight of our lives on our hands to change...the hearts. It takes incredible courage for a son or a daughter to step away from a parent's words. To question that authority. We are moving forward in our humanity, but it’s a painfully slow process. Because it has to happen one courageous young heart at a time. When you teach your son, you also teach your son’s son. Let’s pray that at least a few of our sons and daughters will learn to think for themselves.
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Once upon a time it was a spaceship. Once upon a time it was a stagecoach…and a jet plane and a pirate ship and a circus train…a riverboat, an army tank, a submarine and a covered wagon. It took astronauts and cowboys and pirates and soldiers and sailors and test pilots on amazing adventures to the moon and Mars, the Oregon Trail, the deep, dark jungles of Africa and over, on and below almost all of the seven seas. It made daring rescues, heroic flights, dangerous voyages and narrow escapes. Once upon a time…a long time ago. Once upon a childhood or two. Today it’s what’s left of an old wooden swing set out behind a long ago abandoned house. It’s weary and broken, the forgotten victim of a few too many hard winters and a severe shortage of childhood imaginations. Once upon a time though…it was a spaceship.
Friday, June 13, 2014
20 years ago I lost my hero. At the time though, I didn’t know how much of a hero he would become to me. It’s been mostly during the years since he’s been gone that I’ve slowly discovered how much he had really taught me about the responsibilities of being a man…of being a father…of being able to love…and being able to be loved. Mostly by just watching him live. 20 years ago…I lost my Dad. Now, he wasn’t the smartest man I ever met…or the most creative…or a spinner of great yarns…or teller of great jokes. Those are all good things to be though and I admire those efforts. My Dad’s mission in life however, was not to be a great man among men. His mission in life was to be a great man among…me. And that he did. He accomplished that in my eyes by doing what I believe was sacred to him. He did it by always trying to do the right thing…in any situation…no matter how hard…no matter what the cost. Sure, he fell short sometimes, but he always tried. That was how he lived his life. And I think he hoped his life lessons would teach me to try to do the same. I know I’ve let him down more than once…but I’m trying Dad…I’m trying. 20 years ago I lost my hero. I’ve never told anyone this, but late in the evening of the day my Dad died I was standing alone in the dining room of my home looking out the window at a very dark, night sky. I remember saying to myself, “I just need to know you’re OK Dad, I just need to know you’re OK”. At that very moment a shooting star lit up a corner of that very dark, night sky. I saw another shooting star tonight. I’m still trying Dad…still trying.
Monday, May 12, 2014
Lost in thought is what first came to mind when I saw him sitting there. An old man…lost in thought. Life filled with people carrying on unnoticed past a weathered face with its still bright blue eyes staring off into who knows where…or why. Sitting across from him though, I began to think that maybe…maybe…he knew the where and the why. I began to think that maybe he wasn’t “Lost” at all. Maybe he knew exactly where he was…in thought. Maybe his thoughts were of some special place from long ago or some important person from his past. Maybe in his thoughts, he was standing in some moment in time that somehow marked his soul. A moment that brought laughter…or tears…or changed his life. The birth of a baby…the death of a partner…a road never taken…a dream almost come true. A wish to do something over…a chance to take a shot at a second chance. Maybe in his thoughts he was just spending a little time with a memory or two. OK…maybe I’ve gone a little too far and maybe he was just thinking about what to have for lunch. But just remember this. The next time you see an old man you think might be lost in thought…maybe he’s not “Lost” at all. Maybe he knows exactly where he is.
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
I watched a baseball game last night on TV. And I guess I’ve just never noticed it before, but I had no idea there were so many ways…to spit. Seriously. And everyone was doing it. The players were spitting…the coaches were spitting…the managers were hawking loogies…the batboys…the ballboys…saliva sailin’ everywhere I looked. There couldn’t have been a dry spot left on the field or in the dugout. No wonder even the coaches wear spikes. It was a sight that…really didn’t need to be seen. I must admit though, there was a certain amount of…well…personal style being displayed. The shortstop’s upper lip curl…the left fielder’s between the teeth squirt…the designated hitter’s machine gun repeater…the dribble… although I think that last one was just a youngster making a rookie mistake. You know, a good, slippery, pro style sidewinder gone wrong. So, there’s another game tonight. Has anybody seen my boots?
Thursday, May 1, 2014
Bugs...Hmmm...Now that the weather is breaking they’re everywhere aren’t they? Bugs...They come in all shapes and sizes. You’ve got your hard ones and soft ones...big ones and little ones...your crawlie ones, flying ones, hopping ones and some that do all of the aforementioned activities. Some bite, some sting and some just buzz around your ears at night while you slap yourself silly trying to send them to bug heaven. Wouldn’t it be interesting to sit down over a cup of coffee with the Big Guy himself and ask...”So, just what did you have in mind here with the Bug thing?” Maybe He just had a bunch of leftover spare parts and nothing to do one afternoon. Or maybe He just couldn’t pass up a great buy on legs and antennas at heaven’s dollar discount warehouse. Or maybe He looked down and thought...”You people really bug me sometimes...Hmmm...Bug...now there’s an idea”. Or maybe...we’ll just never know the reason for our...Bugs. So, maybe we should just live and let live. On the other hand...s’cuse me while I whack that skeeter.
Monday, March 24, 2014
Ahhh…Michigan, it’s a land where our weather rules the meaning of our words. Take the words up and down for example. In Michigan, 40 degrees is UP in January…but in July, 60 degrees is DOWN. In Michigan, when someone says it’s a beautiful day, it can mean it’s a day of soft breezes, blue skies and 80 degrees. Or…softly falling snow and 25 degrees. Or…the first spring day you actually open a window. Or…an autumn colored day and sweater weather. In Michigan when someone tosses you an “Is it hot enough for ya?” what they’re really saying is “Are you friggin’ kidding me? You can fry an egg on my old bald head”. And when the Michigan weather folks predict “A little snow”, we bring in the dogs and gas up the snow blower. The meaning of our words changes with the seasons. Michigan weather…Michigan words…we understand.
Monday, March 17, 2014
Let’s shake off the winter wearies like we would a tattered old coat. Let’s welcome back the sunshine from its long winter’s nap and open the windows to let in the tick, tick, tick of a springtime sprinkler and the sound of a ballgame drifting across the backyards from a radio on someone’s deck. It’s time to lower our shoulders from the tensions of the silver shivers and raise our eyes from the frozen sidewalks to watch a sweet breeze blow clouds around a bright blue sky. Let’s get on with this season of unclenching and leave winter’s baggage behind. Let’s get on with doing a little spring cleaning of the heart and soul so that we’ll have room for some fresh thoughts and new ideas. Let’s shake off the winter wearies like a tattered old coat. The gift of another time around has been given to all of us. All the cold and dark has melted away. All roads are open to us now. This is the season to choose one...and see where it leads.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Hey Spring...this is what I’m talking about. C’mon...you can do it. Looks like you’re getting your act together and startin’ to kick a little ice around here. Keep it coming. Turn it up to warm and get those daffodil heads poking up through the tundra. And hey there Mr. Red, Red Robin…we are ready for some full time bobbin’ around here. Even though Old Man Winter really showed his age this time around, it’s still been too brown and gray and window closed and all cooped up for too long. We need you to start getting on with the greenery. C’mon Spring...you can do it. Flex your crocuses and give the cold, old geezer a good swift kick in his frozen pants. And tell him not to let the garden gate hit him in the icicles as he heads north. Turn up the thermostat Spring and let the T-shirts begin. It’s tulip time. C’mon...you can do it. Get the sap running and the grass growing. It’s time to smell the lilacs and slap some mosquitoes. C’mon spring you can do it. Get out there...put up your dukes...and give the North Wind the old what for. This is what I’m talking about. Don’t turn back…don’t give up now…don’t turn into some kind of…Pansy.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
I plan it so carefully. I stand at the window for minutes studying the scene before me. Check the treetops for telltale signs. Is the neighbor’s flag giving any input? What about the clouds…anything there? And then…and only then…when I feel my calculations are correct…I make my move. Appropriate gear on and in place. Garage door open. Choke…check. Prime…as directed. Engine engaged and ready. Directional chute aimed perfectly. One last visual check to confirm calculations. I’ve got everything figured perfectly. So, off my snow blower and I go, plowing into the great, white wonderland that is my driveway this morning. It’s almost immediately that the wind direction I observed, plotted, calculated and studied so intently…changes. I’m instantaneously covered, head to frozen toes, with most of the snow I had so intelligently and carefully planned to end up over there…not over me. It’s Mother Nature’s great practical joke. And it gets me every time.
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Is it possible for us to grow old...without growing “up”? Now growing older does make certain things inevitable. I mean, gravity kicks in for one. And some of us, though not nearly enough of us, will gain a certain measure of maturity and wisdom and that’s a good thing. After all, there will be the tasks that older people have to do, check books to balance, Monday morning alarm clocks to answer to, even older tomorrows to plan for and children to raise if we're lucky. But can we grow older without losing our ability to wonder...giggle...imagine what if...and hang on to a dream or two? I hope some of us can. And I really hope I will be one of those some. I see too many people who have grown “up” way before their time. The ones who don’t see Autumn’s beauty...they curse the coming of winter. They don’t hear a child’s laughter...they complain about the noise. And they haven’t wished upon a star in years...they’ve forgotten how. Can we grow old without growing “up”? Well...I’m going to give it my best shot. How about you?
Friday, January 17, 2014
Thought of this older post today. Not quite sure why. What if there is no heaven, no spiritual afterlife, no freeing of the soul from its physical body to seek another plane of existence? What if when you draw your last breath and your heart beats its last…it truly is over? You would feel no sorrow because you wouldn’t feel at all. There would be no guilt over anything done or not done. There would be no regrets, no what ifs, no what might have beens, no disappointments lingering in your soul…because you wouldn’t have one. You…would be over. You would never know that you ever existed. To you it wouldn’t matter how richly or poorly you felt you lived your life or how you treated people or how people treated you because you…no longer exist. There would be no memories, no thoughts to look back fondly on, no judgement…no nothing. Your spirit and its amazing beauty, wonder, curiosity and capability to love, hate, hurt and heal…would stop with that last breath and beat. The end. I find that odd. I can’t quite get my hands around the thought that a being capable of creating music…would not go on…somehow…somewhere.
Monday, January 6, 2014
Well…Christmas time is over this year. All the outside decorations are looking a little windblown and tattered. The bows along the fence are all a little crooked and the garland is sagging a bit. And a few of the twinkling lights don't seem to have any twinks left this year. As I walk past the tree I can hear the sound of dry needles tinkling as they dance on decorations while heading to the floor. It's time to once again wrap baby Jesus up in tissue paper along with Mary, Joseph, three sheep, two camels, a donkey and two of the three wise men we have left in this old nativity scene and put them in the box marked living room. All the Santas and Snowmen come off the mantle and the last of the pistachios is gone. I'll vacuum up the fallen needles and fill the house one last time the smell of Christmas tree. It's time to move into this New Year and see what it holds. It's time to put the magic away for a while…but only for a while. See, it's only 11 1/2 months until Christmas.