Advent Calendar – Day 24
28 St. Martin Street
My advent calendar project hit a buzzsaw called Christmas Present. Christmas 2018 swallowed me up, and I couldn’t spare the creative space needed to close out my project. I back ended some pretty important memories to the end of the calendar for dramatic effect and because it is emotionally hard to write about these things. It leaves me exhausted, yet grateful for such heavy lifting. Please forgive an ambitious man for a late delivery. Sometimes when you let something marinate and breathe a bit, it becomes better for it. I certainly hope so.
I am blessed to have lived through many treasured moments in my life, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t express how very warm and full of heart I become when I recall these times, our times. Merry times, happy times, unknowing times, taken for granted times. Holding short moments for a fraction of time.
We simply inherited a sense that tradition is and always has been important. It is a gift from those that came before us. It is a gift full of wisdom and righteous remembering, and the action of choosing to be together. Blending family and the precious commodity of time creates magic.
The town where I grew up was small, but seemed large to me as a child. It is full of history, and I could walk to any of my near relatives homes within 3-5 minutes. This reality provided me with a false sense that I would always have this convenience of access throughout my life. It wasn’t until I set out into the world that I experienced how small my world truly was and just how lucky I had been to have had such access and time with my closest relatives growing up. It’s not the kind of thing you become aware of, until it changes.
Life moves, life breathes, nothing stays forever, and that is why upon reflection of the holidays of the past, I warmly remember Christmas Eves spent at 28 St. Martin Street with the special people you see in the photograph above.
Sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas, a Christmas Card/Invitation would come to us from Uncle Mike, Aunt Donna, and Cousin Christy. It would invite us up to their place at 28 St. Martin Street, to celebrate Christmas Eve. Festivities would begin promptly at 6ish. We’d meet, eat, make jolly, and tell stories of the past year. It was a great pre-cursor to Christmas Day celebrations.
Much of the revelry would take place in the kitchen, as it generally does in Irish-American households. Never entering through the front door, but only through the back door, which you would arrive to after you had to walk down a short walkway abutting the house.
Generally, those visiting knew to come to the back door. If they didn’t, we knew they were strangers.
Many great Christmas Eve’s were spent in the company of the Hickey’s, the Lane’s, The Connolly’s, The Warner’s, The Blakie’s, The Dowling’s, The Merullo’s, and any and all that I may have neglected to mention. I’m so grateful that we were a part of something so memorable, that has sustained the fire of memory in my heart. The ghosts of Christmas Past are never too far away.
Although, we’ve lost some of fellow travelers in this life, our family still sustains. We are so lucky to still have opportunities to gather, and we make great use of the examples of living revelry that are evidenced in the photograph above. I look at all of our eyes in that picture, and I see a million different stories and thoughts. I never knew I would be where I am now, but I know for certain that it was a damn wonderful thing to be there then.
Merry Christmas to Uncle Mike, Aunt Donna, and Cousin Christy. Thank you for sharing your home with all of us, and for creating a lasting tradition. Whenever I look at this photo, I know how perfect a moment can be, and how very precious it is to capture it.
Love to Richie, Irene, Paul, Kathy, and Kevin.
If you enjoyed this post, please take a look at Advent Calendar Day 23
Advent Calendar – Day 23
Alexander Ignatius Connolly, or Bubba
My maternal grandfather, Bubba, was born on December 23, 1914. Another relative with a December birthday. I wonder how he found that. There are so many memories to touch upon that one post won’t do it justice. I’m happy to say that this gentleman was a driving force of good in my life, and one hell of a storyteller. He used to rivet us with tales of Sean-Sean the Leprechaun, as well as intriguing war stories about his time as a Marine in WWII’s Pacific Engagement with the Japanese. He loved his sports, and his cop shows, but most of all his family. He is sorely missed. I gave my first born son his middle name in honor of his great-grandfather.
Bubba, Merry Christmas wherever you may be.
Getting close to the end of this calendar. Just in case you missed it, here is Advent Calendar Day 22
Advent Calendar – Day 22
Full of loot.
Packed in nicely,
Top to boot.
The last good chance,
To find that gift,
Asked in advance.
Just where to put,
That jolly bundle,
Covered in soot.
Best for last.
Advent Calendar – Day 21
A Moveable Feast
One of my favorite parts of the Christmas Season is gathering with friends and loved ones. On the shortest day of the year we hoisted spirits with longtime friends.
Take a peek behind yesterday’s door. Advent Calendar Day 20
Advent Calendar -Day 20
I’m sharing a piece done by a friend. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. He asked that the only attribution be:
Stopping by Some Words on a Term Paper Evening
Whose words these are I think I know
He did not ever get tenure, though
He will not see me Googling him here
To watch his citation count sadly grow.
My old Mac Book must think it queer
To stop without a wi-fi near
Between my shoulders my back does ache
Because I let my deadline draw near
He lets his battery case vibrate
To ask if there is some update
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of icy winds on campus concrete
These words are lovely, dark and deep
But I have hypotheses o’er which to weep
And ..oh ..$&!@loads of pages to write before I sleep
And lots of lovely references to keep.
Advent Calendar – Day 19
A Modest Proposal
Martin Luther had 95 Theses, all I want is 1. Yes, it is with great relief that I report that my Thesis Proposal was accepted by the Literature and Creative Writing Program at my school. Now I will be placed with a Thesis Director for my project. I have a year to complete it. I look forward working on it. A heartfelt thank you to all that have supported me along the way. Most especially, my Wife. It is an exercise in endurance to put up with a surly big man.
Advent Calendar – Day 18
TOP TWENTY CAROLS I’M CRANKING AT PRESENT 🎁
20. THAT’S CHRISTMAS TO ME-PENTATONIX
19 . FATHER CHRISTMAS-THE KINKS
18 . THE TWELVE PAINS OF CHRISTMAS-BOB RIVERS
17. I BELIEVE IN FATHER CHRISTMAS-GREG LAKE
16. WHITE WINTER HYMNAL-PENTATONIX
15. CHRISTMAS IN HOLLIS-RUN D.M.C.
14. MAMACITA DONDEC ESTA SANTA CLAUS-AUGIE RIOS
13. THE SEASON’S UPON US-DROPKICK MURPHYS
12. PLEASE COME HOME FOR CHRISTMAS-B.B. KING
11. SANTA BRING MY BABY BACK TO ME-ELVIS PRESLEY
10. BLUE CHRISTMAS-THE LUMINEERS
9. CHRISTMAS LIGHTS-COLDPLAY
8. BOOTS-THE KILLERS
6. CHRISTMAS TIME IS HERE AGAIN-THE BEATLES
5. OLD CITY BAR-TRANS SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA
4. MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY-NOEL GALLAGHER
3. CHRISTMAS WRAPPING—THE WAITRESSES
2.FAIRYTALE OF NEW YORK-THE POGUES
1.BABY ITS COLD OUTSIDE-DEAN MARTIN
If you liked this post, please take a chance on Advent Calendar Day 17
Advent Calendar – Day 17
Once upon a December sky,
I made a wish and closed my eyes.
Muted blues and drabbest grays,
Out beyond, beyond.
A lifetime obligation’s breach,
Out beyond horizon’s reach.
I could not go there,
Out beyond, beyond.
Trapped on a rolling road,
World all around exposed.
I could not get there,
Out beyond, beyond.
Decemberists know it best,
Heart pounding beneath the breast,
The journey hearkens those who hide,
Out beyond, beyond.
If you followed me on this journey, here is the path to Advent Calendar Day 16