Posted tagged ‘holidays’

Independence Day Love Letter

July 4, 2022

Good Morning, My Country,

amer heartHow are you? Fine, you say.  I’m not so sure.   Oh, you are still beautiful.  Sometimes you take my breath away, like when I sit here looking up at the snow covered Wasatch Mountains.  It reminds me of America the Beautiful.   Yes, I love the National Anthem but America the Beautiful was always our song, wasn’t it?   Purple mountains majesty above the fruited plain.  It always brings tears to my eyes when I hear Ray Charles sing it.  Crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea.

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Hannukah in Utah

December 5, 2021

menorah1According to chabad.org, more than twenty-one centuries ago, the Holy Land was ruled by the Seleucids (Syrian-Greeks), who sought to forcefully convert the people of Israel to Greek customs and religion.   Against all odds, a small band of faithful Jews defeated one of the mightiest armies on earth, drove the Greeks from the land, reclaimed the holy temple in Jerusalem and rededicated it to God.   When they sought to light the Temple’s menorah, they found only a single cruse of olive oil that had escaped contamination by the Greeks; miraculously, the one-day supply burned for eight days, until new oil could be prepared under conditions of ritual purity.   Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, commemorates this miracle.   Although Hanukkah is probably the best known Jewish holiday because of its proximity to Christmas, it is actually a lesser holiday on the Jewish religious calendar.   Still, many non-Jews (and retailers hoping to harvest some profits from Jews during the season) think of it as the Jewish Christmas.  This article from Yahoo! Lifestyle explains why it’s not.

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The Return of Uncle Will

November 1, 2021

This is another mostly-true Day-After Halloween story.   I thought you might like to know what came of me and Uncle Will.

When I was fourteen … fourteen years three months, to be exact … I took a sudden interest in the contents of my father’s top dresser drawer.   It started simply enough.   Dad caught me smoking.    My Newport cigarettes, cleverly disguised in a Band-Aid box, went in the trash and the Zippo lighter I’d bought with 12 week’s allowance went in his dresser drawer.  I didn’t really like smoking all that much but the lighter was very cool with a dragon emblazoned on the side in red and black.    So, one Saturday night when I was baby-sitting my brother and sister, I decided I’d get it back.   And I discovered a treasure trove of my father’s keepsakes.    There were medals from the war and real bullets.   There was a (more…)

A Halloween Story – Uncle Will

October 31, 2021

I wrote this story for a Halloween meme back in 2010.   As they say in the movies these days, it is Based on a True Story.  Of course I took a little artistic license.  You know what that is, right?   Lying to entertain. Enjoy if you dare.

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We’re going to see Uncle Will tomorrow. I hated those words. Uncle Will was my father’s uncle, a disabled veteran. He lived in one of the ramshackle brick residential buildings at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Rocky Hill, Connecticut, which was about an hour’s drive from our house in East Haven. Visiting Uncle Will was worse than boring … it was creepy. His room was painted a pale institutional green but under the yellow light of the single incandescent bulb in the middle of the ceiling, it looked more like pea soup. The hallways smelled of hospital cooking, urine and disinfectant. His room added stale tobacco and an old man’s sweat to the mix. He’d be waiting for us in his wheelchair wearing khaki pants, scuffed military-issue shoes and an A-style undershirt, yellowed at the armpits. He’d force a smile when we walked in. Hi, Frank, he’d nod to my Dad. Hello, Florence, to my Mom. Who’s this big guy?, to me, every time, and I’d have to tell him, I’m Buddy. Frank’s son. As if he didn’t know. He’d extend a hand to shake, skeleton fingers covered with papery skin that I’d try to touch (more…)

A Halloween Story – Buttface Billy

October 30, 2021

It’s a tradition here on Older Eyes – Bud’s Blog to tell a spooky tale from my childhood on Halloween.  Like my stories Uncle Will and Good Will Haunting, Buttface Billy is based on events from my childhood and is entirely true … except for the parts that aren’t.

halloween sceneWhen I was I was in fourth grade, we moved to a new neighborhood in East Haven, Connecticut. My Dad had worked two jobs from virtually the day he got out of the Army to scrape together a down payment and would continue doing so to make the mortgage. It was a small nondescript ranch on a wooded lot in a neighborhood of nearly identical homes. Most everyone was the same age and from some degree of what my Mom called middle class. From where I sit now, it was all lower-middle class but back then it was heaven, particularly for 10 year old boy.  Behind our house was a hayfield ideal for pickup baseball or football games and beyond that, several miles of woods. And best of all, there were other kids, mostly boys and mostly my age. Yeah, there were some 12 year olds who liked to push around us younger kids, but back then, nobody talked about bullying unless someone really got hurt. Besides, at the end of the day, we all got along … pushing and shoving one day would be teaming up for a game of football the next. (more…)

Memorial Day

May 31, 2021

This is has become my traditional Memorial Day Post.  I think it captures the spirit intended for the holiday.

I have traveled the political spectrum from fairly far left to fairly far right and back toward the middle in my seventy-six years.   But as I traveled that broad spectrum, I think I’ve always been a patriot in the sense that I love my country dearly and believe for any faults it may have, it is unique in the world.   When I was protesting the war and voting for George McGovern, I believed My Country Right or Wrong, but not America – Love It or Leave It or America, Fix It or &%$* It.  Every Memorial Day, I get to think back on my decision to seek a deferment from the draft based upon my employment in the defense industry, a decision that might lead some to question my claim of patriotism.   I won’t deny that my motivation wasn’t entirely selfless but I’d offer that some of the systems I helped develop for keeping track of Soviet submarines during the dark days of the Cold War contributed substantially to our National Defense.  Just watch The Hunt for Red October.  Still, sometimes I feel a little guilt that others served in my place.   At seventy-seven, I simultaneously abhor the realities of war (brought to us in gruesome detail by modern media) and resign myself to its necessity in what is, more than ever, a dangerous world.   Some of our military excursions have been essential, others have turned out to be unwise.  Both fall at the feet of our leaders, those of us that elect them and, sadly, those that don’t bother to vote. (more…)

A Valentine’s Ramble

February 14, 2021

It snowed here in Daybreak, Utah last night.  Looks to me like 4 or 5 inches, the most we’ve had this year.  Cue the music … I’m Dreaming of a White Valentines Day … which does not, by the way, make up for this year’s Brown  Christmas.   For many years. my wife, Muri, and I went away for Valentines Day, where went away covered anything from staying at a nice hotel in the LA area to spending the weekend in some romantic distant place.   Perhaps the best of these was a weekend in Sedona.  We were talking yesterday about this year like no other, about how long its been since we actually went on a date.  That would be dinner at an odd little … (forgettable little) … (expensive little) … seafood restaurant in Salt Lake and a Utah Symphony concert OVER A YEAR AGO.  This comes after over fifty years of Saturday night dates.  Sixteen years ago, Valentine’s Day became my oldest grandson’s birthday.   Valentine’s Dates become getting away to Arizona and later, Utah, to spend the 14th with our daughter’s family to celebrate his birthday.   It wasn’t romantic but it was certainly about love. (more…)

Year, New, Happy

January 3, 2021

Yes, I know 2020 has been over for several days now.   At my age my literary reflexes are a little slow.  Besides, 2020 has been a Year like no other, a year that requires some examination before moving on.  Oh, it started out OK … my wife, Muri, and I in a beautiful new home in our new home state of Utah, a few miles from our daughter’s family.  Selling our California house then moving had been an ordeal, and we’d lost my beloved Tuxedo cat, Claude, to cancer but shortly after arriving in Utah, we adopted Tyson, another lovable Tuxedo,  So on January 1, 2020, Happy New Year just rolled off the tongue.   But February of 2020 brought the first news of a pandemic and in May, a breast cancer diagnosis for my wife.   There would be surgery and chemotherapy and radiation (still going on) for Muri, and an out-of-control spread of a new virus until, at the conclusion of the year, more Americans had died of COVID-19 than in World War Two.   An incompetent, divisive president who’d managed to stumble along for three good years could not (or would not) deal with the pandemic, and  what would follow was the most divisive election in my life time, a national scene that for the first time made me wonder whether democracy can survive.  That was 2020. (more…)

Happy Thanksgiving

November 26, 2020

I got up this morning determined to post something for Thanksgiving,   I considered reviewing this year, then reflecting on the many things I’m grateful for.  But I am afraid that reviewing this year like no other would drown the spirit of the day.   SO.  I’ll simply say this … I am a lucky and thankful old codger.   And I want to wish everyone … EVERYONE … a happy and safe Thanksgiving Day.

High Altitude Challah

September 19, 2020

My wife, Muri, is Jewish. I am not, although I willingly tagged along through years of services, holidays and raising the kids Jewish. Now we are in Utah, not a place known as a destination for the diaspora. Fact: in 1899 there were 5000 Jews in Utah. In 2019, there were 5,560. See what I mean? 0.2 percent of the population. So, what do you think are the odds that the house across the alley from us in our new neighborhood would be a Jewish woman and a non-Jewish man. Zilch, right? But it’s true and it has given us an instant bond, which is nice when you find yourself in a new home during a pandemic.

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