Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Present Of The Past

I've been preoccupied lately. I started writing a blog post two weeks ago, trying to rid my "blog fodder" folder of some of the clutter, but ended up getting sidetracked by one project or another.

The biggest diversion has been a journey into my history.

Over Thanksgiving, Amy and I were at my Aunt Kathy's home in Dallas where we had a wonderful time and where I found two rather large boxes my Aunt had stashed away. Kathy has been exceedingly wonderful in helping preserve things from my family since my parents died in 1972. She had recently found the boxes on a top shelf of a closet. Kathy is rather petite so she didn't see the boxes often and hadn't really thought they contained anything but old check books and bank statements anyway.

When I brought them down I found they contained a treasure. Photos, letters, baby books (of my parents), newspaper articles, a Bible given to my mother, report cards, hand-written notes to me and my brothers and even a short story written by my mother... along with the rejection slip she received from a publisher.

Many of the photos are of people I fear I will never identify, very old - almost tintype - images of children, girls, women and men from long, long ago.

I've tracked down a few names - which is another story - and sent a bundle of stuff to each of my brothers

There were a lot of photos of my father, something I treasure because my Dad took up photography as a very intense hobby so most of the photographs I have do not include him - he was the guy behind the camera. Many candid shots from his boyhood, and his times in college, and at various points in his lifetime romance with my mother. Some photos are from what I'm sure were high points of my father's career in the newspaper industry.

Needless to say, wading through all of this material was exciting, heart-wrenching, and at times a bit emotional.

I promise I'll write more about some of my finds as time permits - assuming time eventually does permit such diversions.

What I wanted to share on this day are two discoveries - Christmas poems apparently sent out by my mother to family and friends. I know one was sent in 1969, but am uncertain as to the date of the other although I tend to believe it also was sent in either the late 60's or early 70's since I detect a sense of foreboding or worry about the future.

The poems, sent in lieu of Christmas cards or within them, do not mention the names of the authors. I'm fairly certain the 1969 poem was penned by my mother, the other - entitled "The Star of Hope" - I'm not quite as certain about, although I at least expect she added the final verse since it was set off slightly in the printing alignment.

It would seem strange my mother would send out poetry without attribution - she was a librarian and rather meticulous about such things. I have done a cursory search of the Internet without any luck finding this particular "Star of Hope" poem, but that certainly doesn't mean it couldn't be authored by someone famous or simply a stock sentiment from the card company - which is not identified on the card either.

I don't recall my parents being particularly religious, so these discoveries put my parents in a new light, as did many of the things I've found. It's been a delightful, sometimes shocking, and quite often humorous ancestral archaeological "dig' - not only through the various physical items, but also through my memories and emotions.

In any case on this Christmas Day 2008, I beg your indulgence as I reprint these words. No matter the author, no matter the dates they were written, the sentiments ring true.

First let me say, our wish for you this holiday season is that you will always cherish family, learn from history, hold your memories dear and love the God who loves you so very much.

Michael & Amy

Chimes, bells, tinsel, and glitter,
Protest, strife, and racing to the moon,
The gap between generations --
Quo vadis, world?

The season to pause

And consider the meaning
Of this special time
Mankind celebrates Peace.

Peace On Earth?
Let us have it!

Goodwill to all men?
Yes, by all means!

But 'til miracles happen

And minds open to reason
We'll use the old cliche

And wish you a happy holiday season.

The Mains
(in order of appearance)
Marvinel, Derek, Michael, Stan, and Floyd.

The Star Of Hope

Lest we concede that hope is lost
Let's all remember what the cost:
Tyrants reigned and martyrs died;
The faith of saints was sorely tried.

Then, "Lo, The Star!" Our Hope was born,
And lives, in spite of cross and thorn!
'Twas He who walked the waves at will
And bade the angry seas "Be Still!"

Think not the power of finite man
Can now destroy the Master's plan -
When that was tried at Calvary
The Victim won the victory.

Had we much gold 'twere yours for free,
But this poor poem will have to be
Our Christmas gift from us to thee.

The Mains
Undated - Author uncertain)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Someone Said This...On TV?

Say it isn't so? Hype in the "News" business?

I'm shocked! Shocked I tell you! What's next? Corruption in Chicago politics?

Monday, December 01, 2008

Pardon The Dust

We've been playing with some server changes and what better thing to screw up while testing the changes than my blog?


Anyway, I'm searching around for backups and toying with backgrounds and in the interim thinking, "Isn't there something more productive I could be doing?"

So this lil' blog o' mine may be shifting around, looking strange and periodically disappearing.

Just pretend the election isn't really over yet.