Best. Christmas. Yet.

December 25th, 2010 by John Morris

My remarkable Christmas 2010 is winding down. For proof, I’ll list the higher points in no real order except the most revealing one is the last one.

  • Leading off is the visit by my NYC based daughter, Beth and her partner, Julie. They saved my bacon by making an 11th hour suggestion for that over-the-top gift for my wife.
  • My sister, JoJo hosting a Christmas family meal at our Mom’s nursing home.
  • Eagle Laser finishing my ceramic coaster order showing Beth & Julie’s names in California sand illuminated by the sun setting in the Pacific. Beth & Julie got their four. Thanks, Denham Shupe.
  • A Rosenblum Zinfandel being on sale. It’s a family favorite.
  • Buying a framed banner showing the six Phillies’ “Ps” logos as a killer gift for Beth and Julie.
  • Jeanne Rapp’s new book called They Conquer Who Endure arriving at her store, Brandywine Flags on December 24. This book has a section written by me. Jeanne alerted me in the morning, and Beth drove me to her store to get copies. I am deeply pleased with the work Jeanne did. Question: how do I show this book to folks without seeming boastful?
  • Seeing a man at church looking a bit like my late Dad bringing tears and tender memories of the most influential man in my life.
  • Meeting a man buying a Christmas tree for his kid’s friends who didn’t have one at their home.
  • Cousin, Steve Mascherino bringing me a six decade old, Kodak Christmas card my Father sent to his Mom. The photo depicted me, a sister and two brothers sitting on a Valley Forge park cannon. He delivered it to me on December 22 – my Dad’s birthday. It was like getting a card from Dad. You can read more on this event in the following blog.
  • My bosses, Tommy & Mary Trego sailing off on a long deserved ocean cruise.
  • My wife, Lyn cooking banquet meals during Beth & Julie’s visit. She put in a bunch of kitchen time all with an aura of pleasure. I made this my most revealing point because I was struck by how completely she offered to care for her family. This is the visual proof of the love a Mother or wife has but goes unnoticed and rarely lauded.

Sure, there were gifts and many of the other usual things of Christmas, but somehow this year had more great moments.

Or have I evolved enough to see more of them?

Christmas memories started early this year.

December 22nd, 2010 by John Morris

My work day today was its normal normal. Wednesdays are restocking days, and I was running in the aisles slapping stuff on shelves and hooks. This Christmas had jelled well. Presents were all bought and most were wrapped. My daughter and her partner were coming home today. It was as good a time to expect to experience a golden memory.

It came with my cousin, Steve Mascherino who caught up with me in the plumbing aisle. His words were along the lines of, “I think this is regifting.” With that, he handed me a yellowed, old fashioned Kodak Christmas card he found in his late Mother’s belongings. It bought back memories of many Christmases ago.

The card consisting of a black and white snapshot sharing space with a printed greeting set inside ragged edges. They were reallyhot stuff in the early 50s.

The picture was of me, two brothers and one sister sitting on a cannon in Valley Forge National Park. A hint of irony was we were wearing our Easter finery in this Yuletide greeting. It was one of those shots where each subject seemed oblivious to the presence of the others.

Dad loved to put his kids in photos shoots, and he did it often. I don’t recall how thrilled we were with this, but we did it anyway. The cannon picture became our family’s frozen moment in time for all time.

I appreciated the kindness my cousin showed by delivering this lost treasure. The magic of the moment hadn’t fully struck me until I remembered something remarkable about the timing of his regift. This day was December 22 and my Dad’s birthday. To me, it was my Dad sending me a Christmas card years after his death.

It’s been a good Christmas already.


The old boy writing this blog wears many hats: Vietnam Veteran, husband & father, salesman and techno-dude. After my service with the Army Security Agency, I operated a sign company for nineteen years, The sign industry changed after CAD/CAM machines made the task easy enough for the non-talented. I sold my company and never looked back.

Life has granted me a life partner better than I deserve. My wife, Lyn is a transplanted Kansas gal. Her bliss is teaching kindergarten and first grade.

I am the most proud of my children. My son, Adam lives an international life teaching English and living in Sozhou, China. He is married to one of life's truly lovely women, Yuri Kim. My daughter, Beth grew up in a small town and found her way in life means working and living in major cities like Chicago and New York. She and her life partner, Julie Sterling married in LaJolla, California in 2010.

I like getting the newest gadgets, but also I like to use things until they are useless, i.e., my last personal car was an 88 Honda Prelude Si.

I wrote a Vietnam Veteran newsletter for nine years. During this journey, I learned I like to write. It is a harmless exercise that rewards honest effort while tolerating failure gracefully. I been away from it for too long. My son gave me the blog, and it was a lifeline back to writing.

My best advice is to show the world what you can do but to accept only your opinion of who and what you are.

Update: In August 2008, my job became one of the half-million jobs that went away that month. I took the following year getting the home ready for my official retirement.

In October 2009, I took a part-time job as a saleman at the vaulted Maxwell's Hardware.

On November 29, 2011, I reached my 66th birthday, and I officially started Social Security. I intend to stay with Maxwell's as long as I can contribute.