The Challenger: Never Forget

Challenger CrewMamacita says:  I repost this every year on the anniversary of the Challenger explosion.

My school was excited beyond all measure about the Challenger. A TEACHER was going into space, and this was unheard of. The students were thrilled to think of the possibility that perhaps some day, mean old Mrs. HagTeacher might be launched out into the vastness of space, never to give a pop math quiz again.

My community is proud to boast several astronauts, and there are billboards with their pictures and names in several places all over the county.  My students were familiar with the concept of “astronaut,” but Lawrence County astronautsmost kids really knew next to nothing about the realities of being one.  A teacher, on the other hand, was someone they were familiar with. They knew what a teacher actually did on a daily basis – or thought they knew.  That a teacher might also be an astronaut, of sorts, was a brand new concept. If a local person could be an astronaut, maybe it was a possibility for the students, but if a teacher could go into space, then the chances that a student might someday go into space suddenly got even better odds. The next astronaut might even be someone from our school. My school took this enthusiasm and ran with it.

The principal rented a big screen TV. Remember, this was back in the days when most schools, especially tiny ones like mine, did not have vast technological or media resources. We rented a big-screen tv, and big screen TV, 1980'sscheduled a big convocation. The whole student population was going to watch a teacher go into space via a big convocation in the gym, all eyes on that one big screen. This seems ludicrous now, but back then it was cutting edge.  BIG SCREEN.  (45 inches, mind you.)  BIG.  One 45-inch TV for a gym full of kids to watch.  There was no television access of any kind in the entire school, so one of the teachers brought in a satellite dish just for the afternoon.  This was a huge deal.  Huge.

We had essay contests about it. Trivia contests about it. We sent home newsletters with at-home things that parents could do with their children, about it. It was the biggest deal of the semester.

This is the newsletter that was sent home with all students a few days before the Challenger disaster.

This is the newsletter that was sent home with all students a few days before the Challenger disaster.

I had hall duty that day, and couldn’t go with the students to the gym, to watch the teacher go into space. But as I sat there, and watched the children file past, in twos and threes, to the gym, I was filled with awe that they were going to see something never seen before: a shuttle launch with a teacher aboard. An ordinary person was going into space. A teacher. For the rest of their lives, they would realize that all things are connected, even outer space, to what we learn from a teacher in a classroom. And that teachers have courage, and are willing to do things most people will never be able to do.

I sat there in the hall and watched them go into the gym, giggly and happy and full of anticipation. Each child had a blank sheet of paper in his/her hand, and a pencil, to draw what they saw. There was going to be a big contest.

Only a few minutes later, I sat there in the hall and watched these same students file back into their classrooms. They were quiet, and their eyes were big. Nothing had changed for me; I was still sitting there in the hall, but for those children, a lot had changed.

I don’t even remember what we did in my classroom for the rest of that afternoon. I know that I did not envy the elementary teachers. What could they possibly be telling the small children about what they had seen? I just do not know. My own children were down there in the lower grades; they didn’t have much to say when we got home. My little son was affected the most, I think; he had always been obsessed with rockets and loud things that went “boom,” but this was a loud “boom” that occurred before his very eyes, and the rocket blew apart, and he was old enough to realize what it meant.

Later in the afternoon, I looked out my classroom windows and saw the men loading the rented big-screen TV into a truck. It drove away.

A few parents were upset that their children had been shown the explosion in school, but they were completely out of line, and I think even they knew it. But upset people are often illogical.

The media played up the ‘teacher’ part of this tragedy. My children knew all about teachers; both their parents were teachers. Teachers were no big deal to them. My children, small as they were, wondered why none of the other people on board that shuttle were mentioned much, on tv or in the papers. I wondered that, myself.

The Holiday About Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther KingMamacita says:  Why is Martin Luther King Day a holiday in most communities?  Why does Martin Luther King, Jr. merit a holiday?

This day is a holiday because intelligent, sensitive, educated people understand that today deserves respect because a man who dedicated his entire life to peaceful means of acquiring freedom for all people fully deserves to be recognized, and there are still, shamefully, communities that do not consider this of any importance. Making it a holiday forces people to look at his name on their calendar, if nothing else.

If he had advocated violence, it would have been different. Violence does not deserve recognition. If he had advocated “something for nothing,” it would have been different. Bums do not deserve recognition.

But Dr. Martin Luther King advocated equal rights for all people, not just for whites and not just for blacks and not just for whites & blacks. He dedicated his life to gaining equal rights for EVERYONE.

And I can’t help but listen to a speaker with such beautiful grammar. His grammar enhances his message.

May we all have this same dream.

Careful, grammatically-correct language and an almost poetic speaking style will always get my attention.  It’s an assumption on my part, of course, but I associate good grammar with people who actually know what they’re talking about.  In fact, I am convinced that this is so.

Martin Luther King, Jr. definitely knew what he was talking about, and he knew HOW to present it.

====Martin Luther King, Jr., hate, let no man

I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Many thanks to Norm Reeves Hyundi Superstore for creating this graphic.

Many thanks to Norm Reeves Hyundi Superstore for creating this graphic.

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Quotation Saturday: Democracy and Government

quotation saturday, mamacita's blog, jane goodwin

Every Saturday: Quotations to feed your soul.

  • Mamacita says:  Democracy and government are much in the news these days, so Quotation Saturday is focusing on them.
  • 1) America needs fewer laws, not more prisons. – James Bovard
  • 2) War is just one more big government program. – Joseph Sobran
  • 3) Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. – John Adams (1814)
  • 4) They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin
  • 5) One of the greatest delusions in the world is the hope that the evils in this world are to be cured by legislation. – Thomas B. Reed (1886)
  • 6) If you are not free to choose wrongly and irresponsibly, you are not free at all. – Jacob Hornberger (1995)
  • 7) Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys. – P.J. O’Rourke
  • 8) The more corrupt the state, the more it legislates. – Tacitus
  • Scheiss Weekly: Democracy and Government

  • 9) Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. – George Washington
  • 10) No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session. – Mark Twain (1866)
  • 11) There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him. – Robert Heinlein
  • 12) The true danger is when Liberty is nibbled away, for expedients. – Edmund Burke (1899)
  • 13) Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none. – Thomas Jefferson
  • 14) The triumph of persuasion over force is the sign of a civilized society. – Mark Skousen
  • 15) A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government. – Thomas Jefferson (1801)
  • 16) The evils of tyranny are rarely seen but by him who resists it. – John Hay (1872)
  • 17) Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner. – James Bovard (1994)
  • 18) The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground. – Thomas Jefferson
  • 19) Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of Liberty. – Thomas Jefferson
  • 20) None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free. – Goethe
  • Quotation Saturday: Democracy and Government

  • 21) When the government’s boot is on your throat, whether it is a left boot or a right boot is of no consequence. – Gary Lloyd
  • 22) Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under. – H.L. Mencken
  • 23) The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule. – H.L. Mencken
  • 24) It is not the business of government to make men virtuous or religious, or to preserve the fool from the consequences of his own folly. Government should be repressive no further than is necessary to secure liberty by protecting the equal rights of each from aggression on the part of others, and the moment governmental prohibitions extend beyond this line they are in danger of defeating the very ends they are intended to serve. – Henry George
  • 25)  Where morality is present, laws are unnecessary. Without morality, laws are unenforceable. – Anonymous
  • 26) Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue. – Barry Goldwater (1964)
  • 27) Liberty is not a means to a political end. It is itself the highest political end. – Lord Acton
  • 28) The power to tax is the power to destroy. – John Marshall
  • 29)  [On ancient Athens]: In the end, more than freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all – security, comfort, and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again. – Edward Gibbon
  • Excellent. It should be like this today.

  • 30)  Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. – C. S. Lewis
  • 31)  Vices are simply the errors which a man makes in his search after his own happiness. Unlike crimes, they imply no malice toward others, and no interference with their persons or property. – Lysander Spooner
  • 32)  In order to get power and retain it, it is necessary to love power; but love of power is not connected with goodness but with qualities that are the opposite of goodness, such as pride, cunning, and cruelty. – Leo Tolstoy
  • 33)  There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible to live without breaking laws. – Ayn Rand
  • 34)  If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains set lightly upon you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen. – Samuel Adams
  • 35)  If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that, too. – Somerset Maugham
  • 36)  A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until a majority of voters discover that they can vote themselves largess out of the public treasury. – Alexander Tytler
  • 37)  A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money. – G. Gordon Liddy
  • 38)  The United States is a nation of laws, badly written and randomly enforced. – Frank Zappa
  • 39)  Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women. When it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it. – Justice Learned Hand
  • Scheiss Weekly: Democracy and Government

  • 40)  It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence. – Charles A. Beard
  • 41)  A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves. – Edward R. Murrow
  • 42)  The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. – Thomas Jefferson (1781)
  • 43)  The desire to rule is the mother of heresies. – St. John Chrysostom
  • 44)  Can our form of government, our system of justice, survive if one can be denied a freedom because he might abuse it? – Harlon Carter
  • 45)  It is not the responsibility of the government or the legal system to protect a citizen from himself. – Justice Casey Percell
  • 46)  No one can read our Constitution without concluding that the people who wrote it wanted their government severely limited; the words “no” and “not” employed in restraint of government power occur 24 times in the first seven articles of the Constitution and 22 more times in the Bill of Rights. – Edmund A. Opitz
  • 47)  The government was set to protect man from criminals – and the Constitution was written to protect man from the government. – Ayn Rand
  • 48)  The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin. – Mark Twain
  • Career Politician: Yesterday and Today

  • 49)  What this country needs are more unemployed politicians. – Edward Langley                50).  A government which robs Peter to pay Paul, can always count on the support of Paul. – George Bernard Shaw

I think we would all do well to remember these things.

12 Things That Really Annoy Me

These things really, really bother me.

Mamacita says:  I’m a pretty easy-going person, regardless of what you may have heard from people who know me well, but there are some things that really annoy me.  Some are major; some are minor.  Most of these are petty.  I admit it.  But they still annoy me.  And nobody should do them.

All of them are easily preventable.  All of them are things people do by choice, and when there is one choice, there will always be another.

Nobody is perfect.  I’m certainly not, and neither are you.  But these are such simple things, none of them rocket science, and all are things people choose to do, or not to do.  And when there are choices, there are consequences. At least, there should be.  When we choose well, we welcome the consequences.  Rewards are consequences.  When we choose poorly, we dread the consequences and rightly so.  We all get the consequences we earn, ie deserve.

Seriously.  These are things that annoy the breath of life out of me, almost literally. (See #6)

These are in no particular order.  They all annoy me.  A lot.

  1.  Litterbugs.  Trashy people who throw paper products, cans, etc, where such things are not supposed to find their final resting place are pigs.  Period.  Oink oink oink.  Pigs. Keep a bag in your car until you get home, and I don’t care how badly your baby blew out that diaper.  It’s yours and it’s your job to take care of it, not anyone else’s.
  2. People who don’t seem to understand that a grocery store aisle is like a highway.  You travel up one side and down the other.  You don’t travel down the middle.  You don’t go up the down aisle or down the up aisle.  It’s a little road.  Each aisle is a little road.  Drive accordingly.  And if you run into friends, don’t gather for a long chat and block things.
  3. Grocery carts belong in the corral after you’ve unloaded them.  If your small child is in the cart and you don’t want to leave him/her in the car – but why would you even think you had to do that? – keep the child in the cart while you’re unloading and parking and walk the child back to the car.  Problem solved.
  4. People who don’t know how to use their own language.  Grammar, spelling, punctuation. . . these are not difficult things.  We all took the same classes in elementary and junior high.  We all had the same books.  Some of us picked up on these things the first week.  Some people are in their sixties and still don’t get it.  WHYYYYYYYY?  We didn’t know who the semi-illiterate among us were until Facebook, of course, but now we do.  Oh, yesssss, we do.
  5. Those who choose not to use their turn signals.  So rude.  So crude.  So mean-spirited.  So lacking in basic good manners.
  6. Listen.  “Literally” doesn’t mean what some people seem to think it means.  If you tell me that you literally died laughing, I will look for you in the obits because that’s where you had better be.  “Literally” means “actually.”  If you are literally rolling on the floor laughing, you are physically down on the floor, actually rolling around on the floor whilst laughing.  Perhaps you mean that you were “figuratively” or “inferentially” rolling around on the floor laughing.  Picky much?  Hey.  Words are magic.  Use them properly or they will bury you.  Literally AND figuratively.
  7. Thieves.  People who steal from others are scum.  Whether a person is a shoplifter or a bank robber or an addict grabbing whatever he can for drugs or an embezzler or an adulterer or whatever, those who help themselves to someone else’s property are creeps and criminals.
  8. Speeders.  How dare you turn yourself into someone else’s executioner, you selfish thing.  There is no place you have to be that is worth someone else’s life.
  9.  Do you have a handicap plate or hangtag?  You do?  Then and only then may you park in a handicap spot.  You don’t?  Then park elsewhere.  And it doesn’t matter if you’re only going to run in for a minute, either.  No permissions?  Back out and park where you belong.
  10. Did you do your homework?  Then you’ll get the points.  Did you forget to do your homework?  No points for you this time.  This applies to your kids, too.  P.S.  Is your name on your paper?  No?  I keep a shredder in the room for those.  (Third offense)  (Tomorrow is too late.)
  11. Are you a marketer who pimps and/or creates daytime television commercials?  Medicare?  Medicaid?  Lawyers?  Drugs?  Weight-loss programs?  Novelty ways to sue someone?  “Can we do this tomorrow?”  Cell phones for people who can’t figure out how to use a cell phone?  Creams for those under-eye bags?  The same dreadful TV show being pimped over and over and over and over, sometimes two or three times in one ad slot?  Shame on you.
  12. People who are knowingly (or unknowingly) undereducated, and who fall for carefully keyworded political speeches and reality-show pimps who tell them precisely what they want to hear and continue to support such horrors because they either don’t know any better or know exactly what they’re doing and have chosen to be that kind of people.   I really don’t what which is worse:  stupid, or evil.  Most days I’m pretty sure they’re one and the same.

Again, most of these are petty things.  Golly, to be upset because people are people and do people things.  But these are not my people.  Heaven help you if these are yours.

Every Child Deserves An Audience. Stay In Your Seat.

children's choirMamacita says:  I’ve posted about this subject before, but with the approach of holiday season, it’s on my mind again, so I’ve written a new post about this same thing.

This is important. Proper behavior isn’t always fun. Nice people behave themselves anyway.

This is for you, parents. ALL of you parents. Holidays concerts are fast approaching, and your children are working hard to prepare. Don’t discount their big night because your personal feet hurt, you’re hungry, you’re missing your shows, and you left your good manners at home.

We’re tired.  We work all day and in the evenings, we deserve a few hours to rest, eat, and just, well, unwind. We deserve some time to ourselves, to put our feet up, watch some tv, sigh a lot, snack, and just BE.  We deserve  some time to do these things before we go to bed and get some sleep so we can do the same things again tomorrow.  Undisturbed downtime.  Yes, we deserve some of that.

If you are a parent of school-age children and this is your typical evening, shame on you.

If this is what you choose – yourself – instead of getting up off your, um, couch, and heading out to watch your child participate in something, shame on you.

Shame on you, too, if you stay in your seat just long enough to watch your own child’s part and then leave as soon as you can to get home and commence your well-deserved unwinding.


sparse auditoriumFor over twenty years, I attended school concerts, spelling bees, science fairs, plays, and other things, and for over twenty years I watched families pack up and leave the very minute THEIR child’s part was finished.  These people paid no attention to the fact that the show was still going on while they were loudly bustling themselves up the aisles, out the doors, and across the parking lot so they could beat the rush getting out of the place, and get HOME where they could, finally, after an extra-long day, unwind.  After all, they deserved it, didn’t they?

No, they didn’t.  In fact, what these people want or think they deserve doesn’t even enter into the equation here.  It is the children who matter, not the adults.

The smallest children had the biggest audience, but as soon as the lower elementary’s part in the concert was over, these were also the very people who couldn’t leave fast or soon enough, paying no attention whatsoever to the older children still on stage.

The upper elementary children had a smaller audience, and even those parents often required their kids to find them as soon as their part was over so they could go home and get what was left of that well-deserved downtime-before-bedtime.  TV is important, you know, and a kid’s show isn’t, especially when it isn’t even MY kid up there now.

By the time the middle school kids were onstage, only Grandma, Mom, a few antsy siblings, and those families with class remained in the audience.  The older kids played mostly to empty seats, because the once filled-to-overflowing, standing-room-only auditorium had emptied like a kicked anthill.

Yes, sometimes a school concert means a late night.  You can’t deal with that once a year?  Poor you.  Your younger children can’t deal with it?  Take turns going out in the hallway with them.  Let them fall asleep.  Your kid can’t deal with a disrupted schedule once a year?  Are you sure you’re talking about your child? Athletic functions often mean a late night, too; do you behave like this for basketball games? I suspect not.

There’s FOOTBALL on TV that night?  Lost is on?  Good parents know that’s not even a negotiable point.  Your children come first, or you’re a bad parent.

If you have small children whose part in a concert is usually first, try to picture YOUR child singing his/her heart out before an empty auditorium.  kids-choirThink of how those children must feel when you’re packing up and leaving while they’re on stage singing much-practiced songs meant for you, and you obviously care more about yourselves than about children who aren’t yours . . . .

Oh, and before I forget:  even though I pretty much covered the subject of proper theatre behavior in another post, let me repeat a few things here:  While you’re sitting in your seat, watching a concert, shut up.  Nice people do not talk or otherwise make noise in a theatre. Nice people are quiet as mice in a theater, as well.  (Note the spelling difference.  Look it up.)  In both places, nice people are quiet.

Stay for the whole thing.  I don’t CARE if you’re tired or bored out of your mind.

Put your child in those other children’s places.  Remember, YOUR child is someone else’s child to everyone else in the universe except you.  You don’t want other people treating your child like that, do you?

Stay for the whole concert.  You’re bored?  Too bad.  You hate this stuff?  I don’t care.

Don’t detract from the glory and wonder and delight of children singing together just because you’re too selfish to even try to listen properly and enjoy it.  Don’t make children feel that their hard work was in vain because all YOU can think about is that if you leave now you might get in on the last quarter of your very important game.

Anyone of any age who does not show respect to those onstage is a rude, childish beast.

I can’t say this enough:  Every child deserves an audience.  STAY IN YOUR SEAT until the entire thing is over.

Yeah, poor you.  Poor you with a child who has the ability and the desire to participate in the arts or the sciences.  Millions of parents would give anything they’ve got to be in your shoes, and you would rather throw it away than take advantage of it.

How much would y’all bet that these same parents find no difficulty whatsoever in sitting for hours watching a sport?

I was often bored, watching an overlong school concert.  But I stayed for the whole thing.  I stayed for the whole thing because those children were far more important than anything else I might have wanted to do that night.

Why are so many parents so childish and selfish?  Childhood is such a brief fleeting moment in life; what kind of parents would CHOOSE not to watch every possible microsecond of it that’s possible to watch? Why do so many parents choose to stay home and watch Honey Boo Boo and her repulsive family instead of their own children? June Shannon’s kids are more important than your own? The Duck Dynasty family is more important than yours?  The Game of Thrones dynasties are more important than those children?  That awesome new series on Netflix is more important than a child?  What kind of parents choose those things over children?

I think we all know what kind of parents would make that choice.

Children singing their hearts out while adults are walking out so they can get home and watch tv and have a beer and put their feet up.  Such people are beyond my comprehension.

Children are singing for us; why don’t we even want to listen?

Oh yeah.  Football, Duck Dynasty, recliners, selfishness, and entitlement.

Quotation Saturday: The Magic that is Christmas


. . . because Christmas IS a magical time.

Mamacita says:  I love these days leading up to Christmas more than any other time of the year. I love the planning. I love the baking. I love the making lists. I love the shopping, which I actually do all year long. I love the Amazon super-secret-discount-deals. I love wrapping the boxes and decorating them with ribbons and glittery things.  I love the Christmas cd’s in my stereo.  I love getting out and using the Christmas plates and bowls and glasses. I love making my house look like a Christmas card. I love welcoming people into my home and sharing everything I have with them. I love watching Christmas movies, which I’m doing today, in fact; welcome to my Dickens’ A Christmas Carol marathon – updates Twittered regularly.  I know the book by heart, thanks to my father, and I’m quite critical of any movie version that takes too many liberties.  Any liberties, actually.  I mean, why diddle with perfection?  (Stupid scriptwriting doodlers. . . .)

Still the best Christmas story ever written. (fiction)

#25 is my favorite.  I think of it regularly.  It reminds me of my father, before the diabetes made him. . . different.  He used to read Dickens’ A Christmas Carol aloud to us when we were really little.  I loved it.  I loved the big words, and the three ghosts, and the lessons learned.  Dad would explain what the big words meant so next time we would understand the story even better.  We did, too.  “What is a doornail, Daddy, and how could it be dead?”  I loved hearing Dad read out loud.  He used to do it a lot when we were little.

Dad loved Christmas more than any little kid ever could.  He could shake a package and guess what was in it, and most of the time he was right.  He used to lie on the floor and just gaze at the tree.  His own childhood was pretty bleak; maybe that was why he threw himself into Christmas for his children so thoroughly.  The reading aloud might have been my favorite part.

1. There’s nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child. — Erma Bombeck

2. This is the message of Christmas: We are never alone. — Taylor Caldwell

3. Remember, if Christmas isn’t found in your heart, you won’t find it under a tree. — Charlotte Carpenter.

4. Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won’t make it ‘white’. — Bing Crosby

5. Christmas, my child, is love in action. — Dale Evans

6. My first copies of Treasure Island and Huckleberry Finn still have some blue-spruce needles scattered in the pages. They smell of Christmas still. — Charlton Heston

Every ornament contains magic and memories.

7. My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that? — Bob Hope

8. The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others’ burdens, easing other’s loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of Christmas.
— W. C. Jones

9. Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect. — Oren Arnold

10. The perfect Christmas tree? All Christmas trees are perfect! — Charles N. Barnard

Even the sad Charlie Brown tree was perfect in his eyes.

11. Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love. — Hamilton Wright Mabie

12. Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we’re here for something else besides ourselves. — Eric Sevareid

13. Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind. — Mary Ellen Chase

The best day of the year!

14. There has been only one Christmas – the rest are anniversaries. — W.J. Cameron

15. Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time. — Laura Ingalls Wilder

16. Instead of being a time of unusual behavior, Christmas is perhaps the only time in the year when people can obey their natural impulses and express their true sentiments without feeling self-conscious and, perhaps, foolish. Christmas, in short, is about the only chance a man has to be himself. — Francis C. Farley

17. Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen. — Author unknown, attributed to a 7-year-old named Bobby

Open us! Open us now! (bursting with magic!)

18. In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it ‘Christmas’ and went to church; the Jews called it ‘Hanukkah’ and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say ‘Merry Christmas!’ or ‘Happy Hanukkah!’ or (to the atheists) ‘Look out for the wall!’ — Dave Barry

19. When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time. Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs? — G.K. Chesterton

20. The message of Christmas is that the visible material world is bound to the invisible spiritual world. — Author Unknown

21. The Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot have a nativity scene in Washington, D.C. This wasn’t for any religious reasons. They couldn’t find three wise men and a virgin. — Jay Leno

22. The earth has grown old with its burden of care, but at Christmas it always is young. — Phillips Brooks

23. Nothing’s as mean as giving a little child something useful for Christmas. — Kin Hubbard

Are you kidding? Socks for Christmas?

24. Christmas – that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance – a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved. — Augusta E. Rundel

25. There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say, Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round — apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that — as a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it! — Charles Dickens

I say God bless it, too.  God bless all of you, too.  Every one.