Who is our sponsor?
Believe it or not, for the Holidays, it is you!
What message do you want to send out? Overwhelm? Pressure? The Blues?
Sponsors usually make people happy, because they give things to folks for free- and you usually get a cool T-shirt.
Since you are the sponsor for your own Holiday Experience here are some things you can give out for free:
1) A smile. Everyone likes them. Make it real, make it reach your eyes!
2) Laughter. Oh, yeah this one is contagious. It shakes the soul free from the mold of everyday life.
3) A hug. Make sure you know the person, and a hug is welcome, other wise, well the paperwork is horrendous, and you don’t get a T-shirt, but you do get bright orange baggy outfits.
4) Do something for someone else, take their shift so they can have a weekend off, carry groceries for a neighbor, watch your Sister’s baby for an hour, so she can have coffee with the girls. Take a kid to a PIXAR movie (Heck take a date, or your spouse to a PIXAR movie!)
5) Watch Groundhog Day, Notting Hill, and Crossing Delancey Street, Sleepless in Seattle, the Christmas Story, Miracle on 34th Street, and Scrooge with someone you love- that fills out a whole week of nice : “Movie Nights.”
6) Call people you love, and just say: “Hey, been thinking about you.”
7) Put the dollar in the doggone Salvation Army bucket, and make sure you talk to the guy or girl ringing the bell for a few moments. It may cheer up both of you.
8) Take just four , five dollar bills, and Christmas week, drop them near bus stops, or mall entrances, or waste baskets. Let someone have the joy of finding five dollars!
9) Pick the five people in your life who mean the most to you (or three, or one, or fifty) and pick out the perfect card for them, that you know, coming from you, will make them smile, laugh, or sigh.
10) If your Christmas is about your Faith, think about Him for a bit. If it is about sharing and caring, and presents, then give like you were Him.
There you go, you just sponsored your own Christmas! Merry Christmas, Kevin
Who is our sponsor?
RE: Snowflake. A Christmas Story by Kevin Hughes ( First of the “New stories”, I have written for this Christmas!)
See there isn’t a lot to do, if you happen to be a snowflake (which I am) and it is not snowing (which, it is not!) So, I sit here with billions just like me, well, not really, we are all different, stunningly different, really, but all just waiting to well, snow!
We just sit here in the clouds, playing weird games like : Frost, or Ice carving, or even Hail making. Hail is big stuff, but, man, there is no “Art” to them, you know? All muscle but no real grace of majesty to them at all. On the other hand, if you want to punch through a cloud more than seven miles high, and still be in one piece when you get to the ground, well, you need Hail.
The hail born don’t mingle with us often, as it is usually to warm for us, and way way to high. But we can make little hails, and they are fun since it takes like a thousand of us, or so, to lift them and throw them down the cloud.
Sometimes, you can see them zip by as they go back up the cloud, and they are screaming with delight. Yelling, and spinning, and waving at us as they dart by. Scaring us if they come to close, because if you brush up against one of those, well,you lose your shape, and then, well, you melt.
The big ones though, they are ice. We usually only get to see ice on the ground, and it is fun to pile up on the ice, and feel ourselves slide when a sleigh, or a boot, or a hoof, comes crashing down on us. It doesn’t hurt, as we do make a good cushion, well, unless we freeze.
I hate being frozen, to heavy to float, to cold to move, you just kinda crystalize…and that takes away the wiggle room, and then you get squeezed in with all your cousins. If there is enough of you, and enough pressure, and enough cold, well, you become a glacier.
What fun it that? To live 10,000 years, but in cramped quarters, with the same old, same old, flakes? Hardly moving, as stuff slides by you. No, thank you.
I am fine with our gentle fall to the ground, or a quick, but delightful, death on the tip of a tongue. The last thing you hear is a little giggle of delight, and you can almost feel the smile (at least that is what I heard. I mean, I haven’t even fallen from the sky yet.)
Oh, it is getting colder! Look, a mist is forming too. Oh, everyone is getting excited, look, there must be 100 billion of us or more! Oh, here comes the starburst ( You humans usually show him as the prototypical snowflake)- he isn’t. He is the biggest, the bestest, and the brightest and may have more than a billion of us under his wing. I do hope he is recruiting!
( A moment goes by, as the air gets thick with snowflakes)
Oh, he is recruiting! There is talk of a blizzard. Man, that would be cool. I have heard that if the Blizzard is big enough, you can get blown around for more than a week, and then live in giant snow piles for months. Oh, I hope…I hope…I hope..
Yeah!!! He just announced it, we are a Blizzard. Not just a Blizzard either- THEE Blizzard. Starbursts share the memory of all the Starbursts that have gone before them (we only remember the Winter) – and he says we are : “The storm of the Century mates. We are going to be in the Human record books, and have a year named after us: The Blizzard of 2013.”
Wow, my first storm, and I am going down in History. We are lining up now, I am getting my corners, and a nifty little scroll pattern on my diamond shape- wow, I thought I was pretty, but now, I am beautiful.
Starburst says the first few ranks will probably melt on the roads and sidewalks, and a few will end up on tongues. Most of us, will be in the second wave ( I am in the second wave) and we will become, according to starburst, more than 18 inches deep, in less than four hours!
Here we go, Big Flakes first, for an hour, then, the second wave…
The clouds are lowering, we are starting to fall…It is snowing! And, I, am a snowflake. It doesn’t get any better than this…weee…weee…yahooo!
Sent from my iPad
The Littlest Angel
The Angels sparkled, as they always did,silver and white- when pure, make a heck of a combination. If you then add height, almost perfect features- well, almost perfect by Angel standards: the wings become a natural addition, like superfluous beauty. Right at this moment, those wings on most angels were quivering.
The littlest angel did not even have wings yet, although the silver and white of him would have blinded a mortal. As angels go, he was rather short. In fact, he was the shortest angel of them all, and, well, you could by the embarrassing amount of sideways glances- he was missing his wings. None. Not even a nub. No silver feathers at all. A peacock with no tail.
The littlest angel is why all the other angels wings were a quiver. You see, some wanted to banish the littlest angel from their ranks. He had, after all, no height, and no wings! Therefore it tarnished the incredible beauty of the other angels. Other’s felt sorry for him, for his lack of glory, without even realizing that spoke more of their vanity, then his lack of it.
The littlest angel was alone. He knew it. When he watched humans, he learned what he felt from the other angels was: pity. He also knew what prejudiced meant now, he had experienced it, for he was prejudged by almost every angel he saw.
” I wonder…if humans exist to let us know what we can become, if we stop being beautiful to each other, instead of just looking beautiful to each other.”
That is the moment when he first met God. The littlest angels first thought was: “Oh, my God!” At which point, God laughed at the double pun. The littlest angels second thought was: “God’s not that tall either.” And he wasn’t. In fact, God looked a lot like the little angel,except His colors were Golden and not silver, and brilliant, not white. “Yes,” thought the littlest angel: “brilliant is a color when God wears it.”
God stood next to the littlest angel. After a few awkward moments had passed, the littlest angel said:
” God, why are you here?”
“I am everywhere. (They both chuckled again). I am here with you, because of your insight into humans. Tell me: what do you really think of them?”
The little angel was more than a little puzzled. ” God made humans, didn’t he? Why is he asking me? ”
On the other hand, God took the time to talk with the littlest angel, and most of the angels did not. With someone to finally talk too, all this thoughts tumbled out.
Let me tell you, when an angel lets it all out, a human heart would burst from the sheer joy of the sound, ears would be like tiny tea cups unable to hold the rain of notes, human eyes would go blind from the glow, and a human would die of unrequited love for the creature singing to him. There is a reason humans don’t hear angels on Earth…well, usually.
“I think they are both uncomfortable and comfortable with their imperfections. It seems that most of them, can, given time, learn to like someone who isn’t quite the same as they are. A few, I have seen, learn to love. I mean really love, with no regard for anything except for the person living inside that shell of a human body. They laugh and cry a lot, which makes me think those things may be connected somehow.”
The littlest angel glanced over at God. God’s eyes were closed, he was smiling. A small smile of wonder, like an infant has when it looks up at its mother, and realizes and knows: that is my mother. The littlest angel loved that smile.
“What else have you noticed?”
“Well, they are all the same- yet, they are not. ”
“Well, some are tall ( a little of the silver leaked out of the angel when he said this) some are not. Some are very pretty (and a little more of the silver leaked out from the angel) some are mean and petty (for some reason, a few Angels came to mind),others, well others- they make me feel good especially when they laugh. (When he said that, a bit of the whiteness in him got brighter).
“Oh, yes! Laughter! One of my better ideas. Maybe, second only to love.”
“Love. Yes, that is something all humans seem to want, even though they sure don’t know how to go about finding it.”
“How would you find it?”
God looked straight at, and thru the little angel. The Gold shimmered in the air like a solid bloc, and the brilliance made God blinding to all the heavenly host. All the Angels in Heaven knelt and cried, for they knew a judgment was coming- and they had not seen a judgment cast. Those Angels that had seen one, fell into one of two groups: those that were banished, and those that never mention it. Yet, all the Angels knew.
The little angel stood his ground, for even glowing like this, God was the same height as he was. For some reason, the littlest angel just thought God was being nice. He also thought that when God was glowing like this, it is better not to think, but to say the truth as you know it, so he did:
“I would stop looking for Love. I would simply become Love.”
God’s smile blinded the Universe. It drove particles in and out of existence. Angels wept with no vessel to hold their Joy, their will ruptured trying to let out all the glory. The little angel felt it all, like the rest, as God’s Song of Pure Love poured out…and out…and out…and even more. The Heavens sand and Universes flickered into existence.
In moments, or maybe…eons, it was over. The littlest angel was bewildered…he was…well….looking DOWN on God. In fact, he was looking down on the entire heavenly host. Angels who had ignored him before, suddenly swooned. He swiveled his head, only to find silver curls with tints of gold, blocking his view, and then the wings. Wings like no other in Heaven. Golden, like God. They were huge, and when he fanned them- he blew stars out into the void.
God looked up the littlest angel:
“Love transforms all.”
With that, the no longer little, no longer wingless angel, reached down and took God’s small, but perfect, hand in his. They walked towards the Heavenly host…that infants smile was on God’s face, and mirrored on the no longer little, no longer wingless angel. Together, they walked hand in hand, towards Earth. It was Christmas Morning.
These are the things I learned from my Mom and Dad, and other adults, all from a generation that knew some things. I do some of them, others, well, I slipped a bit. Here you go, wisdom from the Greatest Generation:
1) Eat a little bit of a lot of things.
2) Eat, breathe, and move- everyday.
4) Get your rest.
5) Take a day off.
6) Learn to fill your needs, not your wants.
7) If you can’t pay cash, you can’t afford it.
8) Please, Thank You, Good Morning (Afternoon, or Night), How are you? Please. I am sorry. You are welcome. Yes Ma’am. Yes Sir. May I help you. These are the words that act as social grease…use them well.
9) If you shook hands on it, the deal is done.
10) If it is worth doing, it is worth doing right.
11) Say what you mean, and mean what you say.
12) You have two ears and one mouth, use them in that proportion.
13) Don’t gossip, or speak ill of the dead.
14) If you can’t say anything good, don’t say anything at all.
15) Never buy on credit. (Oh, had I just remembered this one ! Insert sob here.)
16) Eat breakfast like a King, lunch like a Prince and supper like a pauper.
18) Never argue in public. Never swear at someone you love. Don’t yell at children.
19) Act married all the time (if you are married).
20) Find someone, or some thing, that you love. You will never be lonely.
That’s it. Just a few things I was raised with, but did not heed, or at least not all the time.
Okay, there are some truly smart people out there, and what they have done with their lives is nothing short of remarkable, then there are folks like me, and the guy in Arby’s: I was listening to some podcasts by both the Huffines Sports Medicine Institute at Texas A&M University ( Dr. Tim Lightfoot is the host there) an the TEDTalks- when I realized how bright these folks really are. In some cases not bright because of native intelligence, but bright because they did not give up until they understood something. You have to be very smart to admit you know little.
So, I wrote this little note to Dr. Lightfoot, after listening to a lady who treats Dancers injuries on Broadway, and a woman who is working on a wheel chair that allows all kinds of disabled folks to dance. Both stories will fill you with wonder, and in the one case, it will make your eyes shiny. For the one woman, although a dancer, invented a chair not only so “disabled folks could dance…” but, because at 12 she and her mother, became caretakers of her Dad, who was left brain-damaged and wheelchair bound. Instead of being despondent and a victim, she has spent more than two decades figuring out ways to make his life better, and others like him. Can you say: “Hero?” She is working with Veterans groups and disabled dancers…and man, what a talk. So here is the note I wrote to Dr. Lightfoot , after listening to these two powerful, fun, and smart women:
Positively brilliant to have everyone sit at the photo shoot! It shows how truly intuitive your connection to people is. Not many, including mois, would have thought of that. Good on you.
Second, yeah, it may have sounded to you- as the host, that you should have asked more questions of Merry Lyn, I can assure you, that as a listener, it was spellbinding, you let her flow, and she flowed. Of course, she is a dancer! I especially liked her three dimensional way of seeing “space”, and how that space can expose emotions, or lack thereof. Kind of reminded me of how you musicians see the space between notes, the silences, as music too.
Plus, knowing she was a dancer, who had to go home at 12 and lug a 6 foot two inch, two hundred pound brain damaged Dad into a tub, along with her mother- well, those aren’t the typical challenges that a kid has to fight through- and it is a completely different angst than she should have experienced.
It made me cry.
Suzanne, well, she is a ball of fire isn’t she? LOL Just her schedule would kill me. You and her had a lot in common, and I didn’t miss the little quick insight, that a lot of folks get into “science” simply because they want to do better at a sport, or dance. No wonder so many of your colleagues were ex athletes, or dancers!
Oh, yeah, those were two wonderful listens yesterday,both make you feel like an underachiever:
Huffines Sports Medicine Guest:
“I won this award, invented the chair, got a National Grant, and a Veterans Grant. Made a paradigm shift of vast proportions in the physically disabled movement parameters, and perform in National Venues, in my spare time, I volunteer for Broadway plays, and run a clinic.”
Kevin as guest:
“I got my drivers license on the first try.” (End of email)
Now, here is the other end of the spectrum the world I live in daily, but have to admit the clerk deserves a raise! I sent this story to my friend Bruce.
Bruce of the bewildered story,
Okay, Kathy and I go on a date (with coupon!) to a place that only sells Roast Beef sandwiches.
The guy in front of us opens this dialog with the clerk:
“I would like a burger and fries, please.
Clerk: “We can do the fries, but no can do on the burger. ” He smiles.
“Why no burger?”
” Because we make roast beef sandwiches, we don’t have burgers.”
“Why not?” in a puzzled voice.
Clerk (still smiling):
“Because, Sir, we only serve roast beef sandwiches, not burgers.”
A moment’s silence.
“What do you have against burgers?”
“Nothing sir. We just don’t serve them.”
“Well, you should.”
Clerk (still smiling, although now the manager is peaking around the corner, but not willing to come up and join in)
“No sir. We made a choice at the Corporate level to make only Roast Beef Sandwiches- and that is what our customers want.”
“I am a customer, and I want a burger.”
“Might I suggest, (and he points out the window at Wendy’s, and McDonald’s, clearly in view through the big windows) that you go to one of those restaurants , they have good burgers I hear.”
The man turns and looks out the window, turns back and says:
“Well, will they sell me a burger?”
“Well, then I shall go over there. Let me know when you sell burgers again.”
The Clerk Smiles:
“Yes, sir. Have a nice day.”
“Thank you young man. ”
And out the door he walks.
For the life of me, I cannot figure out what the guy was thinking, but I was proud of the clerk, and the simple fact that he was gracious the whole time. And he didn’t bring up the fact that Arby’s has never sold burgers.
I wonder what kind of brain damage or dementia, lets you ask for burgers at a place that only sells roast beef sandwiches, and be surprised when they don’t have them.
I ordered a roast beef sandwich, and was so tempted to ask for a burger. LOL
Of course, I once waited at an ATM while a drunk guy tried to order food, he thought it was a bit small for a drive through. LOL
Kevin at home with the strange folks…
Sent from my iPad=
It was the night before my show, and not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse….LOL
When I came across a Passenger. He had found out I was retiring, and asked me a bunch of questions. Turns out, he wants to retire in 2015.
So, during the conversation, he said he saw on an American cooking show, where the Chef asked folks what taste brings back their childhood. For the Chef, it was the smell of apples, and the taste of lamb. For the guy I was talking to, it was the smell of his Mother baking.
Funnily enough, I cannot, for the life of me, come up with a “taste” that brings back my child hood. Maybe cereal? LOL
But, I do remember smells. My sister’s coat when she found me frozen and wandering that one Xmas Eve. It smelled warm and safe, and had a hint of her in it.
I remember the smell of Ivory Soap. Of plastic Army men,even of a toy Tonka Truck I used to have. I remember the smell of Cold. I guess, I could also bring up the taste of snow, or of icicles. In fact, I just did. And popcorn with butter….wow, look at this! The smells and tastes of childhood, are coming back! Oatmeal, cinnamon toast, jelly. My winter coat. Sun block. The smell of water in a pool, and in the lake. Popsicles. Oh, my. My mother’s hair. The smell of small fireworks. A kitten. Oh, man, the smell of clean sweat. My blankets and sheets , and even the smell of cap guns going off.
I guess the Chef was right, you can taste your childhood. I can even smell my wagon, and my little scooter that had a kick stand. Garbage cans. Dishwater. How my street smelled, it was brick, and when they put tar down in Fisher Foods parking lot, I can remember that smell too. Dirt. Wow.
A taste of childhood, indeed.
Tomorrow, I do my last three shows on ships, and probably, ever. I feel complete. I am not anxious, but like I did with the childhood smells a moment ago, I am experiencing a flood of moments. They just keep pouring out, and rippling over one another, one leads to another, as a cascade of memories fight to be , well, remembered. I finally had to go down to a quiet spot, with no one around and let my thoughts surface as they wanted…I sat like a peaceful warrior, as the memories rose to the surface, burst in a bubble of thought, and settled back down in to the crowded tracks of my mind.
As I look back, I see my career as many roses, that have turned black with age, and the petals have surrounded the vase; having lost their color, but not their intent. It is a beautiful sight. Aged, still, but moving the soul to smile, and occasionally – smirk. Alone on a counter top, still holding their place in my heart.
So, I think I will close here. What does your childhood taste like?
Kevin, in a thoughtful, and peaceful place, a quiet pond to ripple tomorrow’s goodbyes from.
re: Meanings aren’t labels…the old saying: “Labels belong on cans.” Well, it is true, but labels allow us to sort out some stuff, and misread other stuff.
I got a new label three days ago: Retired. It is the most powerful label I have ever had, even stronger than the Autistic Label I garnered back in 2011- at sixty. Autism can be explained, and “normal” people can kind of understand, but retirement? Oh, dear. All your other labels are gone! No one cares anymore, because you don’t see them everyday, or work with them, or they need you to network, in a lot of ways, you just drop out of society. “What do you do?” “Er…nothing. I am retired.” You get that smile that says: “So, you are done contributing and just waiting around to die.” Neither of which is a true, by the way. Even dead trees contribute to the soil, and even retired people have a few blooms, and blossoms left in them. Work defines almost all Americans, and then your Family, and then your Faith, and then your achievements. Not now. Now, there is just you, and maybe your spouse – and the phone calls and emails drop off precipitously. In just a week. Wow.
It is like when you play on a team, and someone gets hurt, or you are a soldier, and a wounded brother gets sent back to Battalion Aide, the rest of the team, platoon, or world, has to go on without you. You are not on the playing field, or in the battle anymore. They are. They move on, and you, well, you have to adjust. Some will remember you, or your skills, others, well, they will tell stories to keep your memories or stunts alive, for a while. The label “Comic” no longer belongs to me. Nor does Cruising, flying, sailing, road warrior, lecturer, and a whole host of other labels. Society wants me out of the way in a warehouse, or even worse, could care less what I do, or don’t do- except for using up THEIR social security benefits.
It is remarkable to realize that you are free from labels. They drop away like the leaves in fall, some brightly colored and admired, some, just kind of damp and moldy. They all peel off. Leaving you a bare trunk, with only a hint of future growth. And that, my friends over sixty, is where life begins again. All those things you did because you were “supposed too”? Gone. All those things you thought were you, because you were doing them? Gone. That sense of just being busy with no purpose? Gone. Replaced by a feeling of wanting to know your purpose in life, of creating a new you, of discarding all labels, expectations, and demands. A time, and you have the time if you are retired, to just be. What that “be” means is only for you. Unique again, just like when you were born!
Soar my retired friend, soar into a day to spend your way, all day. If you get bored, it is you, and only you, who can find an interest, a passion, a place. Or, maybe not. You are retired. Get a cup of coffee and stare out the window and watch the birds play, smile, and think: “Cool.”
Okay, I am riding my bike around the Cape. I see two alligators, more than six feet in length…then I see about ten turtles on a stump in the water. I wonder how big the gators have to get, before they are removed. Then I see a giant turtle. I wonder if they are like the gators, and grow until they die. If you want to see a photo that looks like it should be a photo shop job, but is not; Google the biggest gator ever caught. So, I wonder how big turtles get, and I don’t know.
Then I see the Herons (Or Ibis) I am never sure, one is white, and the other is blue. Well, they are always by themselves, yet, since I was riding near dusk, I saw them head home to roost, in little flocks of six, or ten. So, how do they know when to join up? Just like Geese, they fly in that V formation, to draft each other, how do they know who is the leader, and when it is their turn to lead? Little things like this, occupy my mind, as I ride along.
Now, I see an old car pass me. It turns out to be a 1937 Ford. Not two minutes later, another classic car passes me. It turns out to be a 1970 Muscle car called: A Plymouth Barracuda. It has a spoiler, headers, and giant tires. Well, one car passing me might be chance, two classic cars…well, something is going on. I turn my bike around. It turns out, they belong to a Father/Son team. The Dad built the old Ford, because it was his first car, back in the day. He bought the one he restored from a barn up in Greenville NC, about seven years ago. It took him more than three years, and over 3,000 hours to get it to showroom condition. His son, decided to find and restore the car he loved in HS. In fact, it is the car he lost his virginity in! Yep, a Plymouth Barracuda. I asked him how that happened? He said: “Fast cars attract fast women.” It only took the son about a year to bring the 1970 car up to immaculate shape. As he says: I couldn’t even climb in the backseat now, let alone fool around. My back would go out way before I could get it out.” I should have taken pictures, but, I didn’t have my cell phone with me.
I go back out on the road, and lo and behold, I find a former Marine removing pampas grass (a tall bush that grows down here) from a guy’s front yard. The Marine, dug it out in less than two hours. I told him that would be a full day long job for most people. He said: “Most people didn’t dig a thousand fox holes in Iraq and Afghanistan.” I laughed. He said:”Yep, other than hard work, digging things up, or out, is the only skill I brought back to civilian life. ” And he smiled, and started digging on another one.
Then I pass a pregnant lady…I don’t say anything at first, because to quote Old Dave Barry: “Never tell a woman she is pregnant, unless you can actually see the feet dangling from the body.” I looked again, and she was truly pregnant. I stop and congratulate her. She thanks me and says: “I didn’t dilate enough, so they sent me home to walk for a while.” Ay Carrumba! I don’t want to deliver a baby on the street, so I pedal away as fast as my little feet would carry me. Which made me wonder about how tough women are, to even have babies! My wife had two, my daughter one (so far) and my mom , twelve. That made me wonder about the miracle of birth…and how anyone reading this, is lucky. They were born, and can read. Both are miracles to me.
So, on a little bike ride of less than an hour…my mind got a workout, my ability to wonder got a workout, and I got to Wonder at the wonder of it all. Smiles, Kevin