All About Family

E6EA258A-8877-46FB-BD33-ECA4B86C9D1FTeresa, otherwise known as The Haunted Wordsmith, or alternatively, the Queen of Questions, has asked a new series of questions about family on this Christmas Eve.

Here are her questions and my answers.

  1. Which fellow blogger do you consider the wise elder that you turn to for sage advice? At my advanced age, there are few bloggers who are my elders, but I often find pearls of sage wisdom from Marilyn Armstrong over at Serendipity.

  2. Which fellow blogger is the younger sibling that you want to mentor? I don’t really feel that it’s my role to mentor other bloggers, but I’ll be happy to answer any questions about blogging that any newer, younger bloggers might wish to ask me.

  3. What is one activity that your family used to do as a Christmas/winter tradition? We’d all get together for a Christmas Day brunch, then go out to a movie and to dinner at a restaurant that is open for dinner on Christmas night.

  4. Do you have a relative that is never invited, but always seems to show up at family events? Fortunately, no.

  5. What family activity do you wish people still practiced? Conversation without the TV on, smartphones in use, or arguments about politics.

  6. You can take your family anywhere in the world…where do you take them? To someplace sunny and warm.

  7. Do you value family or friends more? Yes.

  8. Is there a family member that you resemble more than your parents? No. I’m tall and everyone else in my family, including my parents and siblings, were short. My son, though, is tall and lean and resembles me.

  9. Are there any interesting ancestors in your family tree? None that I’m aware of.

  10. What is one thing that shocked you about your family tree? That my parents weren’t born where I thought they were born.

  11. How far back have you traced your family tree? Three. Before that things get kinda fuzzy.

  12. What are your family rules at games (like Monopoly, Uno, etc)? Everyone gangs up on Dad (me).

  13. What is your favorite story about families (or that has a family in it)? I don’t know. Swiss Family Robinson?

  14. What Christmas/winter tradition did you start as an adult? Playing board/card games at home on New Year’s Eve.

  15. What is your favorite commercial or tv episode that featured a family? I’ve really enjoyed the sitcom “Life in Pieces,” but it didn’t return this fall and it may have been canceled.

  16. Which TV family did you want to be a part of? I can honestly say that there has never been a TV family I would have wanted to be a part of in real life.

First Line Friday — A Christmas Memory

946926EA-DDD6-4F34-BB0D-208B286F56D8The radio was playing the oddest song. David got a little choked up when he heard “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.” It was the original version from 1952, sung by the 13-year-old Jimmy Boyd.

“I’ve never heard that version of that song,” his wife, Elaine, said. “Didn’t the Jackson 5 record this?”

“Yes, but this version was the original,” David said. “I was just a kid when I first heard the song and I loved it. I remember seeing Jimmy Boyd sing it on the Ed Sullivan Show and was I so impressed.”

“So why do you look so sad?” Elaine asked.

“It was Christmas Eve and I was about five,” David said. “I was up in my bedroom and remember hearing some commotion coming from the living room. So I sneaked downstairs hoping that it was Santa Claus putting presents under the Christmas tree. But I saw my mother hugging and kissing a man.”

“Oh, that’s so cute,” Elaine said. “You thought you saw your mother kissing Santa Claus, when in fact it was your father she was embracing. Aw, what a wonderful memory.”

“Well, the thing is,” David said, letting out a heavy sigh, “my father was deployed in Korea at the time.”


Written for the First Line Friday prompt from Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie.

For those who are interested…

Informed Delivery

Informed Delivery

A letter from my college alumni association
An invoice from the gas and electric company
A bill from the dentist
A solicitation from a local ISP to change internet providers
Yet another letter from the AARP asking me to join
An invitation to get a new low interest credit card
A coupon from my local hardware store

These are some of the items that showed up in my mailbox this past week. I actually don’t get that much physical mail from the US Postal Service delivered to my mailbox these days. Most of what I do receive consists mosty of catalogs, solicitations, and junk mail, along with periodic, unwelcome bills and the one hard copy magazine I still subscribe to.

Even so, when I received a post card last month from the USPS telling me about a new service in my area, I was intrigued. This new service, dubbed “Informed Delivery – Email Notification,” would send me an email every morning with black and white images of the front of the actual envelopes that would be delivered to my home that very afternoon. Neat, huh?

So I signed up. After all, my mail usually isn’t delivered until very late afternoon and sometimes not until early evening. I think my mailman likes to sleep in. Wouldn’t it be cool, I thought, to learn via an email early each morning what I otherwise wouldn’t find out until many hours later?

And so, starting a few weeks ago, I began receiving emails at around 8:30 each morning with these envelope images. I got a kick out of seeing what was going to be delivered to my mailbox much later that same day. To me it was like experiencing time travel or having a special prescience about an event yet to have happened.

I’d say to my wife, “Hey honey, guess what we’re going to get in today’s mail.” At first she seemed mildly interested in hearing what was going to be delivered, albeit not nearly as excited about it as was I. By the third day, though, she seemed not to care at all.

I must admit that, after only a few weeks, the novelty — even for me — wore off. In a way, it’s as if, when you were a kid going to bed on Christmas Eve, your parents handed you an itemized list of the Christmas presents that you would find under the tree when you woke up on Christmas morning. Way to ruin Christmas, Mom and Dad!

I miss the anticipation of going to my mailbox each afternoon to see what the mailman brought me. It was something to look forward to late in the day. Still, I’m going to continue to get my early morning notifications. If it ever gets to the point where getting the early morning heads-up takes all the joy out being surprised by whatever mail shows up in my mailbox each afternoon, I’ll stop the USPS emails.

But right now it’s time to check my email to see what’s coming to my mailbox later today!