Looking Back – Christmas 2017
In previous Christmas messages I always looked back on the previous 12 months. This Christmas I’m a little nostalgic and will look back on more of my life than just 2017.
Over halfway thru my 86th year I know who I am and conclude that I’ve had a pretty good run at life. So it feels safe to look back. I grew up at the best possible time, a time when the world was getting better, not worse. But time seems to be moving faster now and I’m becoming more aware of the passing years.
There are a few things I want this Christmas – none of which money can buy.
- Time with my grandparents. Only one was alive when I was a kid and he didn’t speak English.
- To meet the gang at the St. Ambrose churchyard for sandlot football or trace a baseball diamond on an empty lot and chose up sides for a game.
- To participate in my grade school graduation. There were 99 of us in the Class of 1946, and to my recollection, no one stood out and no one was excluded. I look back on those years as the ones that formed my character and how grateful I am to all of my classmates, priests and nuns with whom I shared those times.
- To sling my clubs on my shoulder and hitchhike with Tom, Jack and Sheldon to Durand Eastman for 36, and sometimes more, holes. We bought clubs one-by-one from a barrel in a sports store. Our golf balls were used ones we bought for nickels or found. That began a lifelong passion for the game that continues today.
- To leave home in the morning and play outside all day, as long as we were back when the street lights came on. On our own. No little league. No Pop Warner, or other parental supervision. If you showed up late, you might not get to play. Those who didn’t had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!
- To see Sylvia for the first time. Across the room at a Monroe Y ski club meeting so many decades ago. OH MY!
- To sit next to our tree and read “The Night before Christmas”. First to our four, well into their teen years, and later to the grandkids.
- To cheer at a victory parade in 1945.
- To go to a Saturday double feature with cartoons and a Flash Gordon serial – for a dime.
- To see Frank Sinatra in a live performance. It only happened once.
- To go to a parish dance on Friday night.
- To confess to sins that only Catholics could commit. Like eating meat on Friday or missing Sunday Mass.
- One more winter party at Colgate with a Dixieland band playing in the basement bar. Maybe without the hangover.
- A warm place for the homeless this Christmas season.