A Brief Thought

During these difficult days, the conversation on social media and in the public square makes me weary. The name calling, the bitterness, the anger is childish. It solves nothing and helps no one. There is more that unites us than divides us. I am reminded of the words of John F. Kennedy about the Soviets, over fifty years ago, during another time of fear and mistrust, “We all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”

42 Gone but Not Forgotten

To celebrate my birthday, I decided to take a stroll down memory lane. I compiled a list of 42 memories of moments from my childhood that have gone by the wayside, are gone but not forgotten.

For better or worse, relegated to the “dustbin of history.”

Editor’s note: My list is my list. It is Northeast Philadelphia, with a touch of sports and politics. It contains names, places, and faces that impacted my life or those I knew, in some way, large or small.

Don’t be offended if you live in rural Pennsylvania and your school closed and I omitted it.

Also, I’m getting older, and as I age, I am forgetting far more than I remember. In other words, I may have missed something.

Here’s my list, Gone (or just about gone), but not forgotten and may it spark memories of your own:

  1. Conservative Democrats
  2. Liberal Republicans
  3. St. Bernard School, St. Leo School, St. Timothy School, Our Lady of Consolation School, St. Bartholomew School, St. Joachim School, Benjamin Crispin School
  4. Northeast Catholic High School for Boys and Cardinal Dougherty High School
  5. Sears Wish Book
  6. Philadelphia Stars, Philadelphia Phantoms, Philadelphia Wings, Philadelphia Kixx, Philadelphia Fury, Philadelphia Fever, Philadelphia Bulldogs, Philadelphia Rage, Philadelphia Charge
  8. Veterans Stadium
  9. JFK Stadium
  10. The Spectrum: America’s Showplace
  11. VCR, Betamax, 8Track, record players
  12. Atari, Sega, Colecovision, and Intelivision
  13. Jersey pig farmers picking up garbage pales weekly from driveways
  14. Heavy smoking in public areas
  15. Music videos on MTV
  16. PRISM
  17. Channel 48
  18. Cold War
  19. Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia
  20. Pathmark, Pantry Pride, PharMor, Carrefour
  21. Galaxy Arcade
  22. NWA, WCW, and GLOW
  23. Liberty Bell Race Track and Garden State Park
  24. A Kardashian was an attorney
  25. John Wanamaker’s, Clover and Woolworth’s
  26. Poloroid Instant Camera
  27. Playtown and Kiddie City
  28. The Bulletin, The Montgomery County Record and The National
  29. OJ was a football player and an actor
  30. Billy Penn Hat Rule
  31. A Woody was a station wagon
  32. “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” actually hosted by Dick Clark
  33. Orleans, Mayfair, and Devon Movie Theater
  34. Payphones and rotary phones
  35. Blockbuster and Video Village
  36. Pennypack Circle
  37. The Huckster (Strrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwbbberrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrieeeeeees!)
  38. Unorganized sports for children
  39. Styrofoam fast food containers
  40. First Pennsylvania Bank
  41. Electric Playground and United Skates of America
  42. Harry and Whitey: The Soundtrack of Summer

Tranquility and Perspective

I meant to post this yesterday:

A few weeks ago, as we were decorating the house for the Christmas season, I placed our Nativity scene, complete with the stable and all of the figurines, from the lowly shepherds to the Christ child.  The whole scene was arranged meticulously on a coffee table at a prominent place in my living room.  After we finished, I took a step back and admired the scene.  I imagined that this is how things may have played out over 2,000 years ago.  The scene was so beautiful, so serene, right down to the very last camel and the angel watching overhead.

The tranquility was interrupted by my two year old daughter.

She too was struck by the scene, struck by how it was right at eye level and how she could reach every blessed part of it.  Nothing escaped her grasp.  The attention to detail was disregarded as all of the figurines were piled into the corner of the stable.  During the chaos, one of her older sisters told her about the Nativity scene.  Later, she ran over with excitement holding the manager in her little hands and told me, “This is baby Jesus.”

For me, this was a remarkable Advent moment.  The childlike innocence of my daughter shined through when she excitedly discovered baby Jesus.  The quiet anticipation of the Advent season is often overshadowed by the frenzied pace of the Christmas season.  This busy time is all about balance and keeping focus.

My prayer and hope for you and all who you hold dear is that you find the baby Jesus at your own pace.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!