St. Charles Is Coming!

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and MJ has been preparing for days!  Jonathon and Aaron and I have been her little helpers, I would say elves…but that is more appropriate for the day after tomorrow.

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Black Friday will mark our annual trek to St. Charles, Missouri to revel in the, Dickens, Christmas celebration.  Last year MJ was in such pain from her mis-aligned spine that we had already chosen to forgo our St. Charles visit, and had chosen a comedy show called ‘Martin and Martin’ with, Steve Martin and Martin Short,…and we were unable to attend that as well due to the debilitating pain that she was suffering.  Fortunately Aaron and Jonathon along with Jonathon’s good friend, Dawn and a friend of hers, were able to attend, and according to reports they throughly enjoyed the performance!

When I am in St. Charles…I suspend disbelief and subsequently I am swept away in time to the land of the famous Charles Dickens story, ‘A Christmas Carol,’ where, before my eyes there are, Tiny Tim and, his father, Bob Cratchit, along with Mr. Scrooge and the ghosts of Christmas, past, present, and future.

There is such a variety of Santa Claus and his ancestors that the mystique is mesmerizing!  Little children collect a card from each of the Christmas characters…and so do I!

Through the years I have had the tradition of purchasing, one, handmade Latvian miniature building, with a candle inside of it.  This is from a Polish shop where an elderly lady, probably my age, and her granddaughters work.  I fear that there will be no more houses or schools or barns or churches to buy this year, as she told us the year before last that the manufacturers were going our of their family business.

As you will recall, I love the, generous pour, of the Grand Mariner at the restaurant that we have our Reuben Sandwich at each year.  Aaron and Jonathon love the Trailhead Brewery, and have invited MJ and me to join them…but we are afraid that we might not be able to keep up.

I enjoyed a quality cigar, one year, from the cigar store…I may again?

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St. Charles has Chestnuts roasting on an open fire!

I have observed for over 20 years that the feeling of holiday and family and friends that I receive from our visits to St. Charles, exceed, by a lot, the feeling of being rushed and crushed by our former Black Friday visits to the Malls of St. Louis!

It dawned on me, many years ago, that the, allusive, search for happiness is found, at your own front door!’

The same could be said for working your fingers to the bone…once you retire from your employment and the well wishers are gone and the retirement cake is eaten…your name will soon be forgotten!

I heard a wonderful illustration that described the void that will be left by your retirement.  Fill a paid full of water…and place your hand in it and then withdraw your hand….Observe the hole that remains in the water?

Work is insidious and a fickle companion!  You may feel that it demands the lion’s share of your time and efforts and strength.  You may know that so many people are counting on you and your efforts and that they cannot make it without you.  But, at the end of the day, as my colleague John Hill told me many years ago, it is just a job!  The real purpose of life is to enjoy your family and loved ones and friends!

‘We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute.  We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race.  And the human race is filled with passion.  And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life.  But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.’    Dead Poets Society

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