Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve Wisdom

Sign seen in a store window at the Houston Galleria:

He who procrastinates
gets the best deals.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Father's Loving Gifts Gives Us an American Christmas Classic

Note:  My favorite holiday story--I post this every year.  Enjoy!

A guy named Bob May, depressed and broken-hearted, stared out his drafty apartment window into the chilly December night. His 4 year-old daughter Barbara sat on his lap, quietly sobbing.  Bob's wife Evelyn was dying of cancer. Little Barbara couldn't understand why her mommy could never come home. Barbara looked up into her dad's eyes and asked, "Why isn't Mommy just like everybody else's mommy?" Bob's jaw tightened and his eyes welled with tears.  Her question brought waves of grief but also of anger.

It was the story of Bob's life.  Life always had to be different for Bob.  Being small when he was a kid, Bob was often bullied by other boys.  He was too little at the time to compete in sports. He was often called names he'd rather not remember.

From childhood, Bob was different and never seemed to fit in. Bob did complete college and married his loving wife and was grateful to get his job as a copywriter at Montgomery 
Ward during the Great Depression. Then he was blessed with his little girl. But his happiness was short-lived.  Evelyn's bout with cancer stripped them of their savings and now Bob and his daughter were forced to live in a two-room apartment in the Chicago slums.  Evelyn died just days before Christmas in 1938. 

Bob struggled to give hope to his child for whom he couldn't even afford to buy a Christmas gift.  But if he couldn't buy a gift, he was determined to make one--a storybook.

Bob had created the animal character in his own mind and told the animal's story to little Barbara to give her comfort and hope.  Again and again Bob told the story, embellishing it more with each telling.  Who was the character?  What was the story about?

The story Bob May created was his own autobiography in fable form.  The character he created was an outcast like he was.  The name of the character?  A little reindeer named Rudolph with a big shiny nose.

Bob finished the book just in time to give it to his little girl on Christmas Day.

But the story doesn't end there.  The general manager of Montgomery Ward caught wind of the little storybook and offered Bob May a nominal fee to purchase the right to print the book.  Wards went on to print the book and distribute it to children visiting Santa Claus in their stores.  By 1946 Wards had printed and distributed more than six million copies of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  That same year a major publisher wanted to purchase the rights from Wards to print an updated version of the book.  In an unprecedented gesture of kindness, the CEO of Wards returned all the rights back to Bob.

The book became a best seller.  Many toy and marketing deals followed and Bob May, now remarried with a growing family, became wealthy from the story he created to comfort his daughter.

But the story doesn't end there.  Bob's brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, made a song adaptation of Rudolph.  Though the song was turned down by such popular vocalists as Bing Crosby and Dinah Shore, it was recorded by Gene Autrey.  "Rudolph the
Red-Nosed Reindeer" was released in 1949 and became a phenomenal success, selling more records than any other Christmas song, with the exception of "White Christmas." The gift of love that Bob May created for his daughter so long ago kept on returning to bless him again and again.  And Bob May learned the lesson, just like Rudolph, that being different isn't so bad.  In fact, being different can be a blessing.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Introducing Myself

My name is Cassie.  I'm seven months old.  My mom tells me I was a replacement for her orange cat, Mango, but now she loves me for myself.  Everyone said she should get a new cat after Mango died, and one afternoon her friend Jeanne called to say she'd seen me at Petsmart, so that's where I came from.  I'm not sure where I was from originally, but who cares? 
I spent my first week barricaded behind the toilet but now I go all over.  Mostly I follow my mom around when she's home because she's the one who feeds me.  At night I sleep with my head on her shoulder.  I'm a very affectionate kitten.  I weigh seven pounds and I like to eat so I'm growing fast.
Facts about me:

Original name:  Tootsie.  Thank goodness my mom changed it.  Not classy enough for me.

Favorite book:  Felines of New York

Favorite food:  Anything, but I usually dine on Iams Kitten food.

Favorite star:  Henri, Le Chat Noir.  I watch him on Youtube.  He speaks French, but there are subtitles on his videos.

Favorite poem:  From Poetry for Cats
To a Vase, by Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Cat

How do I break thee?  Let me count the ways.
I break thee if thou art at any height
My paws can reach, when smarting from some        slight,
I sulk or have one of my crazy days.
I break thee with an accidental graze
Or twitch of tail, if I should take a fright.
I break thee out of pure and simple spite
The way I broke the jar of mayonnaise.
I break thee if a bug upon thee sits.
I break thee if I'm in a playful mood,
And then I wrestle with the shiny bits.
I break thee if I do not like my food
Or if someone thy shards together fits,
I'll break thee once again if thou art glued.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Books of November

A book by Margret Atwood that is part of the Hogarth Series, modern takes on Shakespeare's plays, this one based on The Tempest.  A failed director stages his own take on The Tempest in a prison with prisoners as actors to get revenge on the people who deprived him of his job.  B+.

A beautiful and inspiring book about the author's experiences as a hospice chaplain.  I bought a hard copy after I read it on Kindle.

The blurb on Amazon called it emotional thrilled..  I thought it was disgusting, my pick for the gross book of the year.  Don't waste your time.

A true crime story about the Yogurt Shop murders that took place in Austin in the Nineties.  The first part was engrossing, the second part about the trials of the alleged killers was boring, and the conclusion is that no one knows what really happened.  My interest lasted for about 1/3 of the book.

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