Showing posts with label Kirby Puckernut. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kirby Puckernut. Show all posts

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Random Musings

Els Mere Village

I've spent a lot of time in a foreign land lately. Kirby Puckernut lives on WordPress, and they speak a different language over there. After I post on Kirby's blog, I come back to Blogger whispering "There's no place like home, there's no place like home . . ." The icons along the top of the page are familiar, the publish post button is colorful, and save now is easy to find. Images don't jump randomly through the text, but land neatly where I want them to go.

My website is on Square Space, and I feel like a stranger there, too. It's a different culture. I love Blogger—plain old Blogger, not the new version. Why do they keep updating everything? Gmail changed things around just after I got comfortable, and Google Reader has a disappearing navigation system now. I'm an old dog and new tricks are confusing.

I'm getting tired of my ghosting gig. Writing is its own reward and I love putting words together, but it's difficult to write in another person's voice and wonder the whole time if I'm getting it right. Because they get the feedback, I never know. So far, however, people are more willing to pay me when my name's not on it. Just like William Porter—he was an ex-con and nobody wanted his name on stuff either. So he signed his work O. Henry. I guess Kirby Puckernut can work for me.

Since I pose as an elf, I did a little elfing myself today.

Oma's traditional Open Me Now package,
filled with trinkets, activity pages, stickers and bubblegum,
hit the assembly line.

Opa hit the post office line.

Back to my original theme: I love Blogger, I love blogging. And I love you for reading my blog, (even when it's totally random.)

Visit Kirby's blog
(See how music saved one family's Christmas.)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Yes Mom, There is a Santa

Art by Norman Rockwell

Today my alter ego, Kirby Puckernut, wrote a post answering the question "Is Santa Claus real?" (Personally, I've never doubted.) I love the true story of a little eight-year-old girl who wrote to the New York Sun in 1897 asking the same question.

“Quite naturally I believed in Santa Claus," said Virginia O'Hanlon. "He had never disappointed me. But when less fortunate little boys and girls said there wasn’t any Santa Claus, I was filled with doubts. I asked my father, and he was a little evasive on the subject.

“It was a habit in our family that whenever any doubts came up as to how to pronounce a word or some question of historical fact was in doubt, we wrote to the Question and Answer column in The Sun. Father would always say, ‘If you see it in the The Sun, it’s so,’ and that settled the matter.

“ ‘Well, I’m just going to write The Sun and find out the real truth,’ I said to father.

“He said, ‘Go ahead, Virginia. I’m sure The Sun will give you the right answer, as it always does.’ ”

And so Virginia sat down and wrote her parents’ favorite newspaper.

Her letter found its way into the hands of a veteran editor, Francis P. Church. Son of a Baptist minister, Church had covered the Civil War for The New York Times and had worked on the The New York Sun for 20 years, more recently as an anonymous editorial writer. When controversal subjects had to be tackled on the editorial page, especially those dealing with theology, the assignments were usually given to Church.

Now, he had in his hands a little girl’s letter on a most controversial matter, and he was burdened with the responsibility of answering it.

“Is there a Santa Claus?” the childish scrawl in the letter asked. At once, Church knew that there was no avoiding the question. He must answer, and he must answer truthfully. And so he turned to his desk, and he began his reply which was to become one of the most memorable editorials in newspaper history.

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

By Francis P. Church, first published in The New York Sun in 1897.

Dear Editor—

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O’Hanlon

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see . . .

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment . . . the eternal light of childhood that fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world . . .

Santa Claus! He lives and will live forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Kirby said that Santa is as real as you want him to be.
I want him to be very real!
(I can't imagine getting Christmas ready without him.)

What do you think?
How do you answer the question
"Is Santa Claus real?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Extended Family Christmas

Glancing at each other with sucked in grins, we tried not to giggle out loud. Our feet didn't touch the floor as we left the doctor's office that December 11, 1969, and burst out laughing, hugging each other before the door closed. It was true! Next year we would be known as Santa Claus to someone! We were going to have a baby.

We'd been married three months, and it was our first Christmas together. We were still kids ourselves, 20 and 23, and we were over the moon with excitement. Our own family. How could we celebrate such an eternal occasion? With an evergreen tree!

It fit in the corner of our 8' x 35' trailer (we're talking a pretty skinny tree) but it was green and crisply frozen; when it thawed out we swooned with the smell of fresh pine. We couldn't afford lights or ornaments, so we were creative. Strands of popcorn, and tissue paper snowflakes were hung, along with Christmas cards held on by fat red yarn bows. Even the cost of a package of cranberries stretched our budget too far, so Dee surprised me by stringing red pyracantha berries from the bushes near our mailbox. They shriveled within hours, so every morning he threaded new ones for fresh garlands.

Over our forty two Christmases we've had a forest of Christmas trees, but no tree stands out in my memory like our first one. It was like our marriage: it represented love, hope, effort, dreams and new traditions.

Christmas Eve we announced our good news by singing at the family party:
♬For unto us a child is born; unto us a son/daughter is given. ♬

(We each sang our own prediction.) It was snowing, so we left early and drove home for our own cozy celebration. After reading the Christmas story in Luke 2 we hung our brand-new, home-made stockings on the knobs of the stove and went to bed.

I'll admit, I wanted to stay at my mom's that first year, until I saw Dee's enthusiasm for our own Christmas. I couldn't imagine being away from my family on Christmas morning. Mom's Christmases were something from a fairytale, and Dad always had surprises on top of surprises. It took us a couple of hours to open our presents, and then our grandparents arrived with more. There were fires in both fireplaces, Mom made a lovely buffet in the dining room and Dad gave away cash prizes during football half-times.

I felt torn. I was the first kid to leave home and miss the big family event, and my parents were urging us to stay overnight. (Urge is a mild word—it was somewhere between insist and command.) They didn't support my new family when it upset their old family traditions. I felt traitorous choosing my little family over theirs, and I resented them for making it awkward to choose. I don't think that was their intention, but it was the result. Their lack of enthusiasm for our humble celebration encouraged me to resent Dee for hauling me away from their warm hearth to our chilly coal-oil hot plate.

I'm sure many newly-weds experience the same tug-of-war between childhood memories and adult responsibilities. It's easier to stay in mom and dad's Garden of Eden, than venture off into the cold and dreary world and work to plant a garden for ourselves. But it's a main part of the plan of happiness.

I love the quote that advises parents to "Hold your loved ones to you with wide open arms." It was our turn to start traditions, and Dee was anxious to have our first year together as just a couple—we'd never have it again. My folks were hurt and mad, as they often were when we began "tearing their family apart," (mom's words.) During those years we wondered: Why do we have to debate and defend our efforts to strengthen our marriage and home to our own parents, who ought to be thrilled we're trying to do that very thing!

I had wonderful parents, but they viewed me as theirs, even when I wasn't anymore. It caused a lot of stress, sapped my confidence, created conflict between me and Dee, and resulted in hard feelings that were difficult to overcome. From that first year we started setting goals for when we had adult children, hoping to avoid adding pressure and anxiety to our kid's lives.
  1. We will be enthusiastic and support their choices, always, and congratulate them on making tough decisions, never second-guessing.
  2. We won't throw cold water on their dreams with all our supposed wisdom.
  3. When we tell them they're so awesome, they could do anything, we'll actually let them do the thing they choose to do.
  4. We'll remember it's their life—their chance to make decisions (even wrong ones,) their chance to set priorities, their chance to learn it all line upon line, here a little and there a little, and our chance to stand back and enjoy it all from a distance.
  5. We will plan for and develop interests that will keep us occupied so we don't have tons of free time to try to live their lives for them. We'll be available when they want us, and thick-skinned when they don't.
I started stressing over next-year's holiday the day after Christmas. How could I explain to mom how we felt, and not have it turn into a debate or a lecture? Or worse, hurt-feelings and comments like, "Grandma said she hopes she dies before you stop coming to the Christmas Eve party."

There was no understanding of the difficulty of dragging seven kids away from their Christmas whatever and keep them entertained (during the most hyper time of year) and well-behaved in a beautifully appointed house full of valuable keep-sake decorations, surrounded by a bunch of adults the kids don't know and who are annoyed by the chaos kids live in.

I've gotten carried away. It's 4:00 am and I'm leaving for Denver at 8:00 am! You're going to have to carry on this discussion! What do you think? We need opinions from all sides of the issue. Comment!!!

And, on a more festive topic: Where do you find Christmas magic? I'm ghostwriting a blog this season—my pen name is Kirby Puckernut and I'm one of Santa's elves. Click here for a sleigh full of fun Christmas ideas! Please visit—Kirby's more light-hearted than me today!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ghost of Christmas Present

I'm the ghost of Kirby Puckernut. He's a real guy—a real elf, I should say—and Santa Claus put him in charge of a blog this year. (They're trying to put the North Pole on the map, I guess.) Anyway, Kirby got hold of me and in a very high-pitched squeak asked if I was really a ghostwriter. I assured him I was, and he squeaked, "Will you be mine?" How could I resist?

It turns out Kirby is the star of a darling new Christmas book about Christmas magic, and Santa has received zillions of letters from folks asking for tips. With the Christmas rush and all, there just wasn't time for Kirby to learn the intricacies of blogging, so I've been entrusted with Santa's secrets. I'll be posting them on Kirby's blog every Thursday from now 'til Christmas.

But I'll let you in on a secret—I need your secrets. Do you have unique ways of creating Christmas magic? Here are some questions for you to mull over with your cider:
  1. What is Christmas magic?
  2. What unique Christmas traditions bring magic into your home?
  3. What do you say to "Is Santa Claus real?"
  4. What about the Christmas when everything went wrong?
  5. What's the most stressful thing about Christmas?
I'd love to hear your secrets! Since I'm just Kirby's ghost, I can't give you credit for your ideas on his blog ("The secret of creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."—Albert Einstein) but you'll get full credit here on mine!

Leave a comment, or a link to your post.