Archive for the ‘HOLIDAYS’ Category

He came!!!   1 comment

The old man in the red suit and the white beard came by last night! From a bottle of Zinfandel in a hand knitted sweater to 8 jars of Penzey’s spices from around the world to a 4 pound carrot cake, not to forget a tin basket filled with Almond Roca, Peppermint Bark, Cupcake cookies, Lindt Milk Chocolates, French Truffles among other goodies, a new camera plus a watch with a snowflake dial, 4 Poinsettia plants with additional ‘goodies’ looks like being a good boy paid off. I may try it for another year!

I was, pleasantly, surprised by how many snail mail cards I got this year as I thought they were a thing of the past but, obviously, some people still hold on to the old traditions which always bring a smile.

I hope he stopped by and said hello to you!

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Posted December 25, 2018 by greatmartin in HOLIDAYS, Uncategorized

As I sit here….   1 comment

waiting for Santa I was thinking of this year and realized I didn’t have a negative thing happen to me physically, mentally and/or financially and what can a human being ask for more than that? I did meet some new people, had a lot of improvements made to my apartment and, possibly, met someone ‘special’. Don’t know what Santa is going to bring me but in any case, so far I am a winner.

Hope you can say the same! Merry Christmas to all.

Merry Christmas 2018

 

Posted December 24, 2018 by greatmartin in HOLIDAYS, Uncategorized

Christmas in New York Part 3   1 comment

To me the Nativity scene, Santa Claus, the Rockettes, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Carols, Jingle Bells, snow, cold weather, horse and carriage rides in Central Park, the skating rinks in Rockefeller Center and Central Park, decorated store windows, hot chestnuts, etc., just to name a few things–ALL make up Christmas.

         
It’s 79 degrees outside but I can walk into a South Florida mall and see a Christmas tree, a kid sitting on Santa’s lap, watch another kid throw a fake snowball, hear “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” on the loudspeaker and it is Christmas for me!!!

     
Now my Christmas may not acknowledge Christ or any religious aspect that a Christian may but I feel as warm, as moved, surrounded by cheers of “Merry Christmas” or seeing pins on women’s clothes of lit up Santa Clauses as anyone can. I look around and I think of “Peace on earth, goodwill to men” whether it is looking at a Christmas wreath or a Hanukah bush.

       

 I was 16 and saw myself as a sophisticated man of the world with my cashmere leather-trimmed, falling just below the knee, overcoat, leather gloves, brown fur earmuffs and a cashmere scarf thrown around my neck in cavalier fashion about to take my first horse and carriage ride through Central Park with someone I had just met in the Oak Room of the Plaza hotel. I can tell you every inch of that ride and the beauty of being in the park in the middle of Manhattan surrounded by towering buildings sparkling like many colored jewels on a dark, snowy night three days before Christmas but I couldn’t tell you a thing about the person I was with.

         

  I started this series off by saying I probably will never experience another Christmas season in New York but my memories of such magical times in my life will be with me forever. Whether I hear a choir singing carols or “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” or “All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth” heard on the speakers in a mall or see and/or smell holly, mistletoe, a pine tree or a nativity scene or a menorah or Santa Claus or watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” an unforgettable time will come rushing to me.

         It is never too early for

“Peace on earth and goodwill towards men”

I hope that each of you who have never experienced the magic, the wonder, the awe, the excitement, the meaning of the holiday, get at least one chance to have Christmas in New York City.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NafDuZ1ukI

Posted December 23, 2018 by greatmartin in HOLIDAYS, Uncategorized

Christmas In New York Part 2   1 comment

The last time I was in New York City was in September 1985 and the last time I lived in New York City was 1969. I don’t see myself ever going back but there are certain times, certain memories I have of life in the city that will never go away and they all revolve around Christmas time, the week before, the day of and the week after. Nowhere in any city of the world is there the combination of magic in New York City especially if there are snow flurries or, maybe, an inch of snow blanketing the city and turning the lights into diamonds in the evening.

I still feel the cold nipping in my ears, my nose being red and my being on my butt more than on my feet, not to mention my mittens NOT keeping my hands warm but the wonder of ice skating in the Rockefeller Center, in the middle of Manhattan, under the glow and warmth of one of the tallest decorated Christmas (not holiday!!) trees standing in the shadow of one of New York’s most impressive buildings not to forget on the opposite side rows and rows of uncountable poinsettia plants. You are surrounded by people looking down at you from atop the perimeter of the rink plus all the people eating and drinking inside the restaurant that the rink is in the middle of and which you can’t wait to get a table, have a hot chocolate and look at the skaters falling on their butts and/or those gracefully doing spin after spin and all enjoying themselves as much as you did.

There is the afternoon you wait in line with thousands of other people to get into the cavernous and awe-inspiring Radio City Music Hall where you not only saw a movie like Doris Day in “I’ll See You In My Dreams” but an even more awe-inspiring stage show where there is the Christmas pageant featuring live camels, the Wise Men, a live reenactment of the Nativity that doesn’t fail to affect people of all religions or none at all. That is then followed by the amazing Rockettes who go from being wooden play soldiers to rocking to Jingle Bells and, of course, a visit from Santa Claus.


There is so much to do so what do you do next? Maybe buy a bag of roasted chestnuts and walk along Fifth Avenue looking in the store windows all decorated with to die for fashions and jewels? Oh, I know, I remember, walk down to Herald Square (I was able to walk in those days) where Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s try to outdo each other with season decorations and you relive “The Miracle on 34th Street” or wait, wouldn’t it be better to walk along Lexington and Madison avenues where you can buy flowers from outside stalls and look at the Christmas trees for sale while the cold goes through you and you stop for another hot chocolate? Hey, we can go to the New Hampshire bar on 57th Street (Is it still open?) and watch a ‘Northeasterner’ recreated behind the bar and stop by Carnegie Hall and see what/who is playing.

It’s early evening and it is still light enough to walk in Central Park where the snow covers the din of the city and makes everything feel pure, soft and, yes, Christmas like. It’s magic time in a city that at times can be cruel, unfeeling and devoid of magic but for two weeks in late December it is as if Tinkerbell cast her spell and fairy dust over the city and its people. It is two weeks that EVERYONE should experience at least once in their lifetime and I was lucky to experience it many times as I reached adulthood.


Don’t even get me started about experiencing falling in love for the first time during Christmas in New York—oh, get me started–let’s talk about going to the Plaza for a drink, having dinner in the middle of Central Park, taking a carriage ride–let’s talk about it in Part 3.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwacxSnc4tI

Posted December 22, 2018 by greatmartin in HOLIDAYS, Uncategorized

Christmas in New York Part 1   1 comment

NY 1

I very seldom repeat past posts but I get so tired at this time of the year regarding “Merry Christmas”, “Happy Holidays”, “Happy Hanukkah” and “Happy Kwanzaa”–I personally don’t care what you say as long as this time of the year means something to you for whatever reason. This is a 3 part series that I wrote for a paper years ago–hope you enjoy reading it again or reading it for the first time!

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I LOVE Christmas and have since the days stores didn’t decorate for the holiday until Thanksgiving weekend when Santa appeared magically all over town and the Salvation Army went out in force and didn’t take credit cards and the men stood by their big, black kettles ringing bells. It was back in the days when there were Christmas, not holiday, trees and people gleefully yelled “Merry Christmas”, not “Happy Holidays”.

I remember 73 years ago sneaking out to my front yard where we had a tall, huge fir tree and decorating it with balls and silver strips and my mother lamenting, & quote; “What will the neighbors think?” and I didn’t care. We lived on Bogart Avenue, between Lydig and Pelham Parkway, the dividing line between the Sharks and the Jets–for those who don’t get the reference it separated the Jews from the Italians and our block was made up of both.

I didn’t think of it as a religious holiday but as a time for peace towards all men. Way back then–in the ice age–you didn’t hear songs like “Jingle Bells”  until Thanksgiving weekend, certainly not in October as a theme song for a cruise line. The celebration of the Christmas feeling started when you heard Nat King Cole sing, “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…” from The Christmas Song or Judy Garland’s sweet, sad voice sang “Have Yourself a Very Merry Christmas” and, of course, wherever you went you heard Der Bingle (Bing Crosby) sing “White Christmas”.

Christmas wasn’t a religious time for a Jewish boy in New York but a time of cold weather, snow flurries, people running here to there with a smile on their face and everyone carrying wrapped packages with bows and ribbons. Of course I had an unfair advantage over my Italian friends because I, also, got to celebrate Hanukkah where children were given geldt (money) and went to the houses (apartments) of their grandparents who had immigrated from Russia and England and were surrounded by very large families and ate and ate and ate, because that is what Jews did on holidays, though I was to learn so did Greeks, Italians, Filipinos, Germans, etc.

Again, it wasn’t the religion of the holiday that attracted me to attend Christmas midnight mass at St. Patrick’s cathedral but the pageantry, the voices of the choir ringing out and the sound of the Latin language, again this was many years ago, echoing through the cathedral. I must confess–hey, it’s a Catholic church–that years later, in the 60s, Ronnie, Joe and I use to go for ‘camp’ reasons–to see Cardinal Spellman all dressed up in his finery, his red robes looking like a gown and, we thought, in all probability, hiding his red, ruby slippers.

None of this is meant, or said, in disrespect of the Christmas holiday and its true meaning but looking at an aspect of it that was open to all children who had imagination and loved to see their world almost become magical for 4 weeks–not like now where by the time the holiday comes around you are ready to scream if you hear one more Christmas song because you have been hearing them since August when you started getting the catalogs and the stores were decorated with wreaths and holly even before Halloween.

NY 2

NEXT, PART 2, A MAGICAL TIME/PLACE NEVER TO BE FORGOTTEN AND SHOULD BE EXPERIENCED BY EVERYONE AT LEAST ONCE–A MERRY, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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Posted December 22, 2018 by greatmartin in HOLIDAYS, Uncategorized

Santa and a cold wave are coming!   4 comments


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Who says we don’t have 4 seasons down here?!?!  Christmas lights, poinsettias, Santa’s face on doors, trees being decorated and it looks like we have another cold front coming in on Tuesdays with highs ‘only’ in the 60s but then it looks like California and the rest of the country is having it a lot worse than we are this year!

Posted December 8, 2018 by greatmartin in FORT LAUDERDALE, HOLIDAYS, Uncategorized

Your December Dartboard!   1 comment

With Hannakuh starting at sunset this evening and Christmas just 23 days away, we have a slew of nerve-wracking, tense, rushing around, never-ending times ahead of us so I am supplying this way of relaxing and taking everything out without hurt feelings to others.

Instead of food, booze, a caustic remark or other destructive behavior grab for a dart and if you miss aiming at a picture let out a few curse words and if you succeed in landing on the target put aside a few dollars each time or for each picture and on the first of the New Year buy yourself (or me!!!) something!

Posted December 2, 2018 by greatmartin in HOLIDAYS, LIFE, Uncategorized

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