Archive for the ‘HOLIDAYS’ Tag

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS AGAIN?!?!?!   Leave a comment

Is it that time already? Again? Well we are thinking about it now. Go on a diet. Walk a couple of miles a day. Exercise. No more sweets. Cut back on bread. Cut up the charge cards. Write more often. Call. Do this and that. Don’t do this and that.

Yes that tradition known as New Year’s resolutions. Almost the same as that tradition of breaking New Year’s resolutions.

When I was younger I made resolutions and, like you, I broke them. At one time I made a resolution to break whatever resolutions I made. In 1985 I decided no more New Year’s resolutions and I haven’t made any since. Well I didn’t make them New Year’s Eve or Day but I found myself making them during the year. Just a few months ago I decided to put X amount of dollars a month aside for my Leap Year birthday party on Monday, February 29, 2016, and I have been doing that.

There is nothing wrong with making resolutions but why the same ones all the time? Wait, the blog sites will be loaded with “I am going to lose weight”, “I will join the gym and exercise” posts and they will eagerly tell you how great they are doing and then they will confess there first ’cheat’ and will rationalize it away and tell you they are going right back, that they are not giving up. Funny but by February you won’t read a post about diets, exercise, losing weight, getting healthier.

How about something different this year? Don’t make any resolutions, don’t talk about what you are GOING to do–JUST DO IT! Then in July or even better in December, 2015, tell us what you did since January!


Posted December 31, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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It’s all over! Well until next year! For some people it isn’t over until Monday January 5 when they take the tree down but for all practical purposes Christmas is done. It would be nice if the feelings lasted and were shared all year but that isn’t the way it works. The attitude of the salesperson who will handle the gift you brought back to exchange will be completely different then when she sold it!

For those who save the wrapping paper and ribbons it is time to fold them, roll them and put them away. All the pots, pans and dishes you use for only this time of the year go back into storage. Today you have to think about that person who sent you a gift that you didn’t get one and then there are the Christmas cards and the lists taking off those who didn’t send you one this year and adding the new ones who did.

It’s time to start cleaning up the mess every holiday brings plus what you neglected the past two weeks because you were too busy to get to them. You certainly have to clean and straighten out the freezer plus the refrigerator unless you have a male teenager at home and then you have nothing left to store.

And, yes, you have to write those thank you cards though nobody but you still do that. Along with everything else you have to undo all the spoiling the grandparents did regarding your kids or if you are the grandparents you have to rest up from all the energy you expanded trying to keep up with the grandkids.

Also there are all those after Christmas sales that you planned on to buy the few things you want/need that you knew you wouldn’t or didn’t get but do you really want to fight the almost bigger mobs going to the malls, the stores for the few things they wanted or wanted to return?

With all that you are so glad you are old because you know you don’t have to bother with New Year’s Eve! It’s for the young kids, the young couples, the ones who won’t fall asleep before the Ball on television will drop to start 2015. When did you stop celebrating New Year’s Eve? When did you first utter that you didn’t want to go out with all the drunks that would be driving? When did you decide that staying at home on December 31st was better than fighting the restaurants and bars that would be crowded and noisy?

You look around and for a few minutes the house/apartment is quiet and it is as if the whole world is recovering from Christmas, Hanukkah and though Kwanzaa starts today it really hasn’t become that entrenched in American tradition to become a ’headache’ like the other holidays do.

For some reason you will find yourself smiling for no reason–just because it is ’that time of the year’–and you sigh thinking how fast time is going and wonder how soon the stores will start with their ’Christmas is coming’ ads, displays and Christmas music will be blaring out of speakers wherever you go and then there is that smile again. You really can’t wait!

Posted December 26, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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CHRISTMAS IN NEW YORK PART 2   Leave a comment

Herb and I did all the New York things
that tourists do. We walked down 5th Avenue stopping to look at Tiffany’s windows and then went to see the Saks-5th Avenue, Lord and Taylor’s windows eventually walking down to Macy’s just looking in the windows. (57th Street to 34th Street? OMG! 23 blocks there and 23 blocks back. No way could I do that today!)

Over the next few days we walked to Times Square where I showed him the Lyric movie theatre I had worked as a teenager and then to Greenwich Village my showing him where I use to spend my time in the baths, the bars of which many were not that anymore, the restaurants I worked in and the ones I loved to eat in. We stopped at The Stage Deli and he couldn’t believe the size of the ‘Hymie’s Special’ sandwich. One night we ate in my favorite restaurant in the world Marchi’s. We took a Circle boat tour around Manhattan that I had never done before and it was magic.

Christmas Eve we went to St. Patrick’s cathedral for midnight mass and I told him about doing the same as a teenager and how taken I was by the pageantry and choir and the ‘theatrics’ of the mass. I told him about Cardinal Spellman who had been a powerful political figure and was known to cruise Rockefeller Center downstairs bathroom. I think it was the next day that we went to see the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Show with the Rockettes. I know we went to see a Broadway show but for the life of me I don’t remember which one.

And then the magic started–the snow came. It wasn’t a blizzard but enough to make the city romantic. We took a carriage ride in Central Park and we walked up Central Park West and I showed him where I had lived on 75th Street. We even walked arm in arm and though the ‘gay revolution’ had taken place that still wasn’t a smart, safe thing to do but we both felt invisible.

Of all we did the most magical part is something you have seen in movie after movie but we did it. We ice skated in the Rockefeller rink, my falling on my butt a few times and we had a hot chocolate and walked around looking at the lights and decorations.

I can see us walking up the path between the rink and 5th Avenue enjoying the snow and each other. I can see him dressed in his Christmas sweater that he bought at Macy’s and his black trousers and jacket–I can see it all this 40 years later but I don’t remember his name. I wasn’t taking pictures back then but I have a feeling I do have a picture from that time and I am going to search for it. I might be lucky and see that I had put his name on the back of the photo.

Did he leave New York first or did I? Was that when I had to get back to Memphis because Bernie was up to something? I don’t remember nor do I remember when we left and went on our own way never to see each other or talk to each other again.
I hope he has/had a good life.

If you haven’t done it put ‘visit New York City the last two weeks of the year’ on your bucket list. With or without snow it is a must see/must do beautiful and, yes, a magical time felt no where else.

Posted December 22, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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CHRISTMAS IN NEW YORK PART 1   Leave a comment

I have lost my diaries from the mid 1970s so most of this is from memory and a few things may be wrong but one thing I am certain of is that it was the most perfect ten days of my life.

It started off as a disaster because I knew that since the personal relationship with Bernie was over the business relationship was going to sink also and I didn’t know what I was going to do. I needed to get away and I wanted to run back to where I had escaped from just 5 years before. As Bernie would remind me I left Manhattan with very little and was now a big fish in a small pond.

I had money now so I booked a first class ticket to New York city and booked a room at the Plaza, across from Central Park and facing 5th avenue, both of which were hard to get two days before Christmas Eve. I checked into the hotel, unpacked and decided before I called anyone or did anything I would go down to the Oak bar and restaurant and have a drink. I know what follows sounds like a Hollywood movie script but it did happen. We met ‘cute’.

Sitting at the bar drinking my Haig and Haig Pinch on the rocks a guy sat on the stool next to me and ordered a Haig and Haig Pinch on the rocks. I wouldn’t have stopped myself even if I could but I told the bartender to put it on my tab and the guy and I started to talk. This may sound crazy but I can remember some very intimate details but I have no recollection of his name! Not for any particular reason let’s call him Herb.

Herb and I talked for awhile his telling me he was here for 2 weeks from the mid-west and it was his first trip to New York. I told I had been born and raised here but was now living in Memphis and had lived in Miami Beach during the late 1950s, early 1960s, returned to New York in the 60s and left in 1969. I believe he worked in the automobile industry if I remember correctly. I offered to show him around the city and he thought that would be great.

We decided to have dinner in the Oak Room and afterwards I suggested we take a walk to, what I remember was called the Hampshire Bar on 57th Street down the block from the Plaza. It was known for the recreation of a NorthEastern Storm with all the lighting and noise effects with lightning, snow, rain, thunder, etc., every hour on the hour, on the wall behind the bar. Herb was delighted.

We walked back to the hotel and made plans to get together for a late breakfast and then I would take him sightseeing. Without going into details–that’s another post!–we spent the night together and the next day he checked out of his room and stayed in mine.
(To be continued)

Posted December 21, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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Thank You

As I approach my 79th birthday I have spent a lot of time this past year thanking people just by thinking of them but as today is Thanksgiving Day I would like to say it aloud.

I want to thank everyone who has touched me life in ways both good and bad because it has taken all of you people to make me the happy, contented man I am today.

Over the years I have lost touch with many not knowing where they have gone or even if they are still alive but alive or dead I remember them.

There are certain people I have met on the Internet from Australia, New Zealand, Holland, Tennessee, North Carolina, New England Spain and England, just to mention a few places, who have come into my life and made it so much better.

There are my ‘old’ friends—don’t worry I remember you as you were/looked the day we met–in New York, Tennessee, Texas, Arizona, California and, yes, even here in Florida.

Every year death robs me of friends but I see them as guardian angels ready to slap me on the back of my head when I am about to do something wrong and I keep them busy!

To all of you who read this THANK YOU for being you, THANK YOU for being there for me, THANK YOU for being in my life and helping me to be thankful for my life.


Posted November 27, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL   Leave a comment


Posted December 25, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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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, good will to men” whether it is looking at a Christmas wreath or a Hanuka 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 good will 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.

Posted December 24, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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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. No where 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 at 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 on 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 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 adult hood.

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.

Posted December 23, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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WHO IS STEALING MY FOOD?   Leave a comment

If I didn’t know better I would think some people want to make me fat(ter)! On the 20th a package arrived and I emailed the sender to ask if it was perishable as I had already eaten too much that day and they said no so I put it aside until Monday (after I did my semi weekly weigh in!) and opened the box and I dived in!! It was a large snow scene tin split into quarters with cashews in one, chocolate walnuts in another, white frosted pecans in a third and the last quarter had honey roasted cinnamon pecans. Within an hour I had eaten at least half of each quarter even the cinnamon pecans which I didn’t particularly like, but in the spirit of the holiday while reading the nutritional information enclosed with the tin–as if anyone is really interested in the nutritional information as they are eating this assortment!!! Let’s face it, both nuts and chocolate are good for you though I don’t think you are suppose to eata years requirement in one hour!

And then that afternoon I received another package and something happened–it all disappeared and all I had was the empty woven basket it came in! There had been cheeses, crackers, chocolate cookies, assorted candies and small cakes in the package–now all gone!

I really have to call the exterminator because no one could eat ALL that–both packages–unless they were squirrels storing it or mice taking it all into a private hole. I did suspect Santa but he wasn’t due until that night.

This is a mystery—-mmmmmm–maybe I should call Olivia from “Law & Order” or one of the other police or Sherlock Holmes–Agatha Christie? Well before I call anyone guess I better get rid of some evidence–my scale doesn’t lie!


Posted December 30, 2012 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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Posted December 25, 2012 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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