Friday, December 23, 2011

The Ghosts of Christmas Past...part #4....Merry Christmas to All!

Cloudy, but somewhat normal conditions for late December...32 or so, with a high approaching 40 this which time I will be making the hour or so drive to Ottawa-Glandorf High School to work a final basketball double header before Christmas....then off to celebrate the birth of Christ for a few days.  Next Tuesday back at it, before taking another short break for the New Year holiday.  January will be full basketball wise, then in February the lower level games will slow, and both spring and baseball season will be on the horizon.....I am looking forward to it.  Not sick of winter just yet, mind you, but without a doubt, the shorter this cold weather season is, the better.  I picked up another varsity baseball game for the coming season...leaving me with just 3 open dates on my calendar from mid March until tournaments start around May 10th....if it is a dry spring, I will be one busy 63 year old.  I wouldn't have it any other way.

Last night Don, a 33 year veteran basketball official, although a few years younger than me, and I worked a Freshman boys game at Crestview...I have to say it was one of the strangest games I have worked of late.  11-7 Crestview over LCC at the half.  Now mind you these are two good programs, but neither could hit the broad side of a barn it seemed....the second half only got worse for the visiting T-Birds....the final ended up 34-7 Crestview.  Yes, despite being a talented team, LCC did not muster a point in the second half, getting outscored by the Knights 23-0.  The game itself lasted just over an hour, and I was home sipping a cold drink by 7:30.  I have the LCC Freshman squad two more times in the next couple of weeks, at their place, and I'm sure I will see a better brand of roundball.  This afternoon, as mentioned, at O-G, working a 3 man crew, a freshman game against Bowling Green, followed by a JV game of the same schools, which both precede the varsity contest which completes the triple header, I will work the first two.

The Ghosts of Christmas, a final look____

After the Christmases of my childhood and later youth, things became more focused...The kids were that focus.  

Christmas 1979, Patricia, Anissa, me, and the Airedales, Rags and Max, celebrated Anissa's first Christmas at the apartment complex where we lived in Kokomo, Indiana.  Anissa was about 10 months old, I was working as the morning News Anchor at WIOU radio, and Patricia was a waitress at the Kokomo Country Club.  This is one of those, sure the heck doesn't seem like 32 years ago, moments.  For the next few years, as the family grew, we would eventually move back to the Celina area, after a short stop in Dodge City, Kansas, where I played News Director at KGNO Radio...Sam came along in December 1981, a day before our 5th anniversary, so Christmas that year was was the following weeks, when by chance the furnace at the old farm house quit on us, while we were both at work....the pipes didn't last long, and while the repairs were taking place, we spent about 3 weeks living at mom's, in that coldest of all winters I can ever remember.  Well coldest in Ohio....because nothing can ever top the winter of 77-78 in northern Wisconsin for cold, and the Air Force winter of 70-71 at Griffiss Air Force Base, where we received upwards of 250 inches of snow that season...the piles along the flight lines didn't melt completely until early July.

For the decade of the 1980s, as the kids were born and grew, we spent each Christmas at the drafty old farm house on Coldwater Creek Road....I cannot imagine a more suitable place to raise the kids....or to celebrate the Christmas seasons of their youth.   The all seem to mix together, those 10 years, I remember then being cold, with vehicles that didn't start at times, just two channels on the TV, because cable didn't come out that far, and where we celebrated not only Christmas, but all four seasons.  It was where Patricia and I changed jobs and careers.  I went from radio program director and cable television news and sports anchor, to Environmental Sanitarian at the local health department, putting my college work to use, and where Patricia, while working two jobs completed her studies at Wright State, traveling to Dayton on many winter nights, thus changing from social worker, to secretary, to finally a school teacher.

Finally we moved into town in 1990, bought the house we currently reside in in 1995, just a block from where we started when I bought the house on North Brandon in a days, with the mostly empty nest, we usually have the Christmas Eve family get together at sister Marty's...this year I think there will be 17 of us, including the newest arrivals, Luke and Kasyn.  Then Christmas Day is usually spent at home, with the TV blaring "A Christmas Story" in the background, and after presents are opened, we celebrate with our usual breakfast cassorole meal, followed by a larger Christmas dinner....pretty basic stuff.  We certainly don't indulge with budget busting Christmas gifts...but frankly we never have.  Sure the kids, in their younger days, always go plenty of gifts....perhaps not as expensive as they would like, but always plenty of them.

This year, with the first grandchild Kasyn, he will be the focus for the most part, as will Anissa, even at 32, given her childlike life, she will always be the child around our tree at Christmas, at least as long as we are around to celebrate with her.

That's it, for the look back...and that's it until at least Monday or Tuesday of next the meantime.


photos- Christmas pasts...Anissa, in her younger days and Christmases...Christmas on Sugar Street in the early 1990s, .Kasyn, the newest Houseworth will have his first Christmas, meanwhile Reagan, seen here on her first Christmas back in 1998, will see her 14th this weekend.

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