December 22, 2013

Turtle Doves (2nd Day of Christmas)



Hugs for Fran and Jim


  On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me
A partridge in a pear tree.
On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me
A partridge in a pear tree
Two turtle doves…


A couple of years ago I was in Buffalo, New York, during the Christmas season. While at the home of my (Kensington) high school friend, Pat, I examined the ornaments on her tree. I was taken aback when I recognized that numerous ornaments were familiar—they were ones I’d sent her through the years.

This often happens, as our family Christmas card has, for 42 years, been a tree ornament. My sister Sally has a tree set aside to display our ornaments.

One goal on my “bucket list” is to complete one ornament representing each of the gifts listed in the song The Twelve Days of Christmas. Because the ornaments are interspersed with other timely themes, I have many to do.

Couldn't use photo of baby doves

Couldn’t use flash…nighttime…best photo of baby doves

In June my friend watched doves nesting in a planter hung on her porch. I was fortunate to see the baby birds shortly after they hatched and the day before they left the nest. It was even more fortunate that I photographed the latter.

Ready...set...not yet...

Ready…set…not yet…

The picture of two now-adult (or late adolescent?) doves provided the theme for this year’s ornament—On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me, two turtle doves… In the musical piece the doves represent (more…)

December 17, 2013

Christmas—Children’s Stories, Poems, & More







For children (of all ages) I surfed the Internet and found the following sites with stories, poems, and finger plays that provide CHRISTMAS entertainment.

NOTE: To access a companion Christmas post click on Santa Claus—Children’s Stories, Poems, & More

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Why was the turkey the drummer in the pop group?
Because he was the only one with drumsticks!

What’s a sheep’s favorite Christmas carol?
We wish ewe a merry Christmas.


Q: What is Count Dracula’s Christmas story? (more…)

December 15, 2013

Santa Claus—Children’s Stories, Poems, & More




 For children (of all ages) I surfed the Internet and found the following sites with stories, poems, and finger plays that provide Santa Claus entertainment.

NOTE: Also visit Christmas—Children’s Stories, Poems, & More is devoted to the meaning of the season, celebrating Christ’s birthday, as opposed to Santa Claus, a secular approach to Christmas. Together with this post the Christmas season is covered for children.

Subscribe to this site to receive an email of current posts. Type your email address in the subscribe to box at the top right of this page. You will receive an email asking you to confirm the subscription. (Your email will not be made public). christmas-28


Who delivers Christmas presents for cats?

Santa Paws!


What do you get if you cross Father Christmas with a duck?
A Christmas Quacker!

Why does Santa like to work in his garden?
Because he likes to hoe, hoe, hoe!

What is invisible but smells like milk and cookies?
Kris Kringle burps!

What do you call Santa when he has no money?
Saint “Nickel”-less!


Q: How do you know Santa Claus is good at karate?

A: He has a black belt!

Q:  What’s black, white and red all over?

A: Santa Claus after he comes down the chimney!


What comes at the end of Christmas Day?

A: A Y!

More: christmas-coloring-pages


Seven Santas sang silly songs.

Comet cuddles cute Christmas (more…)

December 12, 2013

A 70th Birthday Lunch & St. Joseph Hospital (R. I.) History


Hug for Santa

St. Joseph Hospital History

For days before my three-score and ten birthday my husband Monte kept asking me what I wanted to do.
“I don’t know,” I said. “I just want a quiet day.”
That wasn’t what he wanted to hear. He wanted to do something special.
The day before my decade-turning event he asked me if I wanted to go to a Holiday Luncheon Buffet at the Latrobe Airport branch of DeNunzio’s Restaurant.
“That sounds nice,” I said. “But I’ll only go if we can attend as Santa and Mrs. Claus.”
My daughter and a friend he’d invited couldn’t go with us. The next morning the friend called, asking if she could come over, since she wasn’t going to work because she had to take her car to the garage for emergency repairs.
The three of us took off.
En route, Monte and I had to make several short stops—a grocery store, a pharmacy… Many of the other customers smiled and spoke to us. After all, how often do they meet Santa in these places, even at Christmas time?

IMG_2082 When we arrived at DeNunzio’s the owner asked if he could take our picture.
“Certainly,” we responded at this unexpected request. Later, he said, his photographer was arriving later. “Could he take some pictures?”
I was pleased to be taken to a table with a window view of the runway, although no planes landed or took off within our sight while we were there.
We filled our plates with delicious salads, soup, roast turkey/cranberry sauce, beer battered cod, and more. Their chef attended pasta bar allowed us to create our own pasta dish which the chef cooked on the spot. We downed all this with hot apple cider before approaching the dessert bar.
While we were eating a woman came over to us and asked (more…)

December 8, 2013

Nativity Scenes—Quiz, History & Ligonier, PA, Photos


Hug for Polly



All photographs are from the December 2013

Ligonier, Pennsylvania, nativity display

at Heritage United Methodist Church


(Answers are at the end of this post)

From Stone Mountain, GA, 25 years ago.

From Stone Mountain, GA, 25 years ago.

  1. How many nativity sets did the world’s largest display of nativity sets contain?
  2. How many Nativity sets were displayed at Heritage Church in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, on December 8, 2013?
  3. Who is credited with creating the first nativity scene?
  4. Catholic and Mediterranean Nativity scenes counteracted what other tradition?
  5. The oldest Nativity set in Italy, created in marble, is attributed to whom?
  6. What Sicilian King was known to be a passionate collector of nativity sets?
  7. How many square feet did the world’s largest physical nativity contain?
  8. How many living figures were in the nativity containing the most living figures?
A friend, Fran, gave us this striking nativity set

A friend, Fran, gave us this striking nativity set

Early art depicted the nativity scene in mosaics and ornately stained glass in Churches and Cathedrals across central Europe.

A nativity scene or crèche, also known as a manger scene, or crib, is the special exhibition,, particularly during the Christmas season, of art objects representing the scene of the birth of Jesus.* Nativities  are created with static figures, living figures (persons or persons and animals), or a combination of the two. Characters are baby Jesus, his mother Mary, and Joseph. They can be accompanied by shepherds and sheep, angels, and farm animals.

The term “Nativity scene” is thought to have been used for the first time with regard to St Mary Major’s Basilica on the Esquiline Hill in Rome, known since the 7th century as “Sancta Maria ad praesepe” because according to tradition it was here the that the relics of the Cradle of Jesus were brought.**

This colorful nativity is the size of a large egg. A gift from a friend on an Arizona trip. Anne Mary Campbell

This colorful nativity is the size of a large egg. A gift from a friend on an Arizona trip. Anne Mary Campbell

St. Francis of Assisi is credited with creating the first living nativity in 1223. He intended to (more…)

December 3, 2013

Thanksgivukkah—Thanksgiving & Hanukkah Merge

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Hug to Janet




the first day of HANUKKAH

It happened once in the past, but not during the lifetime of any living person.

And no person living November 28, 2013, will experience this rare event a second time.

In simple terms, Thanksgiving (the fourth Thursday in November) and the first day of Hanukkah occurred simultaneously this year—November 28th.

In a January 14, 2013 blogpost Jonathan Mizrahl, a Jewish American physicist, pondered and mathematically calculated how often this convergence occurs:

Thanksgiving is set as the fourth Thursday in November, meaning the latest it can be is 11/28. 11/28 is also the earliest Hanukkah can be. The Jewish calendar repeats on a 19 year cycle, and Thanksgiving repeats on a 7 year cycle. You would therefore expect them to coincide roughly every 19×7 = 133 years. Looking back, this is approximately correct – the last time it would have happened is 1861. However, Thanksgiving was only formally established by President Lincoln in 1863. So, it has never happened before… (Thanksgiving) originally it was the LAST Thursday in November.  This changed in 1942. If you use the last Thursday rather than the fourth Thursday, then the overlap has happened once before, in 1888.

And it won’t happen again until (more…)

November 29, 2013

Black Friday 2013: To Shop or Not to Shop

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Hug for Joanne


Heroes come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, in all kinds of situations.

From a Pizza Hut Official Statement: This was clearly an unfortunate situation…

Manager Tony Rohr balked at opening the Pizza Hut on Thanksgiving.

In fact, he did more than balk. The 10-yrear employee refused to open the Indiana franchise where he was manager. He didn’t want to force his staff to work on this family holiday.

He was asked to write a letter of resignation.

He took responsibility for his decision in a letter explaining his actions, according to what he told CNN affiliate WSBT:

“I said, ‘Why can’t we be the company that stands up and says we care about your employees and you can have the day off?’ Thanksgiving and Christmas are the only two days that they’re closed in the whole year. And they’re the only two days that those people are guaranteed to have off to spend with their families.” Who wants to work on Thanksgiving?

Rohr said he refused to quit and detailed his frustration in the letter.

“I accept that the refusal to comply with this greedy, immoral request means the end of my tenure with this company. I hope you realize that it is the people at the bottom of the totem pole that make your life possible.”

He said he was fired shortly after.

The Pizza Hut Official Statement continued: …and we are very upset by what has transpired in Elkhart, Indiana. While the choice as to whether a restaurant should be open or closed on a holiday is handled at the local level by our independent franchisees, we feel strongly that this situation could have been avoided. We respect an employee’s decision (more…)

November 28, 2013

WP Daily Prompt 11/16/2013: FAQ—Thanksgiving Questions to Chief Tom Turkey

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Hugs for al my friends, near and far

WP Daily Prompt 11/16/2013: FAQ—Thanksgiving Questions to Chief Tom Turkey



Written by Cochran Cornell the Cantankerous Cockroach

The WordPress Daily Prompt for November 16, 2013, was FAQInterview someone—a friend, another blogger, your mother, the mailman—and write a post based on their responses. Being as it’s Thanksgiving and I am quite busy, I asked Cochran Cornell the Cantankerous Cockroach if he’d write this post for me.

“I guess so,” he said in a tone in which I detected a lack of enthusiasm.

“And no shenanigans,” I added. “It’s Thanksgiving, and interviewing Chief Tom Turkey is important. He doesn’t give interviews to just anybody. You might want to read about the Henningsen Cold Storage Col in Stilwell, Oklahoma, before you leave.”

“I read that article yesterday while you were reading it,” huffed Cochran.

“You don’t have to get snippy with me. Now off you go to find Chief Turkey. And I expect your article to be on my computer before I go to bed at 3:30 a. m. so I can post it at the regular time, 3:00 a. m.”


I found Chief Tom Turkey safe at a residence on the banks of the Jordan River in Lamoine, Maine, where he was keeping a low profile under the protective wing of the property owner who didn’t want to be identified.

“It’s a safe place here,” Chief Turkey said. “I’ve sent an invitation to Popcorn to join me.”

“Popcorn?” I queried.’

“Yes…he’s the lucky turkey President Obama pardoned…”

“That’s right. Every year the President pardons a turkey.”

“It’s a holiday ritual,” said Chief Turkey. “It kind of began when Abraham Lincoln saved the life of a dinner-bound turkey his son liked. Since then presidents have been given turkeys by various organizations. Usually they made a meal for the President. It was President John F. Kennedy that started the annual tradition of (more…)

November 25, 2013

Santa Hat Walk 2013 in Laurel Mountain Borough



November 24, 2013


A mid-20s cold chilled by strong breezes and enhanced by tiny sultry snowflakes drifting through the air didn’t discourage 14 persons from walking almost one mile in Laurel Mountain Borough. The Santa Hats they wore created not only a unique group, but reminded observers that the holiday season is upon us.

Signing in for the Santa Hat Walk.

Signing in for the Santa Hat Walk.

The November 24, 2013, walk was sponsored by the Laurel Mountain Park Association backed by the Beanery Writers Group and was timed simultaneously with the 5th Annual Santa Hat Challenge held which was held in Brocton, Massachusetts. The purpose of the challenge, initiated by Brocton businessman James Merian, is to set a world record for most persons gathering and wearing Santa Hats in recognition of Brocton native James Edgar, the first department store Santa, 1890. The Laurel Mountain Borough event was sponsored by the Laurel Mountain Park Association backed by the Beanery Writers Group (Latrobe, Pennsylvania).

Waiting to start walking

Waiting to start walking

Leaving Laurel Mountain Park's shelter house

Leaving Laurel Mountain Park’s shelter house


A straggler, on time but walkers left early. He must catch up

A straggler, on time but walkers left early. He must catch up


November 24, 2013

Why My Christmas Cactus Blooms on Thanksgiving



Hug for Ben, who just lost his wife.


In early November I glanced at my plants as I checked them for aridness. One, I noticed, had numerous buds at its tips.

During my next week’s watering the plant was half covered in peach colored blooms.

Oh, my, How beautiful. But it never blooms on Christmas, to my disappointment.


Within the week its prolific peachy-hued blooms were  so spectacular they dwarfed the clutter of the room.

I must move it elsewhere, where it has center stage.

I moved it to my newly painted living room, a space cleared from its former clutter, where it stood out against the light olive green walls. The peachy color above the fireplace and in the curtains accented the plant perfectly.

Oh, that my life could offer blooms like that to uplift the persons in my life.


I decided to verify that my plant is a Christmas cactus before completing this post..

And I learned I erred. There is a (more…)

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