"Is it Christmas yet", I kept asking my Mother, No now go to sleep.
We lived in a community full of Christmas spirit, from running behind the mosquito truck to looking at all the lights in the homes adjacent to our two story home.
At six the world was good, I had a new little brother, Kirby was his name and this was his first Christmas with us. We lived in a housing project in Tampa,Fa and received food commodities to survive. My mother worked for the Pizza Man Poppa Zuma in downtown Tampa . We decorated the house with colored wine bottles wrapped in straw from the pizza shop. At age six I had no idea what lied ahead of me or the expectations I needed to learn.
Like most of you who lived poor nothing made a difference except the gifts from Santa and the Christmas dinner. I don't remember what we ate those days but it doesnt really matter in my eyes we were a family. I had a brother Larry and a sister Janet who were older and had moved back to Duluth Minnesota. My brother Fred and sister Dorsey lived with us on Kerby street.
I choose to believe in the Christmas Spirit, Christmas time was an exciting time for a kid not knowing about the crap that we as adults have to endure everyday. As a poor kid every little thing you received on Christmas was wonderful from the homemade shorts that Ma made to the shirts and second hand shoes.
Project kids were special, every year a bus showed up and took us kids to a Christmas circus and we all received gifts. I never knew who these people were, my mother had no idea either. It wasn't until about 35 years later that I realized that those people were me. The Shriner's of America were always there for us every year.
A lot of what we don't remember or just don't know is revealed to us sometime in our lives when we most need it. Is this Christmas or just a Spirit of some kind. We accept things much easier when where kids. If we as adults don't give our kids a chance to experience this Spirit for themselves I'm afraid they will never get back something they never received. certain signs ,smells, and just things can bring back a forgotten time in our lives that was so powerful in directing our future.
I have been a Cop for a long time now and every year around the middle of December I get this feeling that I can't overcome it sets inside of me and sometimes it has gotten me in trouble interfering with my training, in this business you have to be a Cop first and you help people second or you get hurt.
This year is special for me I have two grandsons and a son in law and I need to keep the spirit alive for them as well. My wife Jane has tried to get up and excited about Christmas for years and years but the generic business Christmas day has very little meaning at all to me. I watch families spend themselves in debt for two years worth of credit just to be all forgotten in January. If only once a year and no other time this month has to be in front for the sake of generations of kids to come.
This year try to say something nice to a co worker, friend or even a complete stranger. This year I'm cooking Christmas lunch for the Dialysis Center. A Romanian Christmas for all, These people have keep me alive while the hospital bureaucracy winds down for Christmas and me and my donor are at parade rest. Once you understand the system and learn to play the wait game, it still doesn't get any easier. But I leave knowing after all these years people have been there for me even though I may not deserve a second chance someone else is in control and I hope not to ever disappoint again,
And to all a good night and have a very Merry Christmas from my heart to yours,