I wished you a Happy Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with merriment and laughter

and now I wish you Happy December 26 the less well known…day after.


(If you are from the United Kingdom or Canada…put this poem away

You have solved December 26th’s dilemma by celebrating Boxing Day)


But in America December 26 is a day that attempts to be brave and save face

for it knows it could have been a holiday but had to settle for second place.


Yes, I’m afraid December 26 in history is fated to remain unreckoned.

doomed to stand in relative obscurity with its neighbor January 2nd.


Today I celebrate all those days who because of their chronological lateness

are destined to travel down the path of history...one day away from greatness.


Do you know the name of the first man on the moon? Of course, everybody does.

But do you remember the second, Ed Aldrin, his friends and family called him Buzz.


We remember Edmund Hillary, the first to scale Mt. Everest, the first to find his way

but who remembers, Tenzing Norgay, the sherpa who accompanied him that day?


They climbed the tallest mountain in the world but the second is almost as high

Yet K-2 is only an afterthought, kind of like the 5th of July.


We remember Snow White as the first movie Disney brought to the silver screen

but the second, Pinocchio must take its place next to the innocuous March 18.


Everyone knows Amelia Earhart, her story is one of courage and devotion

She was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.


The second was Geraldine Mock, at her even more accolades were hurled

for she kept going after crossing the Atlantic, and flew around the world.


Isn’t it funny how life works, for none of us could have foreseen 

that Geraldine would be disregarded in history like the day after Halloween.


But such is the way the calendar unfolds from January to December

Some days, like people, are destined for greatness while others we hardly remember.


I think it’s time we change all that and give these days and people their due.

for I believe second places and day afters deserve a home in our hearts too.


So hold your head up December 26th…you have no reason to whine…

After all you could come around only once every 4 years….


my condolences to February 29.

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We were blessed to visit with our grandchildren 

and had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day

We ate, we laughed, we played a game

before they went on their way.


Two of our grandchildren are at the University of Florida

Three if you count Damiens girlfriend Trista (and we do)

and we make a point to visit them in Gainesville

whenever we’re passing through.


Yesterday we were on our way to Jacksonville

to camp at Amelia Island State Park

We were not in a big hurry  

but we wanted to arrive there before dark.


The road took us through Gainesville 

and it doesn’t take a whiz

tTo know that Gainesville, Florida

Is where the University of Florida is.


A perfect chance to see our grandchildren

And here again it doesn’t take a whiz

To know that Gainesville, Florida

is also where a Bojangles is.


We had a difficult decision 

I’m sure you would agree

Stop and see our grandchildren

Or have a biscuit and sweet tea.


Stop and say hi to our grandchildren

(at their various stages of growth)

Or stop and enjoy some Bojangles

We didn’t have time for both…


And since we love our grandchildren 

who are kind and compassionate…and grand…

We made that difficult decision….


and we’re sure they’ll understand.

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I used to make fun of my dad’s age…saying with loving youthful vigor

“How come you’re getting shorter but your ears and nose are so much bigger?”


Oh, Dad would try to make a witty comeback…but usually it would bomb.

(makes me wonder where I got my talent for humor…must have been from Mom!)


So I guess it’s only payback or Karma…now that I’m one of the older folks

that I must listen to my children and grandchildren as they crack their old man jokes.


Like when they remind me how I’m over the hill and how I’m beginning to shrink…

And when they mention how my nose and ears are bigger…

I wonder…do they know they’re not as funny as they think?


They laugh when I say, “It’s nine o’clock…time to go to bed.”

and God forbid I ask, “Have you seen my glasses?” 

when they’re perched upon my head. 


They joke about my lack of hair and when their laughter clears

they remind me if I’m looking for hair…check inside my nose and ears.


In truth…I am quite content with getting older…I don’t think it is unfair.

I don’t mind a bit that I am bald because I never have to comb my hair.


And with my nose the size of a cucumber and two enormous ears

there are so many delicious aromas I smell…

so many wonderful sounds I hear.


Besides growing old is a part of life…we’re all growing older every day

and how wonderful it is to pause…and laugh at myself along the way.


I also smile as I sit back listening to these old jokes unfold…

knowing what a wonderful journey it’s been getting to be this old…


Finally, I have the satisfaction of knowing as joke after joke they tell bomb…


they didn’t get their talent for humor from me…(must have got it from their mom).

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How do we explain love…should we even try?

It’s a complicated intermingling of our hearts our brains…our eyes…


I suppose the best definition…when all is said and done

is that love is a universal feeling that’s universally different for everyone.


Which reminds me of my first year of teaching…over 40 years ago

I wanted two teach my Autistic students about humor…I wanted to help them grow.


I thought, ‘who better to teach them?’…after all I am a funny guy.

They would be learning from the master…how the principles of humor apply.


On an easel in front of me was a comic strip from the newspaper…

In front of each student was the same.

My goal was to explain the humor…while going frame to frame.


It seems humor when explained this way is not an easy concept to see…

In the investigation…in the analysis…It loses it’s spontaneity 


Not one chuckled…no one laughed…

my students had no sense of humor as far as I could tell

that is until they erupted with laughter…when I tripped on the easel…and fell.


My students showed no comprehension of humor…

not even the littlest giggle sound

Until they heard my high pitched scream…and I was face down on the ground…


There are two possibilities why this experiment failed:

The first…perhaps humor cannot be taught

The second, and my money’s on the first one here, 

I’m not as funny as I thought.


Or perhaps there are some things in life we’re not meant to fully understand

That are designed to make us wonder…to be mysterious…and grand


Which brings me back to explaining love…

Perhaps the best explanation of all

Is that love is a lot like humor

And the best way to experience it…


is when you fall.

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I never thought it’s something I’d live to see……I’m not sure whether to be happy or sad

But today it finally happened to me…I turned into my dad.


We are supposed to welcome the good traits…we inherit from our mom dad

But we’re also, there is no debate…expected to overcome the bad.


I loved my father but when I was young…my friends and family would stare

When over at my house they hung…and saw Dad in his underwear.


Dad didn’t seem to notice or care…the chortles and the snorts

As he would walk from here…to there…clad only in his boxer shorts.


Oh, I thank you Dad…is only fair…for all the good traits I received from you

But I promised myself walking around in my underwear…is something I’d never do.


I kept that promise for 66 years…In my underwear I would never stray

I was doing fine…or so it appears…until earlier today.


Deborah, Bryan and I were working hard…in the heat of the Florida sun 

Moving our camper into our side yard…and it was anything but fun.


The camper was not cooperating…our best plans were derailed

as despite some great collaborating…every attempt had failed.


Every muscle in my body ached and I was dirty from my head down to my toes

so I decided to take a little break…go inside and change my clothes.


I’d like to blame it on the heat of the day…as I was totally unaware

until I heard Deborah laugh then say…Jim, you’re in your underwear.


I can’t believe it, I sighed….and I could hear their chortles and snorts

as I quickly rushed back inside to put on a pair of shorts.


When I returned I had to smile…I had become my dad, it’s true


And I stopped to wonder…for a little while…if Dad was smiling too.

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We have a bird feeder on our porch we fill with bird seed every day

We love to watch the different birds visit…the cardinals, the wrens…the jays


But every time we fill the feeder we painfully become aware

how the squirrels also like birdseed…and squirrels don’t like to share.


I’ve tried a myriad of solutions to deter the squirrel attack

but no matter what I’ve done…they just keep coming back.


I tried attaching a rope to the feeder, in through a window next to my favorite chair

I would pull it and make the feeder swing when I saw a squirrel in there.


Little did I know, however, each time I pulled the string

that squirrels not only like to eat…they also like to swing.


I fastened the feeder to a zip line where birds were light enough to dine

but the weight of the heavier squirrel would send it streaming down the line


Yet I found myself dumbfounded…(my frustration I couldn’t hide)

when more squirrels than ever before lined up…awaiting their turn to ride.


I heard squirrels hated hot chili flakes but they would not deter the sparrows

only to find the squirrels partying in the feeder…wearing serapes and sombreros.


Lastly I found a wooden cat and affixed her near the feeder

hoping she would stand guard and become a squirrel impeder.


But she only made it easier…gee I hadn’t I thought of that…

now the squirrels don’t have to jump to the feeder…they just step upon the cat.


So we continue to feed the squirrels by filling the feeder every day

and occasionally when they squirrels are full we see a cardinal, a wren or a jay.


But I am not discouraged…I see this as a problem for the ages…

My next solution, as I watch the squirrel fill his little cheeks


is in the planning stages.

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How we love our Global Positioning System for getting us to a place…and back

but what are we to do…when our GPS attacks?


First of all let me come clean…I admit with my GPS…sometimes I like to play

I’ll miss a turn on purpose…just to see what she will say.


After all it is my Global Positioning System…I am the consumer

Only I didn’t know my GPS didn’t have sense of humor.


The first indication I had that of humor she was bereft

was when in the middle of a bridge one day she advised me to ‘Turn Left’


But that was a few years ago…many times since then…together we have driven

However on our latest trip to the mountains I found I have yet to be forgiven.


I programmed in our route…and things seemed to be going smooth…until…

before we knew it instead of heading north we were heading east to Jacksonville.


I imagine before this happened she probably thought I persecuted her

When….for a fraction of a second…as a joke…I may have muted her.


The next thing I knew we had crossed the state in the completely wrong direction

So I apologized, reprogrammed her and waited for her correction.


And she did correct, at least I think she did…we seemed headed the right way

but some of the roads seemed desolate…one was even made of clay….


I finally had to turn her off…but speaking as the consumer…

I now believe my GPS has a mischievous sense of humor


Because it took us 12 hours to finally arrive at our hotel

on this madcap trip she’d been choreographing

and even though she was turned off…


I swear I could heard her laughing.

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I received it in the mail…a card addressed to me!

I’m to meet some people for a luncheon…and this luncheon will be free!


The food pictures that grace the front of the card are, of course, a masquerade

for directly under these is this question:

Confused about hearing aids?


The luncheon might be free…but it’s hearing aids they’re trying to sell

They are assuming since I’m older now…that I don’t hear as well.


My hearing is just fine, thank you (I’m pretty sure my family agrees)

but I’ve noticed once I reached 65…I get a lot of these.


Emails, cards and letters asking me if I need things…

like an alert system in case I fall…

Am I getting the most from my Medicare?

Do I need to lower my cholesterol?


How is my sex life? Am I depressed? Am I too skinny, too bald, too fat?

not to worry if my correspondences are correct…there’s someone to help with that.


They’re concerned if I am healthy, depressed, their concerned about my heart…

apparently they think, at my age, everything’s falling all apart


I even receive messages asking if I’ve made my funeral arrangements…

or do I need to save

I guess they figure I’m further from the cradle and closer to the grave.


Now I’ve been blessed with good health and a wonderful life…each day is a happy day

So when I get these emails, cards and letters I usually delete them or throw them away…


But lately I’ve been thinking…some of these luncheons I might attend

some of these people I might have to meet….

After all, I am on a fixed income…


and even old and healthy people have to eat.

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I once played high school football…I even wrestled on their mat

but I was never a first class athlete…and I am comfortable with that.


My exploits in both fields will never be well known

but when it came to sports in general…I like to think I held my own.


Which is why when Deborah suggested we go bowling…

when she initially planted the seed

I thought, I’m coordinated enough at 66, and enthusiastically agreed.


And despite the fact we hadn’t been bowling since 1989

I thought, given my confidence and physical ability, I was going to shine.


I know I’m not as strong as I used to be, but after tying up my shoes

most balls were much too heavy…so I chose one the children use.


“Isn’t that ball a little light?” Deborah asked, (what was that a psyche?)

I ignored her veiled rebuke and concentrated on my strike.


My feet were planted, I lined it up and was mystified and appalled

when my first roll of my first frame became a gutter ball.


My confidence was quickly waning

I wondered: Is this what the bowling Gods have wrought?

“I think you want to knock the pins down?” Deborah smirked

as I lined up my second shot.


It seemed my brain and arms were at odds with one another

they weren’t working together at all

and when I rolled my second shot…

another gutter ball.


I improved and was eventually satisfied with my result…

although I found it hard to gauge.

Is it golf or is it bowling where it’s good to score your age?


No matter…I got a little better as each game did unfold

and here is what I learned the more and more we bowled:


I may not be the greatest athlete…no crowds…no adulation

but I still can have a lot of fun…once I accept my limitations.


And when Deborah asked, “Will we be back?” I said, “Of course we would.


We may never be great bowlers…but we make these shoes look good!”

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