Goat's Xmas Sermon

TheOriginalHappyGoat

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Oct 4, 2010
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Margaritaville
When I was a kid, we always had two Christmases. I'm sure a lot of families were like ours. The first Christmas was actually Christmas Eve. We'd gather around the tree in the early parts of the day, just Papa Goat, Mama Goat, Sister Goat, and me. We'd open a couple of presents early. Usually those presents were designed to give us some evening family activity. Maybe we got new stereos and listened to music together, or board games we could play that night while drinking warm apple cider. One glorious year, we got a Super Nintendo, which was quite the upgrade over our Atari 2600. My sister and I played Mario for hours, and then I squared off against Papa Goat with the first ever version of John Madden Football.

But then, we'd go to bed, and get up early the next morning, and drive to Ohio for second Christmas, or Real Christmas, as it were. The presents we didn't open would go with us, and be added to the large pile under the tree at Grandpa and Grandma Goat's house. A table in the middle of the living room would be set up with various snacks - bowls of M&Ms and mints and other candies, of course, but the star of the show was always the large bowl of unshelled nuts, with at least two nutcrackers handy, so people could stand there and have a conversation without having to awkwardly take turns going after the walnuts. Mama Goat and the other women would help Grandma in the kitchen while the menfolk ate nuts and talked about the year. Then we'd have an incredible meal, and drowsily make our way to the tree for another round of opening presents. After this, as it started to get dark, Grandpa would pull out the projector and show home movies. The same home movies we watched every year, but everyone loved them no matter how many times we saw them.

Then, just as us kiddos were falling asleep, we'd drive home, and Papa Goat never took a direct route home, because he knew the best path to take to see all the very best light displays. One farmer set up a huge display every year, out in the middle of nowhere, that was sort of an amusement ride. His semi-circular driveway had an entrance and and exit, and cars would pull in and slowly drive through the middle of this extensive explosion of lights. There was no fee for this. Just some guy who set up this display every year so that traveling parents could take a break from the monotony of the road and give their kids in the backseat something to gawk at.

Thirty years later, I'm sitting here at my desk, and sitting in front of me is the contact information I need to set up a Christmas call tomorrow between Mama Goat and Grandma Goat, with the help of the nurses at Grandma Goat's new, and last, home. No longer able to live safely in the outside world without 24-hour supervision, but still as healthy as someone half her age, according to her doctors, Grandma Goat is unlikely to ever see the house again that we spent so many Christmases in, though she's likely to spend a great number of new Christmases trying to remember how she's related to the person she's talking to over Zoom. A number of the other people we spent those Christmases with have long since gone to their own last homes, although theirs without nurses, and with only dirt and marble and the other departed to keep them company during the holidays.

People often say life is short. I think they are wrong. For the unlucky, sure, it can be short, but for most of us, it isn't. It's long. But it's also inexorable. Steadily moving, in only one direction, and every Christmas past is past forever. And eventually, we come to the point where we realize those Christmases we had in the past won't ever happen again. This year will be our first not going to Ohio, because Covid, but it won't be the first that isn't the same as Christmas once was. Last year, we went to Ohio, but we didn't have walnuts and home movies and large groups of relatives catching up. We had five people eating lunch meat sandwiches.

This is probably the darkest - or at least the most melancholic - of all my Xmas sermons, and it's not really a sermon. I'm not looking to make any theological points this year. Just an observation about life. In the time of Covid, we often feel like life has reached a turning point, but I think it's more likely that Covid has highlighted and brought out into the open the turning points we've made already. Covid isn't what took my childhood Christmases away from me. Cancer, heart disease, drugs and alcohol, and of course, above all, the still undefeated Father Time took them away.

So many losses, and not just IRL. We've had losses here in our virtual community, too. Andy, Kref, Buzz. It's insane to think we've been here so long to have shared such losses.

Anyway, I wanted to eventually shift this back to something positive, and I don't know how, so I'll just force it. The great thing about these Christmases past is that, though they are gone, they are never forgotten. The memories I have of sitting out in the garden house and waiting for the wood stove to warm up the stone floor so we could all slip off our shoes and feel the warmth through our socks are as strong as the memories I have of my commute home today. Those memories are thirty years old and still fresh, and God willing, they will remain that way.

This is going to be one of the most difficult of all Christmases for many of us, but do try to remember all those great Christmases you already had, and don't forget that they remain with you in the sense that they are part of what made you who you are. And think of the Christmases to come, and though they may be different, we can still make them positive and make new memories from them. When this whole Covid thing is over, I plan on taking Mama Goat to Ohio again to spend a Christmas with her Mama at her new home. I think I'll bring walnuts.

If you've made it this far, thank you for allowing me to share these holiday thoughts with you. I know they are rambling and perhaps even directionless, but the thing about burdens is that you have to shed them, sometimes violently, like a dog shaking off water.

Merry Christmas, Water Cooler, and God bless.
 

Marvin the Martian

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Sep 4, 2001
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I was raised in a family without these customs or traditions. My older siblings experienced it, but in the 12 year gap to me they all went away. I am just in awe of stories like this, thanks for sharing. Merry Christmas.
 

TheOriginalHappyGoat

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Oct 4, 2010
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Margaritaville
I was raised in a family without these customs or traditions. My older siblings experienced it, but in the 12 year gap to me they all went away. I am just in awe of stories like this, thanks for sharing. Merry Christmas.
The strange thing is you don't really think of them as customs and traditions until they are gone. When I was ten, it was just what we did.
 

BCCHoosier

Senior
Sep 5, 2001
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When I was a kid, we always had two Christmases. I'm sure a lot of families were like ours. The first Christmas was actually Christmas Eve. We'd gather around the tree in the early parts of the day, just Papa Goat, Mama Goat, Sister Goat, and me. We'd open a couple of presents early. Usually those presents were designed to give us some evening family activity. Maybe we got new stereos and listened to music together, or board games we could play that night while drinking warm apple cider. One glorious year, we got a Super Nintendo, which was quite the upgrade over our Atari 2600. My sister and I played Mario for hours, and then I squared off against Papa Goat with the first ever version of John Madden Football.

But then, we'd go to bed, and get up early the next morning, and drive to Ohio for second Christmas, or Real Christmas, as it were. The presents we didn't open would go with us, and be added to the large pile under the tree at Grandpa and Grandma Goat's house. A table in the middle of the living room would be set up with various snacks - bowls of M&Ms and mints and other candies, of course, but the star of the show was always the large bowl of unshelled nuts, with at least two nutcrackers handy, so people could stand there and have a conversation without having to awkwardly take turns going after the walnuts. Mama Goat and the other women would help Grandma in the kitchen while the menfolk ate nuts and talked about the year. Then we'd have an incredible meal, and drowsily make our way to the tree for another round of opening presents. After this, as it started to get dark, Grandpa would pull out the projector and show home movies. The same home movies we watched every year, but everyone loved them no matter how many times we saw them.

Then, just as us kiddos were falling asleep, we'd drive home, and Papa Goat never took a direct route home, because he knew the best path to take to see all the very best light displays. One farmer set up a huge display every year, out in the middle of nowhere, that was sort of an amusement ride. His semi-circular driveway had an entrance and and exit, and cars would pull in and slowly drive through the middle of this extensive explosion of lights. There was no fee for this. Just some guy who set up this display every year so that traveling parents could take a break from the monotony of the road and give their kids in the backseat something to gawk at.

Thirty years later, I'm sitting here at my desk, and sitting in front of me is the contact information I need to set up a Christmas call tomorrow between Mama Goat and Grandma Goat, with the help of the nurses at Grandma Goat's new, and last, home. No longer able to live safely in the outside world without 24-hour supervision, but still as healthy as someone half her age, according to her doctors, Grandma Goat is unlikely to ever see the house again that we spent so many Christmases in, though she's likely to spend a great number of new Christmases trying to remember how she's related to the person she's talking to over Zoom. A number of the other people we spent those Christmases with have long since gone to their own last homes, although theirs without nurses, and with only dirt and marble and the other departed to keep them company during the holidays.

People often say life is short. I think they are wrong. For the unlucky, sure, it can be short, but for most of us, it isn't. It's long. But it's also inexorable. Steadily moving, in only one direction, and every Christmas past is past forever. And eventually, we come to the point where we realize those Christmases we had in the past won't ever happen again. This year will be our first not going to Ohio, because Covid, but it won't be the first that isn't the same as Christmas once was. Last year, we went to Ohio, but we didn't have walnuts and home movies and large groups of relatives catching up. We had five people eating lunch meat sandwiches.

This is probably the darkest - or at least the most melancholic - of all my Xmas sermons, and it's not really a sermon. I'm not looking to make any theological points this year. Just an observation about life. In the time of Covid, we often feel like life has reached a turning point, but I think it's more likely that Covid has highlighted and brought out into the open the turning points we've made already. Covid isn't what took my childhood Christmases away from me. Cancer, heart disease, drugs and alcohol, and of course, above all, the still undefeated Father Time took them away.

So many losses, and not just IRL. We've had losses here in our virtual community, too. Andy, Kref, Buzz. It's insane to think we've been here so long to have shared such losses.

Anyway, I wanted to eventually shift this back to something positive, and I don't know how, so I'll just force it. The great thing about these Christmases past is that, though they are gone, they are never forgotten. The memories I have of sitting out in the garden house and waiting for the wood stove to warm up the stone floor so we could all slip off our shoes and feel the warmth through our socks are as strong as the memories I have of my commute home today. Those memories are thirty years old and still fresh, and God willing, they will remain that way.

This is going to be one of the most difficult of all Christmases for many of us, but do try to remember all those great Christmases you already had, and don't forget that they remain with you in the sense that they are part of what made you who you are. And think of the Christmases to come, and though they may be different, we can still make them positive and make new memories from them. When this whole Covid thing is over, I plan on taking Mama Goat to Ohio again to spend a Christmas with her Mama at her new home. I think I'll bring walnuts.

If you've made it this far, thank you for allowing me to share these holiday thoughts with you. I know they are rambling and perhaps even directionless, but the thing about burdens is that you have to shed them, sometimes violently, like a dog shaking off water.

Merry Christmas, Water Cooler, and God bless.
Great post. I've lost both parents in the last 2 years, my mother-in-law way too early 5 years ago, and several grandparents between my wife and I over last 5-6 years.

While I always enjoyed our various Christmas traditions, it was very hectic seeing everyone packed in 2 days. Some years I definitely took it for granted. What I wouldn't give now for one more chance to experience it one more time.

While I'm fortunate to have my 3 teen kids and wife here today, to me Christmas is all about big gatherings with extended family. Frankly this has been a long slow day.
 
Mar 3, 2020
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When I was a kid, we always had two Christmases. I'm sure a lot of families were like ours. The first Christmas was actually Christmas Eve. We'd gather around the tree in the early parts of the day, just Papa Goat, Mama Goat, Sister Goat, and me. We'd open a couple of presents early. Usually those presents were designed to give us some evening family activity. Maybe we got new stereos and listened to music together, or board games we could play that night while drinking warm apple cider. One glorious year, we got a Super Nintendo, which was quite the upgrade over our Atari 2600. My sister and I played Mario for hours, and then I squared off against Papa Goat with the first ever version of John Madden Football.

But then, we'd go to bed, and get up early the next morning, and drive to Ohio for second Christmas, or Real Christmas, as it were. The presents we didn't open would go with us, and be added to the large pile under the tree at Grandpa and Grandma Goat's house. A table in the middle of the living room would be set up with various snacks - bowls of M&Ms and mints and other candies, of course, but the star of the show was always the large bowl of unshelled nuts, with at least two nutcrackers handy, so people could stand there and have a conversation without having to awkwardly take turns going after the walnuts. Mama Goat and the other women would help Grandma in the kitchen while the menfolk ate nuts and talked about the year. Then we'd have an incredible meal, and drowsily make our way to the tree for another round of opening presents. After this, as it started to get dark, Grandpa would pull out the projector and show home movies. The same home movies we watched every year, but everyone loved them no matter how many times we saw them.

Then, just as us kiddos were falling asleep, we'd drive home, and Papa Goat never took a direct route home, because he knew the best path to take to see all the very best light displays. One farmer set up a huge display every year, out in the middle of nowhere, that was sort of an amusement ride. His semi-circular driveway had an entrance and and exit, and cars would pull in and slowly drive through the middle of this extensive explosion of lights. There was no fee for this. Just some guy who set up this display every year so that traveling parents could take a break from the monotony of the road and give their kids in the backseat something to gawk at.

Thirty years later, I'm sitting here at my desk, and sitting in front of me is the contact information I need to set up a Christmas call tomorrow between Mama Goat and Grandma Goat, with the help of the nurses at Grandma Goat's new, and last, home. No longer able to live safely in the outside world without 24-hour supervision, but still as healthy as someone half her age, according to her doctors, Grandma Goat is unlikely to ever see the house again that we spent so many Christmases in, though she's likely to spend a great number of new Christmases trying to remember how she's related to the person she's talking to over Zoom. A number of the other people we spent those Christmases with have long since gone to their own last homes, although theirs without nurses, and with only dirt and marble and the other departed to keep them company during the holidays.

People often say life is short. I think they are wrong. For the unlucky, sure, it can be short, but for most of us, it isn't. It's long. But it's also inexorable. Steadily moving, in only one direction, and every Christmas past is past forever. And eventually, we come to the point where we realize those Christmases we had in the past won't ever happen again. This year will be our first not going to Ohio, because Covid, but it won't be the first that isn't the same as Christmas once was. Last year, we went to Ohio, but we didn't have walnuts and home movies and large groups of relatives catching up. We had five people eating lunch meat sandwiches.

This is probably the darkest - or at least the most melancholic - of all my Xmas sermons, and it's not really a sermon. I'm not looking to make any theological points this year. Just an observation about life. In the time of Covid, we often feel like life has reached a turning point, but I think it's more likely that Covid has highlighted and brought out into the open the turning points we've made already. Covid isn't what took my childhood Christmases away from me. Cancer, heart disease, drugs and alcohol, and of course, above all, the still undefeated Father Time took them away.

So many losses, and not just IRL. We've had losses here in our virtual community, too. Andy, Kref, Buzz. It's insane to think we've been here so long to have shared such losses.

Anyway, I wanted to eventually shift this back to something positive, and I don't know how, so I'll just force it. The great thing about these Christmases past is that, though they are gone, they are never forgotten. The memories I have of sitting out in the garden house and waiting for the wood stove to warm up the stone floor so we could all slip off our shoes and feel the warmth through our socks are as strong as the memories I have of my commute home today. Those memories are thirty years old and still fresh, and God willing, they will remain that way.

This is going to be one of the most difficult of all Christmases for many of us, but do try to remember all those great Christmases you already had, and don't forget that they remain with you in the sense that they are part of what made you who you are. And think of the Christmases to come, and though they may be different, we can still make them positive and make new memories from them. When this whole Covid thing is over, I plan on taking Mama Goat to Ohio again to spend a Christmas with her Mama at her new home. I think I'll bring walnuts.

If you've made it this far, thank you for allowing me to share these holiday thoughts with you. I know they are rambling and perhaps even directionless, but the thing about burdens is that you have to shed them, sometimes violently, like a dog shaking off water.

Merry Christmas, Water Cooler, and God bless.
great sermon and so true. can remember the days of having to be at 6 events in 2 days and how it used to piss me off not really getting to enjoy any of them, the constant rush and everyone begging me to eat huge meal after huge meal , as were sitting here preparing a meal for 5 I regret not slowing down in those days and enjoying them for what they were. some of the best times of my life. merry xmas
 

VanPastorMan

Hall of Famer
Mar 21, 2002
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Central Pennsylvania Via Washington Indiana
When I was a kid, we always had two Christmases. I'm sure a lot of families were like ours. The first Christmas was actually Christmas Eve. We'd gather around the tree in the early parts of the day, just Papa Goat, Mama Goat, Sister Goat, and me. We'd open a couple of presents early. Usually those presents were designed to give us some evening family activity. Maybe we got new stereos and listened to music together, or board games we could play that night while drinking warm apple cider. One glorious year, we got a Super Nintendo, which was quite the upgrade over our Atari 2600. My sister and I played Mario for hours, and then I squared off against Papa Goat with the first ever version of John Madden Football.

But then, we'd go to bed, and get up early the next morning, and drive to Ohio for second Christmas, or Real Christmas, as it were. The presents we didn't open would go with us, and be added to the large pile under the tree at Grandpa and Grandma Goat's house. A table in the middle of the living room would be set up with various snacks - bowls of M&Ms and mints and other candies, of course, but the star of the show was always the large bowl of unshelled nuts, with at least two nutcrackers handy, so people could stand there and have a conversation without having to awkwardly take turns going after the walnuts. Mama Goat and the other women would help Grandma in the kitchen while the menfolk ate nuts and talked about the year. Then we'd have an incredible meal, and drowsily make our way to the tree for another round of opening presents. After this, as it started to get dark, Grandpa would pull out the projector and show home movies. The same home movies we watched every year, but everyone loved them no matter how many times we saw them.

Then, just as us kiddos were falling asleep, we'd drive home, and Papa Goat never took a direct route home, because he knew the best path to take to see all the very best light displays. One farmer set up a huge display every year, out in the middle of nowhere, that was sort of an amusement ride. His semi-circular driveway had an entrance and and exit, and cars would pull in and slowly drive through the middle of this extensive explosion of lights. There was no fee for this. Just some guy who set up this display every year so that traveling parents could take a break from the monotony of the road and give their kids in the backseat something to gawk at.

Thirty years later, I'm sitting here at my desk, and sitting in front of me is the contact information I need to set up a Christmas call tomorrow between Mama Goat and Grandma Goat, with the help of the nurses at Grandma Goat's new, and last, home. No longer able to live safely in the outside world without 24-hour supervision, but still as healthy as someone half her age, according to her doctors, Grandma Goat is unlikely to ever see the house again that we spent so many Christmases in, though she's likely to spend a great number of new Christmases trying to remember how she's related to the person she's talking to over Zoom. A number of the other people we spent those Christmases with have long since gone to their own last homes, although theirs without nurses, and with only dirt and marble and the other departed to keep them company during the holidays.

People often say life is short. I think they are wrong. For the unlucky, sure, it can be short, but for most of us, it isn't. It's long. But it's also inexorable. Steadily moving, in only one direction, and every Christmas past is past forever. And eventually, we come to the point where we realize those Christmases we had in the past won't ever happen again. This year will be our first not going to Ohio, because Covid, but it won't be the first that isn't the same as Christmas once was. Last year, we went to Ohio, but we didn't have walnuts and home movies and large groups of relatives catching up. We had five people eating lunch meat sandwiches.

This is probably the darkest - or at least the most melancholic - of all my Xmas sermons, and it's not really a sermon. I'm not looking to make any theological points this year. Just an observation about life. In the time of Covid, we often feel like life has reached a turning point, but I think it's more likely that Covid has highlighted and brought out into the open the turning points we've made already. Covid isn't what took my childhood Christmases away from me. Cancer, heart disease, drugs and alcohol, and of course, above all, the still undefeated Father Time took them away.

So many losses, and not just IRL. We've had losses here in our virtual community, too. Andy, Kref, Buzz. It's insane to think we've been here so long to have shared such losses.

Anyway, I wanted to eventually shift this back to something positive, and I don't know how, so I'll just force it. The great thing about these Christmases past is that, though they are gone, they are never forgotten. The memories I have of sitting out in the garden house and waiting for the wood stove to warm up the stone floor so we could all slip off our shoes and feel the warmth through our socks are as strong as the memories I have of my commute home today. Those memories are thirty years old and still fresh, and God willing, they will remain that way.

This is going to be one of the most difficult of all Christmases for many of us, but do try to remember all those great Christmases you already had, and don't forget that they remain with you in the sense that they are part of what made you who you are. And think of the Christmases to come, and though they may be different, we can still make them positive and make new memories from them. When this whole Covid thing is over, I plan on taking Mama Goat to Ohio again to spend a Christmas with her Mama at her new home. I think I'll bring walnuts.

If you've made it this far, thank you for allowing me to share these holiday thoughts with you. I know they are rambling and perhaps even directionless, but the thing about burdens is that you have to shed them, sometimes violently, like a dog shaking off water.

Merry Christmas, Water Cooler, and God bless.
One of our traditions is to have cinnamon rolls Christmas morning. When we have had church on Christmas day we have the rolls after church before we eat our dinner which consists of Ham,Mashed Potatoes,Green Beans, Corn, dinner rolls and dessert.
Things are different because of covid. I have been mentioning these to the congregation. We can't have the exact Christmas we want but be thankful we are able to have it at all. Just last night we had a zoom Christmas Eve Service. It was different because you can't do the same things you can do in a live setting. But we were able to enjoy one another digitally. We even got a surprise because a young man who is the son of faithful members showed up with his new wife. They were with us while living in Alaska as he is in the Air Force.
Last Sunday I mentioned how Christmas isn't the same as when you were a child. It was more exciting then. But you get kids and then grand kids and it brightens it up again. Our oldest grandson is 4. We watched the old cartoon How The Grinch Stole Christmas and Santa Clause Is Coming To Town. Just earlier this morning I was watching the 1938 A Christmas Carol because its my favorite version. It's always good to do some of the same things you did before.
 

HillzHoozier

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Gold Member
Mar 16, 2005
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When I was a kid, we always had two Christmases. I'm sure a lot of families were like ours. The first Christmas was actually Christmas Eve. We'd gather around the tree in the early parts of the day, just Papa Goat, Mama Goat, Sister Goat, and me. We'd open a couple of presents early. Usually those presents were designed to give us some evening family activity. Maybe we got new stereos and listened to music together, or board games we could play that night while drinking warm apple cider. One glorious year, we got a Super Nintendo, which was quite the upgrade over our Atari 2600. My sister and I played Mario for hours, and then I squared off against Papa Goat with the first ever version of John Madden Football.

But then, we'd go to bed, and get up early the next morning, and drive to Ohio for second Christmas, or Real Christmas, as it were. The presents we didn't open would go with us, and be added to the large pile under the tree at Grandpa and Grandma Goat's house. A table in the middle of the living room would be set up with various snacks - bowls of M&Ms and mints and other candies, of course, but the star of the show was always the large bowl of unshelled nuts, with at least two nutcrackers handy, so people could stand there and have a conversation without having to awkwardly take turns going after the walnuts. Mama Goat and the other women would help Grandma in the kitchen while the menfolk ate nuts and talked about the year. Then we'd have an incredible meal, and drowsily make our way to the tree for another round of opening presents. After this, as it started to get dark, Grandpa would pull out the projector and show home movies. The same home movies we watched every year, but everyone loved them no matter how many times we saw them.

Then, just as us kiddos were falling asleep, we'd drive home, and Papa Goat never took a direct route home, because he knew the best path to take to see all the very best light displays. One farmer set up a huge display every year, out in the middle of nowhere, that was sort of an amusement ride. His semi-circular driveway had an entrance and and exit, and cars would pull in and slowly drive through the middle of this extensive explosion of lights. There was no fee for this. Just some guy who set up this display every year so that traveling parents could take a break from the monotony of the road and give their kids in the backseat something to gawk at.

Thirty years later, I'm sitting here at my desk, and sitting in front of me is the contact information I need to set up a Christmas call tomorrow between Mama Goat and Grandma Goat, with the help of the nurses at Grandma Goat's new, and last, home. No longer able to live safely in the outside world without 24-hour supervision, but still as healthy as someone half her age, according to her doctors, Grandma Goat is unlikely to ever see the house again that we spent so many Christmases in, though she's likely to spend a great number of new Christmases trying to remember how she's related to the person she's talking to over Zoom. A number of the other people we spent those Christmases with have long since gone to their own last homes, although theirs without nurses, and with only dirt and marble and the other departed to keep them company during the holidays.

People often say life is short. I think they are wrong. For the unlucky, sure, it can be short, but for most of us, it isn't. It's long. But it's also inexorable. Steadily moving, in only one direction, and every Christmas past is past forever. And eventually, we come to the point where we realize those Christmases we had in the past won't ever happen again. This year will be our first not going to Ohio, because Covid, but it won't be the first that isn't the same as Christmas once was. Last year, we went to Ohio, but we didn't have walnuts and home movies and large groups of relatives catching up. We had five people eating lunch meat sandwiches.

This is probably the darkest - or at least the most melancholic - of all my Xmas sermons, and it's not really a sermon. I'm not looking to make any theological points this year. Just an observation about life. In the time of Covid, we often feel like life has reached a turning point, but I think it's more likely that Covid has highlighted and brought out into the open the turning points we've made already. Covid isn't what took my childhood Christmases away from me. Cancer, heart disease, drugs and alcohol, and of course, above all, the still undefeated Father Time took them away.

So many losses, and not just IRL. We've had losses here in our virtual community, too. Andy, Kref, Buzz. It's insane to think we've been here so long to have shared such losses.

Anyway, I wanted to eventually shift this back to something positive, and I don't know how, so I'll just force it. The great thing about these Christmases past is that, though they are gone, they are never forgotten. The memories I have of sitting out in the garden house and waiting for the wood stove to warm up the stone floor so we could all slip off our shoes and feel the warmth through our socks are as strong as the memories I have of my commute home today. Those memories are thirty years old and still fresh, and God willing, they will remain that way.

This is going to be one of the most difficult of all Christmases for many of us, but do try to remember all those great Christmases you already had, and don't forget that they remain with you in the sense that they are part of what made you who you are. And think of the Christmases to come, and though they may be different, we can still make them positive and make new memories from them. When this whole Covid thing is over, I plan on taking Mama Goat to Ohio again to spend a Christmas with her Mama at her new home. I think I'll bring walnuts.

If you've made it this far, thank you for allowing me to share these holiday thoughts with you. I know they are rambling and perhaps even directionless, but the thing about burdens is that you have to shed them, sometimes violently, like a dog shaking off water.

Merry Christmas, Water Cooler, and God bless.
Merry Christmas, Goat and fellow Coolerites!
 

hoot1

Hall of Famer
Aug 29, 2001
15,550
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Thanks Goat for sharing your recollections.

It reminded me that the wife and i are like Grandma ans Grandpa Goat with not too many more Christmases ahead of us.

The tough part is our Children and Grandchildren really care about us.. This makes me both glad and sad at the same time.
 

Morrison

All-Big Ten
Gold Member
Aug 28, 2001
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Northern California
When I was a kid, we always had two Christmases. I'm sure a lot of families were like ours. The first Christmas was actually Christmas Eve. We'd gather around the tree in the early parts of the day, just Papa Goat, Mama Goat, Sister Goat, and me. We'd open a couple of presents early. Usually those presents were designed to give us some evening family activity. Maybe we got new stereos and listened to music together, or board games we could play that night while drinking warm apple cider. One glorious year, we got a Super Nintendo, which was quite the upgrade over our Atari 2600. My sister and I played Mario for hours, and then I squared off against Papa Goat with the first ever version of John Madden Football.

But then, we'd go to bed, and get up early the next morning, and drive to Ohio for second Christmas, or Real Christmas, as it were. The presents we didn't open would go with us, and be added to the large pile under the tree at Grandpa and Grandma Goat's house. A table in the middle of the living room would be set up with various snacks - bowls of M&Ms and mints and other candies, of course, but the star of the show was always the large bowl of unshelled nuts, with at least two nutcrackers handy, so people could stand there and have a conversation without having to awkwardly take turns going after the walnuts. Mama Goat and the other women would help Grandma in the kitchen while the menfolk ate nuts and talked about the year. Then we'd have an incredible meal, and drowsily make our way to the tree for another round of opening presents. After this, as it started to get dark, Grandpa would pull out the projector and show home movies. The same home movies we watched every year, but everyone loved them no matter how many times we saw them.

Then, just as us kiddos were falling asleep, we'd drive home, and Papa Goat never took a direct route home, because he knew the best path to take to see all the very best light displays. One farmer set up a huge display every year, out in the middle of nowhere, that was sort of an amusement ride. His semi-circular driveway had an entrance and and exit, and cars would pull in and slowly drive through the middle of this extensive explosion of lights. There was no fee for this. Just some guy who set up this display every year so that traveling parents could take a break from the monotony of the road and give their kids in the backseat something to gawk at.

Thirty years later, I'm sitting here at my desk, and sitting in front of me is the contact information I need to set up a Christmas call tomorrow between Mama Goat and Grandma Goat, with the help of the nurses at Grandma Goat's new, and last, home. No longer able to live safely in the outside world without 24-hour supervision, but still as healthy as someone half her age, according to her doctors, Grandma Goat is unlikely to ever see the house again that we spent so many Christmases in, though she's likely to spend a great number of new Christmases trying to remember how she's related to the person she's talking to over Zoom. A number of the other people we spent those Christmases with have long since gone to their own last homes, although theirs without nurses, and with only dirt and marble and the other departed to keep them company during the holidays.

People often say life is short. I think they are wrong. For the unlucky, sure, it can be short, but for most of us, it isn't. It's long. But it's also inexorable. Steadily moving, in only one direction, and every Christmas past is past forever. And eventually, we come to the point where we realize those Christmases we had in the past won't ever happen again. This year will be our first not going to Ohio, because Covid, but it won't be the first that isn't the same as Christmas once was. Last year, we went to Ohio, but we didn't have walnuts and home movies and large groups of relatives catching up. We had five people eating lunch meat sandwiches.

This is probably the darkest - or at least the most melancholic - of all my Xmas sermons, and it's not really a sermon. I'm not looking to make any theological points this year. Just an observation about life. In the time of Covid, we often feel like life has reached a turning point, but I think it's more likely that Covid has highlighted and brought out into the open the turning points we've made already. Covid isn't what took my childhood Christmases away from me. Cancer, heart disease, drugs and alcohol, and of course, above all, the still undefeated Father Time took them away.

So many losses, and not just IRL. We've had losses here in our virtual community, too. Andy, Kref, Buzz. It's insane to think we've been here so long to have shared such losses.

Anyway, I wanted to eventually shift this back to something positive, and I don't know how, so I'll just force it. The great thing about these Christmases past is that, though they are gone, they are never forgotten. The memories I have of sitting out in the garden house and waiting for the wood stove to warm up the stone floor so we could all slip off our shoes and feel the warmth through our socks are as strong as the memories I have of my commute home today. Those memories are thirty years old and still fresh, and God willing, they will remain that way.

This is going to be one of the most difficult of all Christmases for many of us, but do try to remember all those great Christmases you already had, and don't forget that they remain with you in the sense that they are part of what made you who you are. And think of the Christmases to come, and though they may be different, we can still make them positive and make new memories from them. When this whole Covid thing is over, I plan on taking Mama Goat to Ohio again to spend a Christmas with her Mama at her new home. I think I'll bring walnuts.

If you've made it this far, thank you for allowing me to share these holiday thoughts with you. I know they are rambling and perhaps even directionless, but the thing about burdens is that you have to shed them, sometimes violently, like a dog shaking off water.

Merry Christmas, Water Cooler, and God bless.
Excellent story. I was riding along with you, experiencing the Christmas as a 10 year old Goat.
 

Harry Hondo

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As a kid growing up in South Bend I had two very different Christmases on Christmas Day. After our family opened our gifts at home we’d head to my mother’s parents, the Protestants in the country, and have a very quiet traditional early afternoon meal.

In the late afternoon we’d head to downtown South Bend to my immigrant Italian grandparents house on Hill St. There you’d find a more “party” atmosphere filled with pasta dishes, wine, and loud conversation. After the evening meal was cleared, all the men and a couple of the ladies, would gather at the table and play poker.

it was a nice contrast that I got to see how two very different American families, my family, celebrated the holiday. Love those memories.
 

JamieDimonsBalls

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Jun 28, 2015
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When I was a kid, we always had two Christmases. I'm sure a lot of families were like ours. The first Christmas was actually Christmas Eve. We'd gather around the tree in the early parts of the day, just Papa Goat, Mama Goat, Sister Goat, and me. We'd open a couple of presents early. Usually those presents were designed to give us some evening family activity. Maybe we got new stereos and listened to music together, or board games we could play that night while drinking warm apple cider. One glorious year, we got a Super Nintendo, which was quite the upgrade over our Atari 2600. My sister and I played Mario for hours, and then I squared off against Papa Goat with the first ever version of John Madden Football.

But then, we'd go to bed, and get up early the next morning, and drive to Ohio for second Christmas, or Real Christmas, as it were. The presents we didn't open would go with us, and be added to the large pile under the tree at Grandpa and Grandma Goat's house. A table in the middle of the living room would be set up with various snacks - bowls of M&Ms and mints and other candies, of course, but the star of the show was always the large bowl of unshelled nuts, with at least two nutcrackers handy, so people could stand there and have a conversation without having to awkwardly take turns going after the walnuts. Mama Goat and the other women would help Grandma in the kitchen while the menfolk ate nuts and talked about the year. Then we'd have an incredible meal, and drowsily make our way to the tree for another round of opening presents. After this, as it started to get dark, Grandpa would pull out the projector and show home movies. The same home movies we watched every year, but everyone loved them no matter how many times we saw them.

Then, just as us kiddos were falling asleep, we'd drive home, and Papa Goat never took a direct route home, because he knew the best path to take to see all the very best light displays. One farmer set up a huge display every year, out in the middle of nowhere, that was sort of an amusement ride. His semi-circular driveway had an entrance and and exit, and cars would pull in and slowly drive through the middle of this extensive explosion of lights. There was no fee for this. Just some guy who set up this display every year so that traveling parents could take a break from the monotony of the road and give their kids in the backseat something to gawk at.

Thirty years later, I'm sitting here at my desk, and sitting in front of me is the contact information I need to set up a Christmas call tomorrow between Mama Goat and Grandma Goat, with the help of the nurses at Grandma Goat's new, and last, home. No longer able to live safely in the outside world without 24-hour supervision, but still as healthy as someone half her age, according to her doctors, Grandma Goat is unlikely to ever see the house again that we spent so many Christmases in, though she's likely to spend a great number of new Christmases trying to remember how she's related to the person she's talking to over Zoom. A number of the other people we spent those Christmases with have long since gone to their own last homes, although theirs without nurses, and with only dirt and marble and the other departed to keep them company during the holidays.

People often say life is short. I think they are wrong. For the unlucky, sure, it can be short, but for most of us, it isn't. It's long. But it's also inexorable. Steadily moving, in only one direction, and every Christmas past is past forever. And eventually, we come to the point where we realize those Christmases we had in the past won't ever happen again. This year will be our first not going to Ohio, because Covid, but it won't be the first that isn't the same as Christmas once was. Last year, we went to Ohio, but we didn't have walnuts and home movies and large groups of relatives catching up. We had five people eating lunch meat sandwiches.

This is probably the darkest - or at least the most melancholic - of all my Xmas sermons, and it's not really a sermon. I'm not looking to make any theological points this year. Just an observation about life. In the time of Covid, we often feel like life has reached a turning point, but I think it's more likely that Covid has highlighted and brought out into the open the turning points we've made already. Covid isn't what took my childhood Christmases away from me. Cancer, heart disease, drugs and alcohol, and of course, above all, the still undefeated Father Time took them away.

So many losses, and not just IRL. We've had losses here in our virtual community, too. Andy, Kref, Buzz. It's insane to think we've been here so long to have shared such losses.

Anyway, I wanted to eventually shift this back to something positive, and I don't know how, so I'll just force it. The great thing about these Christmases past is that, though they are gone, they are never forgotten. The memories I have of sitting out in the garden house and waiting for the wood stove to warm up the stone floor so we could all slip off our shoes and feel the warmth through our socks are as strong as the memories I have of my commute home today. Those memories are thirty years old and still fresh, and God willing, they will remain that way.

This is going to be one of the most difficult of all Christmases for many of us, but do try to remember all those great Christmases you already had, and don't forget that they remain with you in the sense that they are part of what made you who you are. And think of the Christmases to come, and though they may be different, we can still make them positive and make new memories from them. When this whole Covid thing is over, I plan on taking Mama Goat to Ohio again to spend a Christmas with her Mama at her new home. I think I'll bring walnuts.

If you've made it this far, thank you for allowing me to share these holiday thoughts with you. I know they are rambling and perhaps even directionless, but the thing about burdens is that you have to shed them, sometimes violently, like a dog shaking off water.

Merry Christmas, Water Cooler, and God bless.

merry Xmas
 

TheOriginalHappyGoat

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Margaritaville
When we have had church on Christmas day we have the rolls after church before we eat our dinner which consists of Ham,Mashed Potatoes,Green Beans, Corn, dinner rolls and dessert.
This is almost identical to the dinner I'm making for Mama Goat tonight. Because Covid, it's just me and her, so I got a very small ham, and I'm doing potatoes, green beans, corn, crescent rolls, and for dessert, a strawberry-rhubarb pie.
 

TheOriginalHappyGoat

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Margaritaville
Yes, not really close, but an old guitar buddy of mine. Just a reminder to be grateful for the kinds of things you wrote about in your OP. Good stuff, Goat.

I didn't intend to sidetrack your thread. I figured some who post here might be able or interested in making a donation.
Sidetrack is welcome. I hope those who have the means help your guitar buddy out. Merry Xmas.
 

JamieDimonsBalls

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strawberry-rhubarb pie

tenor.gif
 

TheOriginalHappyGoat

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Margaritaville
Not gonna lie, I’ve become a huge fan of tea in the past year. Do you ever drink loose leaf or sachets?
Not often, to be honest, because I'm lazy. But I have done it, and I appreciate the different loose leaf available. For a while, after I moved back to Indiana, while I was studying for the bar, I worked at a catering joint, and loose leaf tea was one of our big calling cards.

Truth is, I'm one of those guys who just has a favorite. I like Earl Grey. I don't need to be adventurous. So I buy Earl Grey and and drink Earl Grey.
 

Marvin the Martian

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Not often, to be honest, because I'm lazy. But I have done it, and I appreciate the different loose leaf available. For a while, after I moved back to Indiana, while I was studying for the bar, I worked at a catering joint, and loose leaf tea was one of our big calling cards.

Truth is, I'm one of those guys who just has a favorite. I like Earl Grey. I don't need to be adventurous. So I buy Earl Grey and and drink Earl Grey.

I desperately wanted to like Earl Grey, the whole Jean-Luc Picard thing, but it sucks. I just cannot stand the floral flavor. English Breakfast is where it is at.
 

iuwclurker

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Jul 6, 2015
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When I was a kid, we always had two Christmases. I'm sure a lot of families were like ours. The first Christmas was actually Christmas Eve. We'd gather around the tree in the early parts of the day, just Papa Goat, Mama Goat, Sister Goat, and me. We'd open a couple of presents early. Usually those presents were designed to give us some evening family activity. Maybe we got new stereos and listened to music together, or board games we could play that night while drinking warm apple cider. One glorious year, we got a Super Nintendo, which was quite the upgrade over our Atari 2600. My sister and I played Mario for hours, and then I squared off against Papa Goat with the first ever version of John Madden Football.

But then, we'd go to bed, and get up early the next morning, and drive to Ohio for second Christmas, or Real Christmas, as it were. The presents we didn't open would go with us, and be added to the large pile under the tree at Grandpa and Grandma Goat's house. A table in the middle of the living room would be set up with various snacks - bowls of M&Ms and mints and other candies, of course, but the star of the show was always the large bowl of unshelled nuts, with at least two nutcrackers handy, so people could stand there and have a conversation without having to awkwardly take turns going after the walnuts. Mama Goat and the other women would help Grandma in the kitchen while the menfolk ate nuts and talked about the year. Then we'd have an incredible meal, and drowsily make our way to the tree for another round of opening presents. After this, as it started to get dark, Grandpa would pull out the projector and show home movies. The same home movies we watched every year, but everyone loved them no matter how many times we saw them.

Then, just as us kiddos were falling asleep, we'd drive home, and Papa Goat never took a direct route home, because he knew the best path to take to see all the very best light displays. One farmer set up a huge display every year, out in the middle of nowhere, that was sort of an amusement ride. His semi-circular driveway had an entrance and and exit, and cars would pull in and slowly drive through the middle of this extensive explosion of lights. There was no fee for this. Just some guy who set up this display every year so that traveling parents could take a break from the monotony of the road and give their kids in the backseat something to gawk at.

Thirty years later, I'm sitting here at my desk, and sitting in front of me is the contact information I need to set up a Christmas call tomorrow between Mama Goat and Grandma Goat, with the help of the nurses at Grandma Goat's new, and last, home. No longer able to live safely in the outside world without 24-hour supervision, but still as healthy as someone half her age, according to her doctors, Grandma Goat is unlikely to ever see the house again that we spent so many Christmases in, though she's likely to spend a great number of new Christmases trying to remember how she's related to the person she's talking to over Zoom. A number of the other people we spent those Christmases with have long since gone to their own last homes, although theirs without nurses, and with only dirt and marble and the other departed to keep them company during the holidays.

People often say life is short. I think they are wrong. For the unlucky, sure, it can be short, but for most of us, it isn't. It's long. But it's also inexorable. Steadily moving, in only one direction, and every Christmas past is past forever. And eventually, we come to the point where we realize those Christmases we had in the past won't ever happen again. This year will be our first not going to Ohio, because Covid, but it won't be the first that isn't the same as Christmas once was. Last year, we went to Ohio, but we didn't have walnuts and home movies and large groups of relatives catching up. We had five people eating lunch meat sandwiches.

This is probably the darkest - or at least the most melancholic - of all my Xmas sermons, and it's not really a sermon. I'm not looking to make any theological points this year. Just an observation about life. In the time of Covid, we often feel like life has reached a turning point, but I think it's more likely that Covid has highlighted and brought out into the open the turning points we've made already. Covid isn't what took my childhood Christmases away from me. Cancer, heart disease, drugs and alcohol, and of course, above all, the still undefeated Father Time took them away.

So many losses, and not just IRL. We've had losses here in our virtual community, too. Andy, Kref, Buzz. It's insane to think we've been here so long to have shared such losses.

Anyway, I wanted to eventually shift this back to something positive, and I don't know how, so I'll just force it. The great thing about these Christmases past is that, though they are gone, they are never forgotten. The memories I have of sitting out in the garden house and waiting for the wood stove to warm up the stone floor so we could all slip off our shoes and feel the warmth through our socks are as strong as the memories I have of my commute home today. Those memories are thirty years old and still fresh, and God willing, they will remain that way.

This is going to be one of the most difficult of all Christmases for many of us, but do try to remember all those great Christmases you already had, and don't forget that they remain with you in the sense that they are part of what made you who you are. And think of the Christmases to come, and though they may be different, we can still make them positive and make new memories from them. When this whole Covid thing is over, I plan on taking Mama Goat to Ohio again to spend a Christmas with her Mama at her new home. I think I'll bring walnuts.

If you've made it this far, thank you for allowing me to share these holiday thoughts with you. I know they are rambling and perhaps even directionless, but the thing about burdens is that you have to shed them, sometimes violently, like a dog shaking off water.

Merry Christmas, Water Cooler, and God bless.
Shifting positive...

To me, yours is fundamentally a story of love and communication, also Christ’s basic message. Love, honesty and communication are the keys to happiness. Love returns love. Honesty enables one to be true to oneself and know others for who they are. Your parents loved you and now you return it to your mother.

Real tragedy is not growing up with love. That sad story is evident to varying degrees in certain people. Compassion for them may not change them but it keeps our hearts free.
 

JamieDimonsBalls

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Not often, to be honest, because I'm lazy. But I have done it, and I appreciate the different loose leaf available. For a while, after I moved back to Indiana, while I was studying for the bar, I worked at a catering joint, and loose leaf tea was one of our big calling cards.

Truth is, I'm one of those guys who just has a favorite. I like Earl Grey. I don't need to be adventurous. So I buy Earl Grey and and drink Earl Grey.

same, too lazy and don’t have the time to dedicate to loose Leaf. I’ve been happy with Sachets from Harney and Sons. More expensive than bags (still use some Tazo and Bigelow), but come out to ~33 cents per bag.
 
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Noodle

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And if you must have black tea rather than puer, I highly recommend Golden Monkey (Haney & Sons has one), or Yunnan Gold
 

Noodle

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i haven’t been as fond of Asian teas (but only had them at restaurants) vs English/Euro. What are the differences?
Puer tea tastes nothing like the tea you’ve been drinking. It’s an earthier taste - some say it’s like drinking straw that’s been sitting in horse manure for a month. The Golden Monkey and Yunnan Gold taste like a deeper but mellower version of English Breakfast. Incredibly smooth with no astringency.
 

Noodle

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