Linda Seccaspina

The Tayles of Emileeeeee McPheeeeee

Linda Seccaspina

Linda Seccaspina
July 24
Formerly called The Maiden of Death by Derek Raymaker Xpress Magazine
When you wish upon a star
Linda's column can now be read in The Humm newspaper and online. Also pick up an issue of Screamin Mamas magazine from Florida for a peak at some of my writing.>> My idol is former mentor and OPRAH senior associate producer Elizabeth Coady. Taskmaster extraordinaire but learned so much from her, and if I could be 1/8 as talented as her I 'd be laughing.>>>>> My books "Menopausal Woman From the Corn" "Cowansville High Misremembered" "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities" and "Cancer Calls Collect" now available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle >>>>>>>All covers also done by Diana Ani Stokely GRAFIX to go.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> "Cowansville High School Misremembered" book is now out as a fundraiser for the school._______________________ ___________________ Follow her on Twitter @@Mcpheeeeee. Linda Seccaspina was born in Cowansville Quebec about the same time the wheel was invented. _____________________________________ She used to own clothing stores in Ottawa and Toronto Ontario Canada from 1974-1996 called Flash Cadilac, Savannah Devilles, Nightmares and Flaming Groovies. _____________________________________ Her brain tries to writes stories about her menopausal life and a host of other things she gets annoyed at. _____________________________________ She has two sons, Schuyleur and one that does not want his name mentioned. She has a grandson called Romeo who is a Boston Terrier and a grandaughter Bella who is a french bulldog. _____________________________________ Linda loves people quite plain and simple and loves to hug.. Yes, she is one of "those".


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Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 22, 2010 10:51AM

Four years later - Still searching for Christmas in the rain

Rate: 68 Flag



When I wrote this in 2006 I wondered if things might change through the years. I honestly thought that people might begin to respect their fellow man come Holiday time and not berate each other. Four years later to the exact day nothing has changed including the weather, but the pictures I took are current.


Tuesday, Day 1

It is pouring rain, and I have bundled up all my shipping packages  in garbage bags for the daily 22 block trek to the Post Office. The USPS  is selling teddy bears, totes and note cards but there are no Christmas trees. I take the 88 bus and trudge the 7 blocks to the Salvation Army through Chinatown in Oakland. There was neither a garland nor a seasonal greeting sign  anywhere. All I saw was  an over abundance of Peking Ducks hanging in the windows. I spot no trees or lights, just a lone red ribbon on a coffee shop door. Not even the Marriott Hotel has holiday lights anywhere.


Downtown Berkeley fares no better. There are simply just "Peace and Joy" banners on the light poles. St Mary’s Church on San Pablo Avenue has over 100 crosses out on their front lawn today. I try and count them as I wait for the light. Each one represents someone who died a violent death in Oakland this year. These people were not killed by terrorists or cowboys from Nevada. They were murdered over drugs and now families of the dead will mourn their loss this Christmas.




Wednesday Day 2

It’s off to San Francisco today to look for more things to sell. I trudge up the street to the Post Office once again and by block two I am running down the sidewalk with the cart as I have a loose pit bull running after me. Not a good way to start the day. I arrive in the city to find only a few silver garlands in the window of Goodwill and Thrift Town and that's it.

I spot three Seasons Greetings in the windows of few stores. It's still raining and raining hard. I go to the Goodwill on Mission Street and Alan the manager looks pretty upset. He tells me he has had to box all his Christmas trees  he had to sell as he can’t display them. He then tells me the employee Christmas party is tomorrow night and they had to take the tree down there too as someone complained and it’s now called the “Holiday Party". 



Thursday Day 3

It’s back to the city today as I am having one heck of a time finding stuff to sell. It’s pouring and I am still wearing the rubber coated quilted snow jacket my boys grew out of. The cart is still filled with garbage bags to keep everything dry.

I take the subway back to the same places I went to yesterday in the Mission district. I decide to take the 33 bus up to the Castro district to a music shop there. Haven't been there in ages and figure it can’t hurt. Still no sign of Christmas and the rain is coming down like cats and dogs. Where have they hidden the Christmas I once knew?




As I approach the four corners where the rainbow flags fly I start to smile. Castro Street has Christmas trees and decorations everywhere. Windows are beautiful and even the Pottery Barn has a tree in the window.

It feels incredible and the cookie shops have their doors open. I can honestly say I  smell gingerbread baking. Walking slowly I savour each window. People are smiling and I suddenly feel the Christmas season of years gone by. I glance over my shoulder and look at Twin Peaks which is covered in fog but I can see sparkling lights all the way up the street.

Am I dreaming?




I arrive at the record store and find out it doesn't open up for another 15 minutes so I try to stand in a doorway to stay out of the rain. My hair is soaking, I look like heck and I have a cart. There is a complete vision for you. A man goes by me, hands me a dollar and tells me to stay dry.
He thinks I'm homeless. Great!

I take the streetcar back down to Hyde Street which is packed and it takes me 5 minutes and a lot of hollering to get off.  People just don't want to move and are generally not happy. The Grinch has most certainly taken over this streetcar.





I have decided to "climb" Hyde Street today. It takes me about 25 minutes to walk to the top and it’s packed with homeless people up and down the street. Since my broken toe is better I don't have to wrap it with bubble wrap anymore. I think I can do this today! 

I get to the top and go to the Cathedral Thrift shop. By this time I am sweating like there is no tomorrow and my hair is soaking wet. I just look like hell and I swear I stink. The lady looks at me as I purchase two items and tells me she will only charge me a dollar each, pats my hand and tells me to be careful out there. She obviously thinks I'm homeless too.

I now have to walk back down all those 10 blocks and make sure I don't fall as it is so steep. So far I have only seen one tiny lone festive tree in a massage parlour window. When I hit Geary Street I hear gunshots. By the time I get down to Turk street the police have yellowed taped the whole street off. The African American man who screamed "Merry Christmas Red" when I walked by him on the way up now lies dead in the middle of the street.



When I was young everyone celebrated the holidays and no one felt slighted. Menorahs, Christmas trees you name it were everywhere and no one was shouting for them to be taken down. No one got upset at Chinese New Year or told the Ukrainians to put their perogies away. Everyone got along and it was wonderful.

So what happened?

Did I miss something?

Where has the love gone?

Was it stolen by the partridge in the pear tree? Did the Grinch hide it?

It’s not the icon of the Christmas tree or the decorations really that I seek; it’s the love, the warmth and the fellowship. It has been missing for years and has robbed me of any holiday spirit.




I saunter towards the subway and hand the dollar I had received to a very wet homeless man. He smiles and says,

"Merry Christmas Mam!"

I start to leave and he shouts,

"By the way if you have time we are all going to be sitting in front of Carl's Jr tonight."

I sighed and realized he thought I was homeless too, but he still wanted me to share Christmas Eve.

He did not have a tree, nor did he have decorations but he still had love in his heart to share.

I scratched my head and wondered about these Holiday complainers that make a stink about this or that. Maybe it really isn't the decorations, trees, or  signs that really bother them.

Maybe they just do not have any love in their hearts.

Has anyone ever thought of that?


Text and Images by Linda Seccaspina 2010

Images were shot between rain storms except the very last one.

Dedicated to Kat (Kirsten) Easley





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OK, just wanted to do that for a change. ;)
I was trudging along with you on your adventure. Isn't it amazing how people will judge at the slightest thing? Of course you passed on your dollar. I loved his spirit. I know you wrote this in 2006 and that you've mentioned you don't really do Christmas yourself anymore. Was this experience a contributor? I'm curious.
Christmas comes but once a year
And for that I have to cheer.
That's my feeling, I won't fake it--
You decide how to take it.
Christmas comes but once a year
And for that I have to cheer.
That's my feeling, I won't fake it--
You decide how to take it.
I used to be the number one Christmas fan.. Of course I lived in a place that I swear was Santa land.

I think it is the poverty and the reality of it all that gets to me. The only place I know it is Christmas is outside. I do not go to malls so that is out. I think Schmoopie it is the people. Things are really bad and I hate to see people suffer.

Why should two countries, states , provinces be different?
I know what the differences are and I get so angry that people have to suffer. So it bothers me that some can celebrate and others have nothing left.
I guess I take the human race very seriously and care..
Nothing had changed in 4 years.. Only there are more crosses..:(
Leon I am thrilled how you celebrates Christmas.. I really am. I used to be the person that delivered gifts to the seniors that lived alone on Christmas Eve. They knew that on Christmas morning that Santa had left something outside their door.
I am just a thinker that is all.:)
Kat.. I wanted to dedicate this to the person that has called me Christmas names hahaha I do love you so.
My piece is about reality that is all.
Boy I had to work on this .. My writing was awfullllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll then hahaha.. still is but I watch others..:)
Everyone tries to help out during the Holiday season. But you see what happens every day out there. It is not pretty.
Rugrat.. I am so mad. I got two nasty emails from readers telling me NOT to destroy their Christmas with this piece.
THIS is the problem. People give during the holidays or if there is a national disaster. I am out there every day walking the streets seeing what is going on.
Maybe if the government came down to the poverty everywhere and saw what was going on things might be better.
I cannot celebrate if others are suffering.
OK, I have officially lost it, and I am crying for real. What a moving piece.

We have lights on our house, you'll be happy to know.. Lots of lights because this year we invested in solar power...your stimulus dollars at work helped pay for it... but as we drive around town, I am wondering why there are so few lights. Haloween was like that too. No one put out jack-o-lanterns or ghosts or anything.

I feel like we are one big light in a dark wilderness, it's actually really creepy, and now I am really glad we do it, because there are people hungering for a sense of celebration and light and love.

OK, it's a metaphor for me, a Light in the wilderness, how I hope to live out my life. Merry Christmas, Linda, and happy New Year too.
I like how your camera always seems to be at your side. You bring in the little details. Homeless at Christmas and all sticking together. My heart and love are sorely tested as I get older and in more trouble. Ahh for the days of youth when the holiday looked rosy.
Too many people are wasting usable space by being alive.
They'd be better off dead with their misery and hate.
We'd also be better off if they were dead.

I'm an atheist.
I NEVER EVER say that bullshit "happy holidays".
I say merry christmas and, sometimes I add happy new year.
Because I am a living breathing human being and enjoy the warm and friendly feeling of saying merry christmas.

BOOOOOOO to the cold, unfeeling haters.
One desert muse.. thank you..
Thank you for caring that someone might go by and know that loving people lived there.
The bottom line is about caring. I have a hard time when I see people suffer every darn day. I am not trying to take away Christmas or whatever for everyone.. I am screamingggggggggggg
That is all.
Thank you for showing you care.
Zanelle I go nowhere without my little Target special camera. That camera was given to me in love because he knew that I wanted to capture life.
It has been the best gift given to me ever. So I capture what I see.

XJS.. I know how you feel and I respect you just like Skypixie and others. I am behind anyone on what they care for. BUT to avoid caring about anything.. That is a travesty.
So sad to have all the Merry disappear, yeah for Castro, I ove that place anytime, the people are all so friendly. Hope the sun shines for you today.
rated with empathy
Love this piece, Linda. Somehow people just want to hear warm, fuzzy stories or whiny dishing on dysfunctional family at this time of the year. Thanks for painting a real picture without either of the extremes. :-) rated
A sad piece with a perfect title. I too am done with Christmas out in the world (my house too.) But the true spirit of Christmas so clearly lives in your heart.

Sad as your tale was, it made me homesick for San Francisco...(then again, just about anything will. Left my heart there long ago.)
Christmas is the time of year when we should cheer. There should be no anger nor fear. Those of don't understand the magic of this joyous season are part of the reason we live in states of anger and fear.

If only you could see my grandson's eyes light up the first time he touched the tree's balls. If only you could hear my grandson's coos the first time he heard the musical melodies coming from a wooden box. It's when I watch him I'm a child again. Everything he sees, hears, touches and tastes is pristine and pure.
the man who wished you a merry christmas was shot right afterwards? whoa. that would stomp my christmas buzz too. Sad and interesting piece, linda. there are plenty of mean people around, that's for sure.
It was very touching that the homeless man reached out to you after you gave him the dollar. Every day I feel like I have received a gift from you--that is how much I enjoy your offerings on OS. Thank you again and again for lifting my spirits with your off-beat sense of humor and making me think of others with your generous humanity.
What a great critique of how things have changed, and y' know, change is good, BUT we, as a society are so"please-feel-free-to-do-your-own-thing." about everything and yet we have this compulsion to tell everyone else, that believes differently, that THEY and how they believe, are unacceptable. Now non believers, in Christmas trees, are saying they are uncomfortable with what the tree stands for, so they don't want to have to look at it, I read this in the news. But I am forced to look at idiocrisy every time I turn around. Example: I cant think of the name of the religion, but I believe it was in West Virginia, men of a certain faith? refuse to cut their hair and breards, when DISOBEYING the law and get sent to prison. My understanding of the prison system is that you get booked, fumigated, get a uniform and get your hair cut off. These guys are saying, "No we are not cutting our hair!!" And do you know what the state said, "Don't worry, since there are 40 of you here, we will respect your religion, and build you your own prison!!" This wasnt a wing Linda, they got their own prison building!! Who knows what these criminals did to get in there and apparently, no one cares, but please, let's be tolerant, let's be kind and not upset these fine gentlemen. Sorry Honey, did not mean to rant!!
Linda--one of your best ever. And maybe you've hit on exactly what it should be all about.
A young man at work last night made the cynical, sarcastic comment that he knows there is no Santa Claus (he's contrarian and was trying to get a rise from people). My response--"no, you're wrong, to prove it all you have to do is see the joy and light and amazement and wonder on the face of a child or a grandchild. Then you know Christmas is real." At least for us older folk.
The man with whom you shared your dollar knows. And you know too.
I guess we have to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas and have that simple message reitereated to us. It's one of the few things on the tube which focuses on that message.
There's nothing not to love about this, Linda - and love is what makes all the difference. The rest is all dressing. A lovely post about your observations and a worthy dedication to a beautiful friend, Kate. You are the angel atop the tree.
♥ R♥
Stay warm, stay dry, hope for better times. Be well. All the best to a great lady.
Poetess.. I do not mean to upset anyone. I am just writing what I see. the last thing I want to do is be angry.. but this world is so screwed up right now.

Beckalim.. I undersntand what you are saying. No one wants to really hear what is going on out there.

Muse.. you can always come back..:)

Belinda.. I wish everyone nothing but joy .. you know me.. but tell that to the kids living in cars with their families around here..:(
This is what bothers me.
Caroline.. will not be my first nor my last

Maryway.. tomorrow's blog will be different but I had to tell the truth today. HUGGGGGGG
Political Correctness strikes again. I truly hate what it has done, not only to Christmas, but just life in general. I worked for Walmart and the last five years I worked there I was told NOT to say "Merry Christmas" to customers. I ignored them and went out of my way to say just those words to my customers as they left the store. Funny thing is, no one ever complained and management never tried to make me stop.
Cindy.. I hear what you are saying.. as the great Susan Powter said..
Everything needs to stop and think if we are to save ourselves.

Walter. .. I believe Christmas is about love and giving to your fellow man. What happened. You have NO idea what a backlash I am getting here from some people.
I wish everyone nothing but love and peace for their families.
That would be a start and then we could move on to others.

Fusun.. that is all I am trying to convey here. Love one another.
Sarah.. if I had to do it all over again I would be an advocate for the poor.
No one is listening right now.
Tormon.. I am proud of you. You did not stay with the mainstream fishes and do what they did. Bravo!

That is why I will never be popular with Editors or have a book.

I do what I want - like you did.
I speak the truth of the horrors out there.
Life is not full of lollipops and rainbow out there and people are afraid to hear it.
Like your management was if heaven forbid anyone said Merry Christmas.
Speaking the truth is a start and I will never stop and heaven forbid anyone that tries to stop me.
I think it's pretty cool that the guy who thought you were also homeless wanted to make sure you had a group of people around you later on. I think a lot of people miss the significance of the holidays in that no matter how down and out you are, basically no one really wants to be alone if they don't have to be.
Linda, beautiful, as you are, the emotion you evoke here, the pain that is felt is all very real. PM ing you. R
Beautifully written, Linda. Just beautiful! You are "growing" really quickly now.

Oh, by the way, it isn't the love that is missing. It is respect that has disappeared. One cannot love those one hardly even knows. We use that word to mean too many things.

When we lose respect for others we lose a lot more than we think. We also lose their respect for us. And, all too often, our own respect for ourselves. Without respect we cannot even love those we ought to love; sometimes we cannot even love ourselves.

We cannot force ourselves to "love" others. But we can push ourself to regain our respect for others. This, unlike love, IS under our control. Think about it.
As a nation we have become contentious and mean spirited. Teaching respect for others is no longer part of our children's lesson plans and we have "wars" on everything , even cup cakes. We make contests over weight loss and weddings and love. What is left to celebrate ? We are thankful for nothing and angry at everything including each other if we veer in the slightest from whatever crie de guerre is popular on Fox news for the day.........Your post doesn't make me angry just sad. rated
Right with ya kiddo. No Mitch Miller tunes for me this year. I simply have no Ho, Ho, Ho's in me. I'm saving mine until mid-January when it will mean something.
I think that humanity has had a really hard time lately and I believe we need to celebrate everything, every holiday, as much as possible. Life is too dreary not to celebrate everything that represents light in a dark world. Linda, you always are the one to light the candle!
We used to call them bum and wino
If you show compassion you're called a RINO
I might be homeless and be thought a jerk
Except for the fact that I have a job at work
What happened? We grew up and our hearts died. That's what happens when we become complacent. Life is complicated. I try to simplify mine by not obsessing about things I cannot change.

My love for humanity keeps me afloat. No matter what time of year, I'm always there for others even when there are times I shouldn't be. Love is unconditional. If you let it be.

You didn't miss anything, my love. Love is always there. It lives with faith, peace and hope.
Your love made me a Christmas fan. R
Linda, I wish you nothing but love and a Merry Christmas. -R-
When in India, I celebrated a wonderful holiday called Happy Holi with a family who invited me into their home to share the day with them. Far from taking offence, I took delight. I didn't feel forced into their religion -- I just ran around throwing coloured dyes at everyone, and ducking when I was the target. Then I feasted with them and we chased and tickled each other. Yes, grown ups as well as kids. What is different between my participating in a ritual that was never part of my upbringing, and non-Christians participating in Christmas well-wishing, carol singing, and fun? Damned if I know. But I also know, as a newcomer to India, it would have been unthinkable for me to complain about their traditions. I don't get the difference.
Of course, R, for rantable tangents sparked by this great piece.
Duane.. so well said and congrat on that EP about the poor.. There should be more of it..

John.. If Leon is the Professor, Brassawe the Philosopher.. then you my friend are the Teacher of Reason. I loved your post today!!

Sheila.. I am the walking titanic.. My heart always goes on...:)
Being forced to take down the Christmas trees at Goodwill?
That's just stupid.
Great piece. Great photos!
Skypixie.. Once again I high five you.. there is no respect.. you are so right.

Rosycheeks.. It made me angry that nothing had changed in 4 years
Spudman.. whatever makes you happy then I am backing you.
I respect people.
janice.. there are so many to blow them out I am a fraid of a forest fire..:)
OE.. The homeless have more soul.:)

Belinda.. you said it all FAITH PEACE HOPE adn as Skypixie said RESPECT
Dave.... then i am giving you a Christmas huggggggggg
Christine.. high five to you my love
Cleo.. neither do i.. well said
Flower Child.. as The Beatles said.. "All you need is Love"

Jon... thank you for always being here for me. HUGGGGGGGGG
Steve.. YUP!! Isn't a tree a thing of beauty? Bring on the ugly
First off- rated- for truth, reality and your kind heart.

Secondly- if you sharing your truth and experiences- which unfortunately is the reality for a great many people --is threatening to others and will destroy their holiday feelings- well those feelings weren't strong to begin with... Unless you have some supernatural power I wasn't aware of...

Far too much intolerance, negativity and close mindedness in this country.
Enemy.. ahhh no powers just a mouth that speaks from her heart hahaha
As Skypixie said.. it is all about respect.. and egos.. let's mention the egos too.
Can someone tell me why no one will say.. ahh.. we made a mistake.. with the war, and the banks and everything else.
Let's just stop and admit we were wrong..Let's fix this!
Let's fix this country!
You're out on the streets everyday and get an up close and personal view of what's really going on- much more than a lot of people here I would guess..

So if some people are just SOOOOOO sensitive that reading something that's not kittens and Santa and diabetes inducing sweetness will just destroy their Christmas spirit- then I have one thing to say- Hey Asshats- DON'T READ IT!!
And by the way- did you clowns forget about the OPEN part of OS- which means people might write something you find upsetting, offensive, in bad taste or boring. Again- don't freakin' read it.
And besides- isn't censoring something you don't like= preferably before you've seen it- the job of the GOP and their assorted religious and politically intolerant supporters?
there's no excuse for being insulted others are celebrating.
actually that is Fox news job hahaha

Cyril.. you be careful out there to not be mixed up with the elves
I'm not a religious person, but will tell someone Merry Christmas in a heartbeat. Just because you do not care to celebrate the holidays, you shouldn't put your Grinch-ass out there for all to see. If you don't like it, just shut up and let the ones who enjoy it do their thing!
Scanner..Well I have been saying Merry Christmas for the past few weeks to everyone hahaha
It amazes me how deeply the politically-correct sentiments of anti-expression have been embraced by our society. The herd instinct has driven itself right off the edge of happiness and into apathy. It is so sad.
I live right next to a part of Kansas City that celebrates a lighting of all the buildings on Thanksgiving night, so the holidays are played up here and the atmosphere is festive and joyous; replete with horse-drawn sleigh rides through the town. People come from all over the world to shop and enjoy the holiday feeling of the place. I now see that I am luckier than I ever believed. That homeless guy got it. "And the meek shall inherit the earth...." Great post, Linda:)
Susan ,
I wish I could see your lights..
I loved you last sentence.. and let's hope they will
My trio played and lead singing at a homeless and/or battered Womens and Children's shelter.

As soon as they saw instruments, the younger kids started chanting, "jingle bells, jingle bells...". That's my spirit sighting for the season.

It's always a privilege to by taught something by kids. Somehow, they know how to have "joyous" without "happy".
another steve... this is one reason I do not think I will ever grow up..:)
My thinking? Those of us who remember Christmas from our childhood try to recapture that innocent feeling, keep it alive for those we love, but the exploiters who care only about making a buck from this nostalgic interlude are the grinches. It's the crass commercialism that ruins it all. Except for the love in our hearts. They can't sell that, and that is where Christmas really lives.
Matt.. you are so right.. I hate it when the commercials start in October
Oh, and the "love in the heart" doesn't have a damned thing to do with religious denomination or sect or cult or their antitheses. I don't consider myself a Christian, but I'm perfectly happy to enjoy the spirit of Christmas with its tradition of giving and forgiving and celebrating life, and to hell with all the liturgies and anti-liturgies and doctrines and bureaucratic theological bullshit that gets in the way. Amen.
It's true that political correctness is a great thing - to a point. In France, it's very similar to what you experienced; because of being a secular republic, the holiday season is muted, schools don't do a lot of overt celebrating and no one discusses their culture or religious background. I'm so glad I grew up in New Jersey, a diverse place, before all this PC stuff got so crazy - I was able to better know about others' beliefs and celebrations. Hopefully the pendulum will swing back round one of these days, and stop at a fair mid-point. Maybe you can do this post in 4 more years and that will have happened. Let's hope! Merry Christmas with all the holiday spirit vibes I can send you from here! R!
"A man goes by me, hands me a dollar and tells me to stay dry."

That was very nice of him, he usually just shooches me away and I hiss, no dollar involved.

God, my stories are depressing.


Rated, very well written and it still holds true!!!

**huge hug** Merry Christmas!!!
Like you, I am lamenting innocence lost and childhood past. The spirit of Christmas is that there is light after darkness, and what we don't have to look forward to in this life, we may have to look forward to when we return to the stars.
Excellent expression of the sadness of today. And the photos made me smile because I am still homesick for San Francisco, 18 years later. You are the embodiment of the spirit of Christmas, Linda. You should hang tinsel in your hair and wear ornaments on your ears, because you are the real deal.

What was that old song? "Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places"? Ah, but you found it, LS, you found it in the most unlikely place. This was a swell piece, and really deserved that EP.
Matt- I have nothing, but i share what I have. It is all I can do. And that my friend is respect and love.

Alysa.. Let us hope that this will happen. Sending beaucoup d'amour your way.

Tink.. you and I will give out our pennies and you my friend shall tell them all your stories.. That will make them smile for days.
Oryoki.. I have a video short that I found years ago.. It is all about what you speak.. Maybe tomorrow I will put it up.

Lezlie.. I do not need tinsel.. you can see my smile for miles hahaha

Boanerges.. I have been doing photo shop for tomorrow's piece and I had no idea about the EP. I just got on here and saw it. It is not chocolate and warm dreams just the reality of it all. I cried.
I am honest. I cried.
I wish to second what Lezlie said: Linda, you are Lady Christmas!
I am just me.. I fight all the time to remain who I am..
Thanks to all of you for putting up with me..
Don't you own a hat?

`R can always come to my town. There is a big tree in the main park. Wreaths on every light pole. A big light up sign across main street that says "Happy Holidays" and "Seasons Greeting". Each church has a manger scene and the visitors center has those blow up lawn ornaments of Santa and Frosty. There is even a drive through City of Bethlehem with light up angles, a manger and music playing (don't worry, its private property). Santa even shows up to ask kids what they want for Christmas. Luminaries line streets. And the nearest mall is a hundred miles north. Heck the whole place is right out of Bedford Falls.
Whether it's Christmas or not, I still believe there are many, many good people out there doing good works, people just like you. What you offer through your writing and through your good spirit is the essence of Christmas to me. R
Let's hope we're just at some point in a pendulum swing and things will get better again. If public & commercial displays of Christmas means better.

But there will always be a downside to the human race, won't there? I guess it doesn't have to be so damn far down.

Merry Christmas!
I'm so sorry about the man who said "Merry Christmas Red" and then was shot in the street and all the others as well. Next Christmas I think you should come back here. Truly, I do.
People find it hard to get into it all this year. It's been such a long hard crawl up the hill the last few seasons. But imagine that, "the gays" keep Christmas the best...!
They do everything up right. Real sense of ritual and all. I can almost see the five gold c*** rings sparkling on the tree...
A Good Christmas Story When It Is Snowing Out Here...I liked the Holiday Blog and Nice Pictures!
I hear you perfectly and I've thought that too. It makes sense, if there are people who have too much love in their hearts then there must be people who don't have any. I think you just hit on it.

Love to you.
Oh, Wham! I was a teenager and soooo in love...
(with George, I mean, who cared about Andy? was his name Andy?)

I think people are over conscious of differences, which is a stupid thing and taints the spirit of all of us

(I love the pink tree!)
There's definitely no shortage of sadness no matter what the time of year but your little acts of kindness have made big differences even if you can't see the results right away. Beautiful and touching post.
You wrapped your broken toe in bubble wrap? That's ingenious! I know I should be commenting on what you clearly set out to share with us, and I get it, Linda, I truly do. But, I don't know, that toe just jumped out at me. Wish I could share some lo mein and pierogies and a pink tinsel tree and Cabaret and hannukah candles with you and all your Carl's Jr friends. xoxo!
This is an amazing Christmas story... you have a wonderful heart...and a way of telling these beautiful stories that just get to the heart
Thank you Linda
Happy Holidays
Leepin.. I have one hat.. it is raining so hard sometimes it is awful.
I am not a rain person. I tried to go ito Sephora once and they did not want to let me in. It is the cart hahaha

Ocular.. I expect a blog about this please!!
Rita.. Wait until you hear about Father Christmas tomorrow.. He is 100 times more festive hahaha
Nerd.. I wish we could get rid of the down side.
Scarlett.. I hate to say this but you get used to it. Isnt that awful.. You get hardened.

Manhattan.. you are so right and I swear I saw those rings in some window hahaha
GHung.. want some rain??:)
Bleue.. I know there are mean people but to attack those who care seems just not right.
Vanessa.. they have too much time on their hands.. and yes it was Andy..:)

Margaret. nothing but hugs to you.
mauricio.. hugggggggggggg
Sheila.. I have been having internet problems so I got on late and I was shocked.. really shocked.
Dirndl.. the broken toe.
I was packing a huge box on a wooden Tv table. What an idiot.. the box fell and so did the table on my toe. I have to walk so I wrapped bubble wrap around it.. It was quite lovely hahah
I loved your comment and I also am impressed with teh fact you watch The Hallmark Channel.
I honestly think you have a way better idea than I. In fact I am insisting you write a blog about it..:)
What a touching story, Linda. Those who have the most modest means seem often to have the most generous spirits!
You have Christmas in your heart my friend ... loving, caring, giving, sharing.

Christmas is forever, not for just one day,
for loving, sharing, giving, are not to put away
like bells and lights and tinsel, in some box upon a shelf.
The good you do for others is good you do yourself...

~ Norman Wesley Brooks, "Let Every Day Be Christmas," 1976 ~
mamakaze.. I learned if you have nothing you do not really look for anything. You just accept what you have. Wish I would have learned that years ago.

Kate.. what a beautiful poem.. HUGGGGGGGGGGGGGG
Very eye-opening and detailed. Your heart is big, and so much you see out there can be deflating. God bless the homeless man who offered you the fellowship that was missing in so many places you expected to feel it. Rated.
sigh.. Tomreedtoon. Maybe you are right people will never understand my words, but it is simply like a lotto my dear.
If you don't play you cannot win.
Same here..If you don't express yourself with words, you might not reach that one person my love.
Michelle, because I walk everywhere I see more than what people do driving in their cars. I wold not give that up for a second.
Loved this and all your photos of the Bay, the land I love and have lived in for over 38 years of my life. And I can't believe I am going to say this, but I actually love the fake pink Christmas tree with the sunglasses! I am so sick of the cold, rain and dirty snow/ice north of the Bay, that I yearn for tropical escape! Although real trees are all I've had my entire life, this little pink one is talking to me! Cheers and Happy Holidays!
As I read this piece I could really empathize and commiserate with the author. I grew up in a northern state where there was usually snow on the ground for Christmas. Everyone from the sales clerks to the postman to the stranger on the street said "Merry Christmas", starting at least two weeks before Christmas.

When I was in my mid 20s I moved to Florida for a few years and found I had some trouble capturing the Christmas feeling without snow crunching underfoot, but the Christmas spirit was still alive. Even in 80 degree weather, people still said "Merry Christmas".

Back to the north in the 80s and still Christmas spirit seemed intact. One could still hear "Merry Christmas" from all the familiar faces and places and the spirit of giving still seemed safe from Scrooge and the Grinch.

Things began to change in the 90s. First, I moved halfway between the north and the south. We don't have palm trees, but we don't have much snow, either. Christmas is usually brown and muddy. Somehow, it just doesn't seem much like Christmas when it's raining.

But that's not all. In the mid-90s I sensed a change in attitude. I blame it all on "political correctness" and what I call the "assimilation directive." In a word - immigrants.

Our country has always had immigrants. Most of us, unless we're Native American, had ancestors who emigrated here from somewhere else. They brought with them their customs and their traditions, which of course included Christmas. But these were mostly European immigrants and so most of the customs and traditions surrounding Christmas were fairly similar.

For the past few decades our immigration patterns have changed. No longer do we have streams of European immigrants with largely the same customs, traditions, and religious belief patterns - but we have mostly immigrants from cultures with very different customs, traditions, and religious belief patterns.

Sometime in the 90s someone gave birth to the thought of "political correctness." Tolerance and acceptance expanded to not only embrace other traditions and customs, but to virtually reject our own long-held traditions in the process.

I noticed this when my son was in elementary school and his class went "Christmas" caroling at both a mall and a nursing home. ALL Christmas carols that had a religious reference to Christianity - such as Silent Night, Away in a Manger, The First Noel, etc. - were purposely excluded. However, Frosty the Snowman was allowed, as well as songs about Kwanza and "Feliz Navidad". There was even a Jewish song about Hannekuh. But no songs about how God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son...which is the real "reason behind the season" of Christmas, isn't it? Kwanza, I later found out, wasn't even about Christmas. So what was it doing in a Christmas pageant?

Political correctness has robbed us of Christmas. All Americans, but in particular Christian Americans, have been forced to give up their Christmas traditions and customs in favor of immigrants' traditions and customs, and it's all been done in the name of
"political correctness."

When we, as a culture, are not allowed to celebrate our customs and traditions, they die. And so we have the death of the Christmas spirit. How can our Christmas spirit live if we're not allowed to express it, celebrate it?

Where are the Christmas plays that schools put on every year? They're gone. Where are the Christmas carolers? They're gone.
When was the last time you heard songs like Silent Night, Away in the Manger, The First Noel, or God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen?

If one looks at all of this in a purely spiritual light, from a Christian point of view, one could even venture to say that Satan is alive and well and has stolen the celebration of Christ's nativity from God's people - with the aid of politicians, well-meaning but misguided people who think that tolerance means embracing another culture's traditions to the exclusion of our own. It's as if we are for some reason made to apologize for the way we celebrate our own religious beliefs to the extent that we simply lay them down and put them away when it comes to the most important Christian holiday of the year.

So we put away our Christmas traditions that are based upon our Christian beliefs and are left bereft of true Christmas spirit, I believe, because we put away the reason to celebrate the holiday.

Wherever one shops between Thanksgiving and Christmas, one will generally see the Salvation Army ringing their bells. The Salvation Army has directed its volunteers to refrain from saying Merry Christmas. They are not allowed to say Merry Christmas, even as they ring their bells to appeal to our Christmas spirit of giving! I told the gentleman that when he could wish me a Merry Christmas, rather than the bland Happy Holidays, I would donate.

Call me Scrooge, but that's just my own little personal rebellion against the Grinch that stole my Christmas.

Embracing the customs and traditions of another culture is fine, as long as we don't abandon our own customs and traditions in the process. And if our belief systems are different than someone else's, then let all celebrate in their own manner.

To put it simply, if we want our Christmas spirit back, then we have to put the Christ back in Christmas, because that's where the true spirit of giving, of loving, and of peacemaking, come from. Christmas is a Christian holiday. There's just no getting around that. To me, that means that we should embrace those Christian traditions and customs surrounding the Christmas holiday.

The spirit of Christmas we talk about - the wishing for good things for others or goodwill; the generosity we show by giving gifts or helping others; the love we manifest by our kindness - these are the things that we miss, as well as the outward manifestations of what represents the Christmas holiday...the lights, decorations, caroling, and echoes of Merry Christmas from one to another.

It's hard to keep a Christmas spirit in a world filled with selfishness, greed, and envy. The lust for power and money has been not only condoned but crowned as the manifestation of success by politicians who claim to be pious and wish for a return to the past.

As people of both sides of the political aisle talk about taking our country back, perhaps one of the things we should consider as a society is taking back our Christmas beliefs, customs, and traditions. Let everyone who lives in this country celebrate Christmas as they wish, freely and without prejudice.

Let there be songs about Kwanza, Hannekuh, Feliz Navidad, adnd Frosty the Snowman, yes...but let there also be songs then about baby Jesus and the birth of Christmas itself. I predict that if we do that, then we'll find our Christmas spirit again.
So interesting - and heartening too - that while you despair of celebrating during such a time of misery, the people who touched you throughout the journey did so in kindness. Perhaps we just need to remind ourselves that the kindness is the real celebration, not all that other stuff that we love - lights, trees etc...Very thought-provoking piece.
Great piece--so much sadness in the midst of the forced holiday cheer. I try to hide in my house as much as possible until the holiday season passes. The decorations are the one thing I do love, though. My neighbors' Christmas lights bring joy to me--when I look out my window on a dark, freezing night and see the street lit up in colors I can't help but smile. (That Wham video did the same for me!)
Just cathy.. the pink tress was in the castro.. I loved it..

Kentucky Woman.. I understand what you say.. I miss the pageants and everything. Sad to say it is a lot of the younger generations that do not believe in what we did that are causing a commotion. Those that do not believe in God do not want to be reminded of it. Most of the Latinos I know are strong believers. I think honestly it is a mixture of everything. The Salvation Army people here do not even wear Santa suits they wear red aprons. I wonder what it will be like 10 years from now.
Blue.. it is all about kindness and love..
Karin.. sad to say I hide too.
Chris.. if you read some of my former blogs you will see where I live. It is a very dangerous area. I do not write fiction just the truth.
As the blog said things have not changed in 4 years but the photos were current. I did not own a camera then. But there are a few blogs with actual photos of police in action. There is no need to write fiction about a gritty edge.. It lives here in reality.
Thanks for sharing this day with us. I used to like Carls Jr Star the best.
Here is hoping you have an excellent Xmas and More...
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