If we all could take a minute away from personal attacks, maybe we could focus…even for a second…on something much more important.
I would like to take this time, to focus on something that stirs a personal passion during the Christmas holidays each year.
It isn’t a unique place to visit or an attraction to experience. This something carries with it its own uniqueness and special experience through the act of doing.
At times it is difficult to realize, but we all have a lot to be thankful for each year. And this is definitely the season to be thankful.
So while we ponder and prepare for trips to family and friends across the country and elsewhere during this holiday season, lets not forget those for whom the holidays may be just another day on the calendar, another day to survive, another day without friends and family near.
It is difficult for many of us to believe that in this land of abundance there can be people suffering the pains of hunger or people freezing for lack of a roof or people lonely because they have not or cannot be together with family or friends.
This wonderful country has found remarkable answers for many crises, has diligently worked to right many wrongs and has provided much sought after freedom for its people and others far and beyond our borders.
However, the answer to hunger, homelessness and loneliness for many in this country is still elusive.
I have found Americans to be generous and caring people.
During this long holiday season, if you can, please try to find a way to take an extra step of kindness. Donate to a food pantry; help out a homeless shelter…visit someone who you know will be alone at this time or hold a family member just a bit closer.
As much as you will helping others in ways far beyond your greatest expectations, you will truly be helping yourself in the knowledge that you made an important difference for someone.
You see, a little generosity and caring for others actually helps everyone.
And, as my Dad directed me as a young boy, “if you see someone without a smile….give ‘em one of yours”!
We have all seen the deluge of infomercials and “gotta have” tv commercials. but, have you really paid any attention to the tag lines for these commercials.
Inevitably after we have been mezmerised by this revolutionary device that will do everything short of the final duty we perform in the bathroom, we come to the product sales pitch, which, as we all have come to know is phenominally underpriced even though it is capable of incredible feats of magic around the house or in the garage.
I’m trying to keep my tounge in my cheek right now but I’m used to writing with my tounge holding my upper lip stationary! I have a tendancy to move my lips when writing or reading.
Now we question ourselves….How can this company hope to make even a dollar selling these devices at these unheard-of low prices. These blessed companies must be sent by a guardian angel to watch over all of us consumers…because, as they demonstrate to us in their advertising, they certainly are making these fabulous products available to us at a huge financial LOSS and it’s not even Christmas!
But, there’s more…I hpe you’re sitting down for this next revelation! If you act “right away”, in some cases in the next 30 minutes, there is an additional bonus for your promptness. Your efficiency and dexterity in speed dialing in your order immediatly will be rewarded with another of these devices FREE…(just pay seperate processing or handling).
OK, my tounge fell out of my cheek and I bit it !
Any light bulbs turning on yet?
First of all most of these “gotta have” commercials “do not” post the proccessing and handling figure in the commercials. The few that do tell a great story. If the product is selling for $19.99 ( and just about ALL of them do ) the processing and handling charge is nearly as much as half the original price.
Cmon’…I know there’s gotta be a least ONE light bulb illuminating by now.
Okay okay, let’s say the light switch in your head is still in the OFF position. Try this experiment the next time you are tempted to answer one of these “gotta have” pitches. Pick up you phone and call the number on the screen. But, before you buy, ask the price of processing and handling. Next write down the original cost of the first item….let’s say $19.95 plus processing and handling…say $9.95 and the processing and the handling ONLY price for the second item…also $9.95. I’m not a mathematician butI believe that comes out to $39.85.
There it is! I think I saw some light bulbs begining to flicker.
WOW, what a bargain.
And the guarantee on most of these projects probably would not be worth the trouble and expense of shipping it back to the manufacturer.
I feel most of these types of commercials should come under the “NEARLY Truth In Advertising category”!
I just had to say this…now I think I will be able to sleep again!
I can tell this story now because my wife’s birthday was last August and she has calmed down by now.
I was simply trying to do right and I, well…oh, here’s the whole story.
Early last August I was sitting on the edge of the bed, watching his wife, who was looking at herself in the mirror. Since her birthday was not far off I asked what she’d like to have for her birthday.
‘I’d like to be six again’, she replied, still looking in the mirror .
On the morning of her Birthday, I got up early, made her a nice big bowl of Lucky Charms, and then took her to Six Flags theme park.
What a day!
I put her on every ride in the park; the Death Slide, the Wall of Fear, the ScreamingRoller Coaster, everything there was. Five hours later we staggered out of the theme park. My wife’s head was reeling and her stomach felt upside down.
Next I took her to a McDonald’s where he ordered her a Happy Meal with extra fries and a chocolate shake. Then it was off to a movie, popcorn, a soda pop, and her favorite candy, M&M’s. What a fabulous adventure!
‘I meant my dress size, you retard!!!!’
The moral of the story: Even when a man is listening, he is gonna get it wrong.
I’m sure we all have a favorite relative that left an indelible mark on our lives. I too have a special person…an Aunt. No, whe wasn’t a movie star or other such celebrity. In fact in a family of solid Norwegians, she was the only Swede…something she suffered constant ribbing about.
But she was also an amazing history lesson. Let me tell you the story as related to me by my family.
I list Astrid, Johnson as a native of Lisbon, North Dakota, because in all my years I only knew her as “Aunt Oscar. Yes, Oscar is a strange name for an Aunt, but my Mother told me that we kids, nieces and nephews, had trouble pronouncing her name and somehow one of us converted Astrid to Oscar and it stuck. As I was told, in my “just learning how to talk age” I made a naughty word out of saying Astrid. Not on purpose mind you…it just came out of my toe-headed mouth in a certain way that my Mother really didn’t want to hear.
Astrid’s story is an interesting look into how much of America took on the flavors and cultures of distant lands.
Like many, Astrid immigrated to America in the early 1900’s from Laxa, Sweden. She came to this country accompanied by an Aunt…whose name is not mentioned anywhere in our family history. When I was a young boy I was told she came here by herself. What my parents meant by that was, she came here without any of her sisters or brothers. She had four boys and three girl siblings. Astrid’s Aunt volunteered to make the long boat trip with her. What is remarkable is that Astrid was just 16 years old when she embarked from the shores of Sweden to start a new and unknown life in America. The year was 1926.
If you have children, can you imagine putting them on a sailing ship, today let alone in the early 1900′s, and sending them thousands of miles away from home…maybe to never see them again?
As the story goes, Astrid was the oldest daughter in the familoy and the one selected to leave her family in Laxa, Sweden and go to America. Another interesting sidebar is that even though Astrid’s family was not financially well off, her father was a bodyguard to the King of Sweden and he died from a heart attack when he was 49 years of age.
After a mandatory quarantine on Ellis Island in New York harbor Astrid and her Aunt stepped on to American soil for the first time. New York had to look overwhelming to a 16 year old Swedish girl who grew up in the countryside of a small countryfar away.
Astrid’s Aunt went on to Chicago from New York. For reasons unknown, Astrid boarded a train, alone in a strange country, that eventually took her to Lisbon, North Dakota. Remember, Astrid didn’t speak or understand a word of English.
Astrid’s full name was Astrid Linnea Amelia Viman. She changed her last name to Wyman when she got to Lisbon. Another sketchy part of her history is “Who” she lived with in Lisbon. My family tree only indicates she lived with a family in Ransom County. Astrid also attended First Grade in Lisbon. Yes, she had gone to school in Sweden but she was put in the first grade in Lisbon to learn English.
Astrid eventually married my Uncle Leo Johnson. They had a son and a daughter, Lloyd and Juline. Forty two years passed before Lloyd and his wife Evelyn and daughter Glenda packed up Astrid and Leo and flew East to reunite Astrid with her remaining family in Sweden. Astrid told of tears and laughter at the reunion.
Imagine not seeing your family for four decades. Some had passed on. Others had families of their own for you to meet for the first time. Astrid, with her American family, visited a Stave style church where she had gone as a child. They looked at the changes in her original hometown and saw once familiar streets and neighborhoods where she had walked. It wasn’t home any more, but then, it was.
Astrid’s son took mountains of photos which Astrid could detail when asked who or what was pictured. Her face always lit up when she remembered alound.
Astrid died in 1995.
Astrid “always” had a strong Swedish accent. When I was a teen boy I would mimick her speech at family gatherings. Everyone would laugh except Astrid. She thought I sounded just fine.
My Dad Joe Johnson used to tell Astrid she was the family token Swede…as the entire rest of my family were Norwegians. In return, Astrid referred to my Dad as the family’s token “wooden nickel”. There was saying in the day…”don’t take any wooden nickels”.
Astrid was the best pastry cook in the “entire” world. When she baked sweets and you tasted them, you no longer had any aches, pains, worries or troubles.
Astrid is missed by all who knew her…especially her familes from Lisbon, North Dakota to Laxa, Sweden.