At the local swimming hole.

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When I was growing up I was fortunate enough to have a few ponds near where I lived. One was behind a transformer station. This is the spot where I would go to catch pollywogs and leopard frogs.

The fun was in catching these elusive amphibians and I practiced catch and release. I didn’t swim there much though. It was a shallow pool, not much more than knee deep and it would pretty much dry up by the end of summer, hardly conducive for swimming.

There was a pond on the property just across the street from my house where I would catch catfish. This pond was in the middle of a 100 acre farm that had gone fallow and was a spring fed pond. As such the water was always cold and not very pleasant to swim in. When I did swim there, I could feel the catfish nibbling at my toes. Catfish will eat almost anything that they can fit into their mouths so I guess they had to see if toes were edible. All that you needed was a rod, a reel and a can of worms to catch them. Catfish are good eating but because my mother refused to cook what I caught so what I hooked was released and lived to swim another day.

 

This pond was deep enough for a small boat. I found an old Refrigerator that I used as a boat using a branch to maneuver around the pond like a Venetian gondolier. On the back of the pond, I made a small shelter from some branches and two old metal Vernor’s Ginger Ale signs that I found. I would watch the dragon flies and the birds and animals stop by for a drink. Mostly songbirds and the occasional deer would stop by. One year ducks made a nest and raised their young at the pond. It was fun to see them grow up. Eventually they tolerated sharing the pond with me. It helped that I would feed them.

These ponds were adequate but my favorite “swimming hole” was off Millersport Highway. It was at the back end of the property belonging to a construction company. It had a sandy bottom and had a shore line of sand wrapped around it like a warm, cozy scarf. This was about as close as I usually got to going to the beach during the summer. I figure the company had mined the sand for use in their business. This pond offered it all. We would fish for sunfish, chase frogs, go swimming and sunbathe on the “beach”. The pond itself was about chest deep making it ideal for swimming but it was shallow enough to heat up quite quickly only requiring a few sunny days to warm to an ideal temperature for swimming.

I would grab a towel and go to a friend’s house. There I would meet up with a few buddies and we would head off to our swimming hole, trekking through the brush and fields toward our goal. Along the way we would go “grocery shopping”. I love the taste of Concord grapes and fortunately, we would pass near rows of grape vines on our route. I used to carry a folding knife with a hook blade that I used for harvesting grapes and I would always grab a bunch to eat on the way, cutting them from the vine. I would puck them one at a time from the bunch and squeeze them, causing the tasty flesh to pop into my mouth. I would then discard the skin and enjoy the delightful, sweet flavor. Even today I prefer Concord grapes.

A little further along on our route, we would come across a field filled with corn where we would grab a few ears apiece for later. There is a way to tell if an ear of corn is mature enough to eat without tearing back the husks. You just feel the end and if it comes to a sharp point, like a pencil, it isn’t ready. But if it feels rounded like a well-worn crayon it is time to eat it. There were also some tomatoes in another field along the trail which we would grab and eat like apples. Nothing tastes like a tomato ripped from the plant and eaten this way.

We would then follow the path thru the scrub brush and across a grassy field until we reached the swimming hole. There we stripped down to our shorts or maybe just our skin. The pond was far enough away from the road and behind enough foliage that it couldn’t be seen from the highway so it didn’t matter what we were wearing.

After a day of swimming, we would gather up some dried grass for tinder, small sticks for kindling and some firewood and build a small campfire. We would warm ourselves by the fire and roast the corn. It was delicious. As it got late, we would head back home before it got too dark to see the trail, besides, I wanted more grapes before dinner time. I loved my pond so much. It was a place of peace and nature. That pond still has its effect on me even after all these years. Whenever I have to go to my “Happy Place”, I go to my pond.

 

 

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Surviving childhood in the 50’s and 60’s

 

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If you grew up during the 50s or 60s, then you are familiar with how laissez-faire things used to be. We didn’t have very many “low calorie” foods, ate what we wanted, and we were afforded much more leeway than we should have had. There’s a pretty good reason why kids today aren’t allowed to do half the things that we did, but maybe, that’s a good thing.

Parents then were much less worried about what they gave us to play with. I’m referring to toys with choking hazards, lead paints and sharp metal pieces. I remember playing mumblypeg. This is a game kids (mostly boys) used to play on the playground where they stand with their feet shoulder width apart while throwing a pocket knife between their own feet. The boy who gets closest to his own foot wins. Getting the knife in your foot was an automatic win. It’s a surprise that we made it out of childhood intact. Why more kids weren’t injured playing Jarts or using easy bake ovens I’ll never know

We were never forced to wear seatbelts by your parents. Hell, most vehicles didn’t have more than lap belts in the front seat. The absence of seatbelts indicated that you could sit anyplace you wanted. The most coveted seat was then the middle seat in the front. This is when front seats were bench seats.

When you sat there, you could control which radio station you listened to. I always flipped it to WKBW, 1520 “The music people.”  WKBW dominated the Top 40 radio market in the Western New York area during the 1960’s. You also got the security of mom’s arm flung across your chest if your father stopped quickly. My favorite spot, riding in the car although was the “way back” as I called it. This was the cargo area behind the back seat of my parent’s station wagon.

However the very best place to ride was in the back of a pickup truck. No seat belt, no roof overhead, just sun in your face and the wind in your hair. A friend’s father even had an old school bus seat in the back of his pickup where we could sit.

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Back then, parents really didn’t grasp the need for safety. Kids raced around on their bikes or roller skates without head protection, knee or elbow pads. You learned how to fall so you didn’t land and split your head open, skin your knee or break any bones.

Probably one of the biggest of the “what the hell were we thinking” moments of the ’50s and ’60s was “skitching.”  is a combination of SKIing and hITCHING. In its basic form, skitching was as easy as finding a slippery, snow-covered road or parking lot, and a passing car bumper.

The skitcher grabs the bumper, flexes their knees, and skis on the bottom of thier shoes through the snow. The car does the work and the skitcher enjoys the ride. Skitching is believed to have originated in urban areas in northern New York, probably cities like Buffalo with a regular snowfall (http://skiernet.com).

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In the playground in the summer I remember swinging with my buddies so vigorously that the legs of the swing set would come off the ground. We would jump off the moving swing and would be flying through the air. You had to learn how to “tuck and roll” so when you landed, you would not break any bones. We also had the burns that we got going down the blazing hot metal slides during the summer. We would steal our mother’s wax paper and slide on it. Waxing the slide would make it that much faster.

There wasn’t a nice soft rubber landing area in the playgrounds back then, either it was dirt or asphalt. And of course we had the Playground merry go round. That steel disk that went in a circle powered by your legs and could whip you around and around. Hang on tight!

If you had a younger sibling, then you would be given the task of watching them after school. You didn’t require any special training to be able to babysit. As long as you were 13 and could dial the operator, then you could babysit the neighbor’s kids when they went out. It was an acceptable practice during that era.

There weren’t health foods either things like quinoa, tofu or kale weren’t readily available back then. The less time it took your mother to pack your school lunch, the better. A whole generation grew up on Skippy PB&J sandwiches on Wonder Bread, a small bag of Wise potato chips and a pack of Hostess Twinkies,

There was no escape the pervasive cloud of cigarette smoke in the 50’s and the 60’s. From airplanes to restaurants to automobiles. There weren’t any limitations on where you were able to smoke. We most likely breathed in much more secondhand smoke when we were young than most people do today in thier lifetime.

We played stickball in the streets and went swimming in the quarry on East Amherst Street. There were no structured play dates and no cell phones. Yeah, being a kid in the ’50s and ’60s wasn’t without it’s hazards but we managed to survive.

 

The Wall :) /s

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
This is a satirical piece. Be sure to read it to the end before you blow a gasket. We need a wall! I know this is might prove to be a very unpopular article but it is just the way I feel. I have never steered away from controversial topics and I am not going to start avoiding them now.
We need to keep the unwanted types from entering our great country. I am not referring to the very controversial boundary wall along the Mexican border but a wall between the United States and Canada. I know it might be hard to build a wall up the middle of Lake Ontario, Erie, Huron and Superior but maybe we can come to some kind of compromise between the Canadians and us.
Maybe they can help us build the wall. This could be a retractable wall so it could come down in the summer to allow us all to enjoy our great lakes. We put up an ice dam every winter to protect the power plant, maybe we could just make it a floating wall like that is. But the wall between us in the lakes will have to be very high to stop this foreign invasion.
Every year, during the winter the border crossings increase and I am sick of this. It has to stop! Canada should keep their problems on their side of the border. INS seems to be helpless in stemming this problem and I don’t know if they can. I don’t think they have the ability, the finances or the manpower.
We don’t seem to have this problem in the summer but as soon as the weather starts to change and the temperatures start to drop, the trouble starts all over again. Some years are better than others but we just can’t always predict how bad it will be. Many have tried but few have succeeded.
This invasion is so bad that you can watch it’s progress every night on the local news. Sometimes it has even made the national news. Our neighbors to the north don’t seem to care or even do very much about these border crossings. This invasion is even worse than the one caused by the “Mexican Caravan” as it effects every person living in Western New York. If we know it is coming then why, oh why, can’t we prevent it?
Sure we have customs and border patrol at all the main ports of entry but much of this blows right past them or even crosses the border in unprotected places. When this incursion reaches my home, I try to stay inside with the doors closed and latched, hoping that they will hold well enough to prevent the infiltration that could cause me to become another statistic.
Sometimes I stay in my bed, trying to ignore what is going on bet it seems like every television station had a person dedicated to telling us how bad it is going to be.
The problem I am talking about of course is the Arctic blasts that we get here every winter in Western New York. That Canadian import that comes across the lakes and dumps snow on all of us. We have to put up with school closings, shoveling, sub-freezing temperatures and icy roads because of them.
Just so you know, I have nothing against Canadians in fact I love our neighbors to the north. Both my grandfather and my wife’s grandfather are from Canada. I just don’t care for their weather. Be safe, stay warm and drive carefully.
Norb is a writer from Lockport, New York.

Rocketship 7

A long, long time ago, in a place that seems far, far away, many Buffalo area children, myself included, would turn on their TV sets in the morning and were greeted by a trusted friend.

In 1961 the space race was on! Before a special joint session of Congress, President Kennedy announced his goal to put a “man on the moon” before the end of the decade. If you were a preteen, rockets and robots ruled. It was in this environment that one of the most popular television programs in the history of Buffalo broadcasting was created.

During the span of a few months, the USSR’s Yuri Gagarin made history as the first human in space and Alan B. Shepard made America’s first ride into the stratosphere. From toys to television programs, it seem that everyone was looking towards the future including Buffalo’s WKBW. Channel 7 management looked to add an additional children’s show to its morning line-up which already consisted of a local version of Romper Room. Looking to attract kids 5 to 12 years old, a space-themed program was a natural.

The station’s creative minds developed a program that would have an academic focus with a foundation deeply rooted in scientific facts rather than fanciful fiction. To host the program, Channel 7’s station manager Doug McLarty called upon a fresh-faced broadcaster named Dave Boreanaz. He was calling himself Dave Thomas then and it was thought he would be the perfect choice to host the program. He had adopted the stage name “Dave Thomas” when he joined WKBW-TV in 1961 first as a booth announcer and weatherman. His boyish good looks, calming manner of tone, and slight hint of mischievousness in his eyes appealed to children and adults alike.

In the autumn of 1962 WKBW-TV’s new children’s program was ready for its television debut. September 10 was chosen as the “launch date” of the newly christened Rocketship 7 with Dave Thomas. Featuring educational segments interwoven between Warner Brother’s cartoons and the animated shorts like the stop-motion curiosities “Gumby” and “Davey and Goliath”. The show was quickly adopted by its young audience. Rocketship 7 aired on WKBW-TV for 16 years. Thomas, in what passed for an astronaut jumpsuit, stood next to a stack of cardboard boxes with epaulets known as Promo the Robot. They were joined by Mr. Beeper, their puppet pal.

A Buffalo native, Thomas began his broadcasting career in 1954 at WAER-FM, Syracuse, New York and later worked at WOLF-AM, Syracuse, New York. In 1956, he started in television at the NBC owned and operated WBUF-TV in Buffalo, later joining WGR-TV (now WGRZ-TV) before joining Channel 7. For months prior to the show’s launch, Thomas traveled to the Bell Testing Laboratory in Wheatfield, New York to learn about aeronautics and space flight. At the time, the Niagara County facility hosted some of the nation’s brightest engineers and test pilots. As the show’s future space cadet, Thomas would practice in a Mercury era program training capsule and helicopter simulator.

The name of the program, “Rocketship 7,” referred to Channel 7 and lent itself to NASA’s Mercury space program. From 1961 to 1963, seven of America’s first astronauts made pioneering ventures into space. National audiences would follow the likes of Freedom 7, Liberty Bell 7, Friendship 7, and Aurora 7 as spacecraft reached towards the heavens. Rocketship 7 would join the local lexicon and would prove to have the right stuff for television success.

With the calming influence of Dave Thomas at the helm, the show ran weekday mornings from 1962 thru 1978. Rocketship 7 was cancelled because Thomas left his native Buffalo for another job. After the show went dark, the original Promo sat in a prop room for a while. When WKBW moved to a new building, the robot costume was thrown in the trash but it was rescued by a guy from the crew who put it in his garage. Eventually it was fixed up and, for a while, put on display at a toy museum.

The fate of the shows themselves, thousands of hours of children’s programming, is even sadder. Very little exists today. Most of those early, local children’s shows were shot live and if they were on tape, they were erased or thrown out. Back then, few saw the need to archive copies for future use like DVD collections or specialty channels. Forgotten Buffalo has compiled an excellent photo montage for a Youtube video:

Rocketship 7 has been reincarnated twice. The first time was The Commander Tom Show hosted by Tom Jolls. This was cancelled in 1991 but WKBW chose to resume the “Commander Tom” character bringing back Rocketship 7 as a Saturday morning show. “Captain” Mike Randall took over hosting for this edition of the show. Rocketship 7 was cancelled for the last time in 1993. It blasted off for good as infomercials, public affairs, and educational/informational programming began to dominate the Saturday morning lineup.

 

Growing up in the 50’s.

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We had the junkman who would drive down the street in his beat up truck. He would collect your scrap metal to sell at the junk yard. The local cobbler would repair your shoes if the soles wore out or heel broke off. On garbage day, they would send a man ahead of the truck to bring our can to the curb. Then after it was emptied another man would take it back into the yard.

The milk man used to deliver to your house. I can still remember the rattle of the empty bottles in the wire carrier that he used. We had a wooden door in the side of the house by the back door for the milkman to deliver our milk and dairy products. This was called a milk box. If you didn’t have a milk box, your items were left on your porch in an insulated metal box. The milk would have a layer of cream on top that you would pour off to make whipped cream or to use in cooking. I loved the milk in glass bottles. A fixture back then was the “knifeman”, who would drive up and down the street and sharpen your knives, scissors, hedge sheers and the blades of the old reel type, hand pushed lawnmowers.

We had bread delivered to the house and had the rag man as well. Let’s not forget the fruit wagon. He would yell “Apples, peaches, strawberriessssssssssssssssssss.” I recall the popcorn man pushing his cart down our street with that steam powered whistle summoning us to come running. We would bring our precious coins that we had earned by returning bottles to the corner store and get this hot, salty snack. That is, if we had any left after buying our stash of penny candy, ice cream treats, & comic books. My Grandfather was a Fuller Brush man and he used to sell aprons and Fuller Brush products.

Around Christmas, the post office used to deliver a twice a day. We walked to school, coming home for lunch, and played outside till dark, only going home when the street lights came on. We were always playing in the street, roller skating, playing baseball or tag. In the fall, we played football. We used to call “Heads up!” whenever a car was coming.

My father worked every day and drove the only family car. This caused us to walk everywhere, parents just didn’t drive their kids around and you walked if you wanted to go anywhere.

We had a few chores, but then it was outdoors in the summer. In the winter we would go to a friends’ house or they would come to mine to play board games. You would walk to a friend’s house and see if they could play. Calling our friends by their name to come out to play didn’t involve texting. We would walk over to a friend’s house and yell “Oh (insert friend’s name here) can you come out to play?” We never rang a bell. If somebody was calling you, you would ask permission from your mother to go outside. It was a simple yes or no and no one got angry if the answer was no. Neighbors got along better than today.

Women were outside & visible around their houses hanging wash or doing yard work, watching their kids in the yards. Our basement contained a wringer washing machine for washing our clothes, our dryer was a clothes line in the back yard and our dishwasher was my mother. When I got older, the kids were in charge of washing and drying the dishes, setting and clearing the table.

The doctors made house calls if you were too sick to come in, or very contagious. Our family doctor visited me when I had the Chicken Pox and the Measles.

We would go home for lunch from school every day and we had a bank day at school on Mondays where we would take our money and get it posted to our bank book.

Every Wednesday we would get out of school early so we could walk to church for religious instructions. I used to stop at the local five and dime and get a small bag of Spanish peanuts for the trip. Speaking of school, there were air raid drills in school. We crouched on our hands & knees, in the hall ways, up against the wall, or under our desks, hoping the Russians didn’t bomb us.

We played with homemade toys such as kites, scooters made out of fruit crates decorated with pop bottle caps, scrap 2x4s, pieces of scrap wood for handle bars and discarded metal roller skates. I made a car out of a large crate and the wheels from an old wagon. You steered using a rope that was attached to the front axle.

There was also the “rubber band” gun. A long narrow piece of wood used as a rifle that we would put a notch at the top of to hold a rubber band made out of a used tire tube cut into 1/2 inch wide trips. You knew when someone shot you because of the sting that you felt.

I have memories of Fel’s Naptha soap that was used for anything from washing clothes, floors and taking baths. Sponge baths all week were the norm then when Saturday night was the night for a real bath in a claw foot, cast iron bathtub.

It was good being a kid in the 50s.

Winter driving: Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

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Winter can be a very hazardous time of the year especially in Western New York, sunny one minute, and a blizzard 3 miles down the road. It pays to prepare yourself for the unexpected by having a few supplies and by following some simple safe driving guidelines to insure that you arrive at your destination.

First off prepare your vehicle for winter driving. Dependable transportation is important in the winter. It is very important to get it checked to avoid any unpleasant or perilous circumstances. You should inspect the following prior to winter, the Ignition system, belts, fluid levels including washer fluid, wiper blades, tires, cooling system, battery, lights and antifreeze. Keep your gas tank at least half full at all times. Keeping your tank as full as possible will minimize condensation and could prove helpful if you are stranded.

Before driving, clear off all windows and lights and the hood and roof of frost and snow. Drive with your headlights on. Stock your car with basic winter driving equipment. A scraper and brush, jumper cables, and a bag of sand or cat litter for tire traction. Also include a blanket, heavy boots, warm clothing, and flashlight with batteries. Reverse the batteries in the flashlight to avoid accidentally turning it on and draining them.

When driving, leave sufficient room for stopping, drive according to the conditions and use brakes sensibly. Brake early. It takes more time and distance to stop in winter conditions. Bridge decks might freeze before the roads do due to the fact they are open to the cold on both sides. Roads are exposed to the weather on only one side.

Don’t use the “cruise control” when you drive in wintry conditions. Even roads that seem perfect can have black ice and the smallest touch of your brakes to disable the cruise control can make you lose control of your vehicle.

Don’t get arrogant in your 4×4 vehicle. Remember that, if you are driving a four wheel drive vehicle, it may help you get going faster but it won’t help you stop any better. Many 4×4’s are heavier than passenger vehicles and in fact may take longer to stop.

Look further ahead in traffic than you usually do. Movements by cars and trucks will alert you earlier to difficulties and give you additional time to respond safely. Remember that trucks weigh more than cars and take more time to come to a complete stop, so avoid pulling ahead quickly in front of them.

Remember that the road in front of the plow is frequently in much worse shape than behind the plow. Plows will typically travel slower and there is always a temptation to pass them. For your safety, I recommend that you stay a safe distance behind snowplows.

When you see an approaching snow plow on a roadway, move as far away from the center line as you safely can because blowing snow may hide the actual width of the snowplow’s blade.

If stranded, call 911 on your cell phone and when you talk to authorities, be prepared to describe your location and the trouble you are experiencing. Listen for questions. Follow any instructions. They may tell you should stay where you so they can guide rescuers. Don’t hang up before you know who you are speaking with and what will take place next.

Stay in your vehicle. Walking in a storm can be very dangerous. You might lose your way, wander away, become exhausted and collapse risking your life. Your vehicle itself is a good shelter. Avoid overexertion. Attempting to push your car, trying to jack it into a new position or shoveling snow takes a lot of work in storm conditions. You might risk heart attack or other injury. The storm will eventually end and you will be found. Don’t work so hard as to get hot and sweaty. Wet clothing loses insulation value making you more vulnerable to the results of hypothermia.

Keep fresh air in your vehicle. It is better to be chilly or cold and alert than to become comfortably warm and slip into unconsciousness. Keep the radiator unrestricted by snow to preclude the engine from overheating. Start the engine at 10 to 15 minute intervals for heat. Freezing-wet or wind-driven snow can plug your vehicle’s exhaust system permitting lethal carbon monoxide gas to go into your vehicle. Don’t run the engine unless you are positive the exhaust pipe is clear of snow or other objects.

Keep your blood circulating freely by undoing tight fitting clothing, changing positions frequently and moving your arms and legs. Don’t anticipate being comfortable. The task is to stay alive until you’re found. Make yourself noticeable to rescuers. Tie a bright cloth to your antenna or door handle if possible.

If you skid, don’t panic. You need to keep your head clear when you go into a skid, because your “instinctive” reactions are apt to do more damage than good. Second, keep your eyes focused on something in the distance. Choose a point further down the road in the direction you want to head and stay focused on this object. With this object in view, you’ll be better able to steer your car so that it is traveling in the correct direction.

Most importantly please remember to SLOW DOWN! Also, seat belts should be used at all times, it’s the law.

Norb is a columnist and worked as a safety professional in Lockport. He wants you be as safe as possible when driving this winter.

Holiday Snowflakes.

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Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

The song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”  is seen as sexist In the current #MeToo era, and is being banned by some radio stations. The radio stations have stopped playing that classic holiday song because it has lyrics that suggest date rape threats rather than proposing an innocent situation of flirtation while being snow bound. SMH.

As long as we are eliminating everything that could offend people, I have a few more suggestions.

I think we should ban “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby because this might offend non Caucasian people. We also need to eliminate “White Is in the Winter Night” by Enya” and “The White World of Winter” by Bing Crosby for the same reason.

There are many, many songs that reference Jesus that should be forbidden because many religions don’t believe in him as God. They have their own Gods. In fact the very name Christmas should not be permitted just because of the Christ part. This word might offend the Jewish people, the Muslims. The Buddhists. The Hindus and the followers of Confucianism.

Now I see that there some “Holiday” movies that people want to ban. The first of which comes to mind is the classic Rankin/Bass holiday offering “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.” They want to ban this because an elf throws the toy bird out of the sleigh even though the bird mentioned that it can’t fly. Then there is that bully with the whip, the deer who are abusive towards Rudolph, the dentist shaming and the unloved toys from The Island of Misfit Toys.

While we are at it let’s look at a few more Christmas classics. We have “A Christmas Story”. It’s just not Christmas in America unless there’s a bullied gun hungry child in a pro-NRA marathon. And how about washing your naughty kid’s mouth out with soap? Oh fudge, that is child abuse! But corporal punishment was the norm back then. I am old enough to have suffered this punishment myself. Good times.

Then we have the movie “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”. I think it is very insensitive to call him a Grinch. Clearly he has Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Notice isn’t there even one person of color in all of Whoville. Then be aware of the fact that they didn’t actually accept the green guy until he gives everyone presents! Looks like racism to me. And what about making that poor dog wear a heavy antler and pulling that giant sleigh. Someone call PETA.

The movie “Elf” features, unwed parents, bullies and a father disowning his son. “Frosty the Snow Man” has the evil magician Professor Hinkle attempting to kill Frosty by locking him in a greenhouse where Frosty is melted.

“Home Alone” is about a young boy who is accidentally left home during the Christmas holidays by his parents when the rest of his family goes to Europe. I think being forgotten by your parents is a bit of a problem.

I see that some people are trying to prohibit all Christmas related symbols in the schools and have suggested a ban on a list of Christmas themed items in the hopes of being inclusive and culturally sensitive to all of the students.

A list of the suggested items would include the singing of Christmas carols. Even the Elf on the Shelf is on the hit list because that’s a Christmas related symbol. I think some people are spending more time working on these lists than they are taking time trying to understand diversity.

We now can’t see Nativity scenes on governmental land due to “the separation of church and state” activists. Wal-Mart has switched its banners to “Happy Holidays” from “Merry Christmas”. It is Wal-Mart’s and other retailer’s participation in the moneymaking side of Christmas that is the real attack on this beloved holiday. One more time, the liberals have co-opted a cultural tradition that most Americans have enjoyed.

Enough is enough! I think I am old enough to decide on my own which movies I watch and which music I listen to. I love watching the old Christmas movies and listening to the old Christmas songs. I love sharing them with my grandchildren. I will always wish you a Merry Christmas no matter who you are or what you believe. Christmas is the Holiday I celebrate. If you want to respond Happy Hanukkah or Happy Ramadan because that’s what you celebrate, I promise not to be offended in fact I may respond in kind with your religious preference.  I welcome your heritage as well as my own.  Instead of us getting offended by each other, why don’t we just try to get along? This is supposed to be the season of peace on earth and good will towards men no matter what you believe, not the season of hate and discontent.

In closing, I will wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Ramadan or a Joyous Yuletide season, whatever works for you, from my home to yours.