Christmas Eve, 2016

The ghosts of Christmas past are present.
I can’t escape them on this special night.
They come, slipping through the fog of memory.

Sitting here on Christmas Eve,
I light a candle that can show them the way
To where Brandy and I wait.

I sit, listening to music that calls them forth,
And remember why they were important,
And why I miss them on this night.

The years, and Christmases past now are one.
It matters not these ghosts are just memories.
What matters is why they were important.

Tonight, as I entertain the ghosts of Christmas past,
The candle’s flame casts a warm glow
I hope will welcome them back.

The candle in the window will guide them home,
Where Brandy and I wait to renew memories,
Made special by other nights and other times.

Joanie Poster_edited-2

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Reflections, December 2016

The Chocolates of My Mind

This is another re-post, if there is such a word, of something I wrote a couple of years ago, about something I wrote many, many years ago. Some may have seen it before, some not. In any event, it is something I think about this time of year, every year.

1977 Letter To Santa Claus

In my life as a journalist and columnist, I have written tens of thousands of words, most, if not all, forgettable, but some have stuck with me over the years, and during this time of the year, I remember some of those words that have stuck. This TBT post deals with those words.

It’s Christmas time, and on a cold winter’s night, I sit here in my 1975 Rollohome, with some of my favorite Christmas music playing on the box, a good glass of Cabernet in hand, Bailey and Brandy, my two Siamese friends nearby…

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Another Look Back


I posted this before, but I thought I would post it again. I like it, and it means something to me. 

A Cold Winter’s Night

I remember, as I sit here this night, just a few days before Christmas, a cold December night of 2008.

I was in Avon, Minnesota at Joe and Joni’s place, where I always stopped on my way to an annual December lunch in Minneapolis. For those of you who might not know, Joni was my sister, the youngest of the five of us. Their place was always a welcome place, comfortable and warm. Morgan, the black Lab their kids had got for them when they moved out there from St. Cloud was a part of their family that also welcomed me, always showing me her latest treasures and resting her chin on my lap as I sat at the table in the living room.

Joanie had died earlier that year, and this trip was even more poignant for me because I wouldn’t be doing some of the things I would have done in the past.

It was a Thursday night when I got to their place, and it was a cold and stormy evening. Joe told us there was something going on at Bailey Ray’s, over in Santiago, not far from St. Cloud. Joni had no interest in going out in the snow and cold, and so we stayed behind while Joe took off for Ray’s place.

I had brought them a copy of Chris Botti’s CD and DVD of a concert he had done in Boston, so Joni and I sat there in the dim light of the evening and watched and listened to the wonderful sounds that came from that concert. Morgan seemed to enjoy it as well, as the music washed over her and she found a place on a couch to welcome the sound.

Music was always a part of our family, I can’t remember a time when it wasn’t, and that night, as the video played, and Joni and I sat there listening to Botti’s trumpet and the likes of Sting, John Mayer, Josh Groban, Yo Yo Ma and others, all seemed right with the world, that cold December evening.

The mixture of Jazz and the classics that night warmed us, and I’ll have to admit, we did have a hit or two from an herbal cigarette that made the time even more mellow. When Lucia Micarelli, a young violinist came on stage to play Emmanuel with Botti, we both melted, and it was not due to the smoke, it was the absolute beauty of the music, the time and the place. When they were done, we looked at one another, and our eyes were not dry.

My sister Joni would die the following summer, a loss, like Joanie’s, that still leaves a hole in my heart. She was the youngest, but our relationship transcended the age difference, and besides, while I was divorced, I spent several Christmases at their house in St. Cloud. Even after I moved to Bismarck in 1980, I would be back, spend Christmas Eve there, and the next day would leave to pick up my son, Ryan, in Fargo.

What was once five is now three. My sister Judy, two years my junior, had died in 1984, and so it is now my sister Jane, in Fargo and my brother Jerry in Graham, NC who remain, and while we are separated by distance, we are as close as ever. I even get to see Jane whenever she is through Bismarck on her way to another show where she is selling her jewelry.

So, tonight, as I do every year about this time, I put the DVD back on, and since I don’t have a smoke, I just sit back, listen and remember another cold December night when Morgan was on the couch, Joni sat on her chair at their table in the living room, we had a little smoke, Joe had the wood stove warming us, music filled the air, and allow myself a fit of melancholy. But that’s okay. I think both Joni and Joanie would approve.

Merry Christmas.

Brandy & Bob

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The Last Christmas

Searching for some words that mean something to me during this season, I look back and find some that I hope are worth my posting them again.

The Chocolates of My Mind

It is but a few days before that magical night of Christmas Eve. A time when the sounds of the city fade into the distance, and the quiet of the night is palpable. It is that time when for a brief moment anything seems possible, and also a time when memories come flooding back to make the night more meaningful. 

I wrote this poem for such a night as this Christmas Eve, and Brandy and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and may all your New Year’s dreams come true. 

The Stars Were Singing

The stars were singing,
In a sky full of dark.
On that Christmas Eve.

Candlelight moved to the music,
Casting shadows upon the wall,
And the wine glasses sparkled.

Your eyes shone brightly for a time,
Your smile would come and go
Like the shadows on the wall.

Bailey’s purrs came as you stroked…

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Happy Thanksgiving

A Happy Thanksgiving wish from Brandy and Bob.

May you all enjoy the time with family and friends.

We will be home, and I will be sure that Brandy gets special treats, even though she has no idea what this holiday means, and I can see she still misses her sister, even taking over her towel on the counter.

We will be fine, and I shall  bake a pie,

You all be well and enjoy this great holiday.

Brandy and Bob

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