Friday, December 24, 2010

Adeste Fideles

At the risk of spoiling the mood, let me say something that some might consider to be unkind.

I am a registered Republican. This shout out goes to those members of the Republican Party who occupy seats in the United States Senate. Do not risk tearing rotator cuffs patting yourselves on the back for finally unwedging your heads from your asses in time to pass the multi-billion dollar aid bill for those whose heroic actions on September 11, 2001 have been actions they have paid for in the decade since.

Those in public office are presumed to be imbued with the DNA necessary to do what is right and what is necessary to protect those who they have taken an oath to serve. You should not have to be dragged kicking and screaming across the street to do it. I know not your take on this but nothing makes me reach for the in-flight vomit bag faster than a member of Congress who is opposed to a particular piece of legislation playing the "fiscal responsibility" card. For those who came to the aid of strangers on that most dreadful of September mornings almost ten years ago and whose bodies absorbed incomprehensible damage for their efforts, hopefully this legislation shall afford a measure of comfort to their families and to them. They most certainly deserve it.

If Senator Tom Coburn really wants a platform to preach the benefits of fiscally responsible government, then maybe he should relocate here to the State of Concrete Gardens. It appears as if the good people who run the municipal government in Bridgewater Township could use his help. Or perhaps just a lecture on perspective - having spent more than $17,000 to defend a lawsuit filed by an individual who sued the Township over the amount of money the Township demanded to provide a CD of a Township Council meeting.

At the heart of this controversy? The Township demanded $5.00 for a CD recording. The individual alleged that he should only have to pay the cost of making the recording, which it turns out is ninety-six cents. That is $0.96 for those of you keeping score at home. He sued. The Township paid the law firm that defended it $14,000. When it lost, it not only was out that money of course but also had to pay the individual's legal fees, which were $3500 and.......the cherry atop this particular sundae of stupidity - had to refund the individual $4.04. Why a refund of $4.04? That was the difference between what they charged him and what it was determined was all he should have had to pay. No kids, I have not been taking wee nips from the spiked egg nog early on this Christmas Eve morning. I am not making any of this up. Oh how I wish I was.

It shall be a pleasure this evening to cast off all of the silliness and the shenanigans of the outside world and spend Christmas Eve at Joe's with my little quartet, Frank and C's bunch and the patriarch of the whole crew. I am a fortunate man. I am reminded of that fact on a far more regular basis than simply once a year but it really resonates with me on this particular night annually. Margaret is Italian and we gather at the home where her parents raised Frank and her to celebrate Christmas Eve as the four of them did long before C appeared on the scene, long before any of the grandchildren arrived and certainly long before I did. I look forward to it every year.

These past couple of years it has been an event marked by decidedly fluctuating emotions. Two years ago we gathered and toasted in remembrance of Margaret's grandmother. Nanny died in early August 2008. Last year marked the first Christmas without the familial glue. The indomitable Suzy B lost her battle with cancer in June 2009. While her absence was felt last year, her presence (as well as that of Nan's) was felt even more so. Looking around the room at the faces of all who were gathered I could not help but see her in each of them.

Over the past twelve months, while we have assigned the days that have passed between last Christmas and this one to the dust heap of history, the presence and the impact that Suzy B had on the family she loved has not dissipated at all. Tonight more than one tear shall be shed in her memory. And more than one glass shall be raised in it as well. And while there have been times throughout this past year where things have not gone according to Hoyle and it might have seemed as if one or more of us had misstepped or lost our bearings, we have persevered. We have successfully navigated our way to where we want to be. Where we need to be.

We are home. And I hope that as this evening falls in your particular corner of the world, you are as well. And if you are still on your way there, keep going. You are in all likelihood much closer to home than you realize......

Keep the faith.

-AK

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