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Hope for the Holidays

I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend, and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope.

    -Morgan Freeman in Shawshank Redemption

Merry Christmas, AN. Going to make this short and sweet before heading out to my sister’s. Which means no links, no photos; just some thoughts of mine. But hey, at least it’s not a Yankee post.  :)


I mentioned yesterday that for once I would like to enjoy the holiday season, and not just the holiday itself.  But from raising a teen and running a business- and making futile attempts at having a life somewhere in between, it just never seems to work out that way.

And so it was at morning Mass today that I was able to take it all in.  I felt right at home, too; the joint was half-happy just like a Thursday afternoon A’s game.  Looks like most folks opted for Christmas Eve services.  There I was able to see the (Christmas) tree through the forest of my life, to stop and smell the poinsettias, and to sing the songs, not just hear them faintly through the clock radio at my office.  As I surveyed the scene, I saw something more; amid the holiday salutations and hugs, I saw hope.  Well, not only did I see it, I felt it.  And color me naive or call me a sucker for sentiment but it was nice to take in the spirit of the season, even if the season has- once again- passed me by.


But then I saw my ex-wife- with her five-year old daughter in tow- still openly mourning the tragic death of her second husband, and I came crashing down from my Christmas high.  I was reminded that life is simply not fair sometimes, and most times for no reason at all.  It does throw curveballs, only these ones don’t leave you muttering to yourself in the dugout.  These ones sting and scar.


What does any of this have to do with the A’s or baseball?  Heck, I don’t know.  Surely the good people at Athletics Nation don’t need a refresher course on perspective.  But maybe Oscar Wilde was on to something when he said life imitates art more than art imitates life.  Our baseball team- perhaps more than any other- has experienced its share of highs and lows; such is the case in our own lives.


At our family gathering last night, as I missed the face of my nephew Ernie, who is serving in Iraq, I was delighted to see my niece Natalie, who continues to battle personal demons.  And while Ernie is due home in March, my niece Stephanie last week received her orders to ship out oversees.  In March.  Meanwhile, yet another niece (Kimberly) is due- any minute now- to deliver either my fourth great-nephew or my first great-niece.  Future A’s fans of course, in a family that is five-generations strong in that department.  


This time of year means different things to different people.  For me it’s about family and memories.  And in that way, the A’s very much play a part.  (I say this as I am warmed by the heavy green-and-gold sweatshirt my god-daughter gave me as a gift).


And it’s also about hope.  Hope that Ernie- and the rest of our troops- come home soon.  Hope that Rocio and Maya will find peace in a world that has left one a widow and the other without a father.


To my new family at AN, I hope you are celebrating today with your own families, laughing over old memories and creating new ones.