Christmas has past.

Okay folks, the official celebration of Christ-mas is over, the presents have been opened with surprise mixed with some joy, or regret you choose that. Children excitedly played with the new toy and the teens involved with the new techno game. Dinner was fantastic.

The relatives are gone, the wrapping paper and boxes discarded for the city to remove to the trash heaps, the dinner plates cleaned and neatly placed away with left-overs galore in the frig. Lots and lots of pictures were taken to share, to remember. Are you now looking at the decorations wishing they’d all just disappear back into safe keeping, or have you already started the process of carefully packaging them away for the next eleven months: in a closet, the garage or/and the attic. Or, do you wait till after a few days have passed?

So, was it a happy holiday for all? Were all conversations happy remembrances?  Did discussions of the political climate enter any conversations disrupting the peaceful fellowship? Was there any talk at all about the reason for the season? Or is that a subject to stay away from too, keeping any discussion of Biblical religion within? It can cause arguments too. Did you watch a romantic Christmas love story movie together? The NFL had a prime-time game to watch between commercials. Deserts finished, and the belly is full.

The pictures you took capture one moment in time. You’ll look back on those remembering the good-times you had this Christmas.

Now it’s time to relax. Santa is back to the pole. But, wait, the malls are discounting prices like crazy.

I have tacked to the wall in front of me, a picture of the family gathering of years ago. A few no longer here, some grown by 6-16 inches, all recognizable this current year and joyful to look at remembering the good time with my extended family that I’ve loved and cherished over the years we then had together.

Author: Arnold Kropp

About the Author. Back in the days when I was a kid growing up in south Chicago, freely roaming around the neighborhood was common and just a part of life in the late 40's and early 50's. A train track was less than a mile away and a favorite place to walk along the rails. A large city park was a bit closer with areas of dense trees and areas of open grassy picnic grounds. A public golf course was just two blocks away, but the famed 4-lane busy Western avenue had to be crossed to get to it, and we crossed in the middle of the block running between the cars and trucks. We knew the risks. In the winters, we would climb that fence making our way to one of the ponds, we’d push and shovel away the snow and play a spontaneous game of hockey, or bring a sled and slide down the hillside ; no adults, no special padding, just a group of kids enjoying the contest. Dad was at work, mom was home tending to the washing and preparing the family meal for promptly at 6 pm. Life was good. It was fun. Sunday mornings were dress up in suit and tie, polished shoes for Sunday school and the worship service, then to a restaurant. Arnold went on to college immediately after high school, but could not find a subject, a major that was really up his alley, so he enlisted in the Army and served in Germany during the years the Berlin wall was built. Seeing what effects Soviet communism had on the people of East Germany left an impression on him. During those years, he would write many long letters home starting a desire to write more than just letters. Many years later Arnold developed a blog where he posted hundreds of articles on the political side of American life. Some of those are available in the collection named "Ramblings". Today, Society is totally different from that of the 50's, a whole lot different. Today, it has become scary to let the kids roam. Today it has become organized to the hilt with 2nd graders playing organized football. In my present relatively quiet neighborhood, I do see kids walking the streets, but there is a difference as the kids seem to be apprehensive and on guard or intently operating a telephone as they walk, not running after each other. Today, the above freedoms of the 50's are suspect and avoided as being dangerous activities. And that is sad. It's sad that today's kids do not have that freedom, and it may be having a direct effect on their development. Consider, one fact that is readily apparent today compared to yesterday; the preponderance of overweight and obese kids, even pre-school kids are heavier than we were, and this has to be affecting the rest of their daily lives. No doubt about it. But, I'd better hush, can't talk about those things. Yes, in the 50’s there were Semi-trucks, public transportation, murders, rape, robberies, house fires, sickness and diseases resulting in death, and yes, there were deadly vehicle accidents too. There was even poverty and homosexuals too. We went to public schools, and the high school was integrated. This was Chicago, but those events did not make the headlines, as news was only broadcast at 6pm and possibly 10pm nightcap. Days of the cold war kept us together as a nation. We saw the "Victory at Sea" war clips before the main feature at the theaters. And now technology dominates life. A cell phone in every handy pocket posting selfies. A computer saving everything to one of those cumulous clouds. Room size TV’s broadcasting everything 24/7. This is more information than I want. Let me decide something. I think. therefore, I am. I was born a male, therefore I am. I was born-again, therefore I am. I have life within, therefore I am. The news is not my guide. The TV is not my Sheppard.

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