Every Christmas There’s At Least One Just-For-Fun Gift

My wife wins the prize with this year’s best just-for-fun gift. This one’s practical, so I can’t call it a gag gift. And though I rarely eat hot seat hot cereal other than the occasional bowl of oatmeal I’ll probably try this even though I like it mainly for the box. She found it in the online store of the Montana Historical Society.

Meanwhile, I’m enjoying reading The Guardians by John Grisham, a gift from my brother Barry and his wife Mary. It’s about an organization that works to get wrongly convicted people out of jail. So far, so good.



Happy Boxing Day

As I understand it, Boxing Day is one of those strange English Holidays that makes no sense at all since its purpose changed over time from giving gifts to the poor to watching old boxing matches.

Whenever my grandfather was visiting, we listened to every boxing match in the country on the radio–or later watched them on TV compliments of the Gillette Calvacade of Sports. So, because grandpa is probably keeping tabs on me, I’m watching the fight between Sonny Liston and Cassius Clay (as he was known at the time of the fight 1964 fight). I know how it turns out because, well, I was there when it happened–so to speak.

I hated boxing then and still hate it now, but I’m doing my duty watching Liston lose even though Clay was an underdog, some guy who spoke in poetry like: “If you want to lose your money, then bet on Sonny!”  I didn’t bet on anybody because grandpa said betting money on fights was wrong.

Some people in the States think Boxing Day is the day when people put stuff into boxes so they can re-gift it to the black sheep in the family a few years down the road. Now that, I could get behind more than watching Liston chasing Clay around the ring in the opening rounds of the fight.

While I supported Mohammad Ali’s (as Clay was later known) resistance to the draft, I thought that a little bit of his constant sing-song poetry went a long way. E.g.: “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. His hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see. Now you see me, now you don’t. George thinks he will, but I know he won’t.”

I didn’t want to see any of it and I’m sure that it warped my life. Goodness knows why I watched the Rocky movies. Duty, as I said.





Typical e-mail exchange with a shipper

This is the season when UPS, FedEx, and USPS litter the front porch with packages and my e-mail inbox with notes that say “your shipment has arrived.” But sometimes the shipper is wrong and there’s no package there:

SHIPPER: (Not FedEx) Your package from WALMART arrived today.

ME: No it didn’t.

SHIPPER: Really? Did you check the outhouse?

ME: We don’t have an outhouse.

SHIPPER: Where do you do your business?

ME: The bathroom.

SHIPPER: Wow, we didn’t figure a redneck county like yours had indoor plumbing.,

ME: So where’s my package?

SHIPPER: Frankly, we rather hoped you’d forgotten about it by now. We think varmints ran off with it.

ME: Varmints?

SHIPPER: Yes, lions, tigers, and bears, oh my.

ME: I live in Georgia, not the jungle.

SHIPPER: So that “Georgia of the Jungle” song isn’t about you?

ME: Nope.

SHIPPER: Well, bugger.


Malcolm R. Campbell sometimes put his satire in a novel.




Erin go bragh, or else

If you know what’s good for you, you’re celebrating St. Patrick’s day and saying Erin go bragh  (yes that’s the correct saying) which means “Ireland to the end of time.”

According to the all-knowing and quasi divine Internet, that phrase was first heard during the “Irish Rebellion of 1798 when a group of Irish rebels staged an uprising to protest British rule.” It didn’t work out. Nonetheless, as you know, I’ll always side with anyone trying to break free of British rule, so I can be counted on to raise a glass or two of Knappogue Castle 12 Year Single Malt to celebrate the man who converted the Irish to Christrianity. Seriously, why did he do that? Their old-time Celtic beliefs were just fine.

Okay, we won’t worry about the details except to say that today we support the Irish with or without the saint or the U.K.


P.S. Sorry, Ireland,  but I wore my green shirt yesterday. Oops.

Happy Holidays

‘Happy Holidays” is about as generic as the old Christmas card standby “Season’s Greetings.” Years ago, I might have said “Merry Christmas,” but now the powers that be suggest we should be more inclusive of the many othe holidays celebrated during December, and I’m okay with

We’re usually the last people in the neighborhood to put up our tree and our outside decorations. Two other families in the area do what we do, considering the holiday to be the Twelve Days of Christmas starting on the 25th and running until 12th Night. We decorated our tree yesterday (mostly) and due to a long habit, will open gifts on Christmas Eve.

However we celebrate, we’re hoping for a gift of a better 2022 than the last two years. We want to step into a springtime without masks, mandates, and morbid debates. Along with that, it would be nice if the supply chain sorted itself out and that businesses had enough workers to get through the next 52 weeks at full steam.

Whether one delebrates the holidays this way or that way, we acknowledge that there are powers higher than ourselves that just might offer us some words of wisdom if we are listening, and I hope we are.