Tag Archives: Christmas

Happy New Year 2012

Once again everyone, including me, is expressing surprise at how quickly 2011 came and went and we find ourselves in 2012. I told my kids just yesterday that when I was their age,” we thought we’d all be flying in rocket packs like The Jetsons by the year 2000. I gotta admit, though, with all the new-fangled phones on the market today, we are a little bit like Dick Tracy.

The Manns had a different, but fun, Christmas (and very hectic). We took the kids out of school a little early (because they’d got decent grades) and went to Orlando to try to beat the crowds to Disney. And we had a blast there (see pics!). We did Magic Kingdom on the first day and enjoyed a ton of rides and attractions. A family favorite was, of course, Space Mountain.

The second day we went to Disney Hollywood and I wasn’t nearly as impressed. One thing that really bothered me was the “designated smoking areas” seemed to be everywhere. Brett and I accidentally sat in one and continually dodged the smoke. I absolutely cannot stand the smell of it. Honestly, I don’t recall if the Magic Kingdom had the same thing, but I certainly don’t remember anyone smoking there. I just assumed (and you know how dangerous that is) that all the parks were non-smoking. It wasn’t a complete loss: Brittany made it through all the initial phases of American Idol and got to compete/perform on stage. Yes, I’m biased, but she should have won. All three judges liked her and had positive things to say…they didn’t all three like the other two. Regardless, it was a fun experience for her.

It also holds the roller coaster highlight for us in the Rock and Roll Roller Coaster with Aerosmith. Wow, but that thing is fast! Brett and I were both a little nervous before we got on, but it ended up being a great ride.

  When we left Orlando, we began a whirlwind Christmas tour to see our families. We spent Christmas Eve night at home, but that was it! It was great to see family, but it was also good to get home and sleep in my own bed.

And while I don’t really do resolutions, I do have some goals for the coming year. Those include trying to blog once per week, finishing up novel #4, and getting some comic/graphic novel projects going (I’ve got three projects with committed artists—I’m tempted to name them, but will wait until things are more firm).


Filed under General

The funny thing about Christmas Cards

Well, I hope everyone had a great REL/MLK day yesterday. If you were off from work, good for you. If you weren’t, oh well. We’ve just about got all the Christmas decorations put up. Yeah, I know, we’re running late. Well, mostly it’s me running late. We’ve had most of them actually down for a while, but I’ve yet to re-“store” them…y’know, put them up in the attic.

Is it just me, or does Christmas seem to fly by? And I mean that both ways: it gets here in a hurry each year, and then it’s over in a hurry. It feels like we just get the tree up and we have to take it down.

But with all the technology, I wonder if the art of the Christmas card is changing (not that it’s an art, but you get what I mean). A decade or so ago, folks stopped sending cards and opted for the “family update letter” in place of a card. Usually, it’s a Cliff’s Notes version of what that family has experienced over the last year. We hang our cards on a string every year…those letter-updates just don’t hang right. Oh, I’m not pointing fingers…we’re guilty of the occasional update letter.

In the last year or so, we’ve started getting email cards. There’s several places online you can get free cards, some of them pretty nice. I’ve grown to like them more and more because I feel I can more easily include folks. The last two years, my family has recorded a “Christmas greeting” video. That’s been fun. But the online cards have messed with my list a little, though.

Yes, I keep a list. Hey, Santa does it, I figured it was in the Christmas spirit to do so. Actually, my list started as a way to keep up with addresses and such. That, and I was always afraid I would accidentally forget someone and then they’d either be hurt or offended. Since I wanted to do neither, I started a list…and checked it twice. When I was heavy editing, the list grew very large—I used to send cards to all the creative talent I worked with. Talk about stamp licking.

The funny thing about my list, though…after a few years of keeping it, I got to noticing that some of the folks on my list never—and I mean never—sent cards to my family. Now I know there are some folks who just don’t do it and I know that the idea is give not receive—I know all that. But if we don’t get a card from someone after five years, they go off the list.

Another funny thing about keeping up with the list: on occasion, I have been late getting them out—like not mailing them until the 23rd. It’s funny because I’ll get cards then the week after the new year…very rarely (actually almost never) from someone not on my list…when I get to thinking about it, I think “ah-ha. They just got the card from us…they weren’t going to send us one but because they got one from us, they decided to send it.” Haha

Whether that’s true or not, I have no clue. But it is funny to watch how the art of Christmas cards have changed and continue to do so.


Filed under Columns

The Week Before Christmas

I was feeling in very much a Christmas mood when I penned my column as the editor of a small town paper last year. Many of the names and locations presented here are from in and around Piggott. It went over pretty well, so I thought I’d re-post it here.

Merry Christmas!

‘Twas the week before Christmas, when not far from Chalk Bluff
The shopping was finished, we bought so much stuff.
The sidewalks were rolled up in the Piggott downtown,
In hopes that St. Nicholas would be coming around.
The Piggottians were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of pecan-pies danced in their heads;
And mamma in her nightgown, and me in my drawers,
Had locked all our windows and closed all our doors.
When the house it rumbled and shook like a fist,
I jumped out of bed and peeked into the mist.
The New Madrid fault, it ran right below,
I thought we were gonners, and no one would know.
I fell out of the window and onto the ground,
I couldn’t escape the deafening sound.
I’d find some official who’d know what to do,
I’d look for the Mayor, the Aldermen, too.
I walked in a daze to the downtown square,
I wasn’t alone, the whole town was there.
I mingled among them just A Face In The Crowd.
I wanted some answers and said so aloud.
Find Morris, Risinger, or Lingle will do!
Try Birmingham, Poole, and that Mike fella too.
So I climbed up real high, it was just a caboose,
I needed to shout this was important news.
As students who sit in class and snooze,
When they meet with a teacher, gives them the blues.
So I shouted and shouted but no one would hear,
The earth was still shaking the town I hold dear.
Why didn’t the people remember the tale,
Of Reelfoot, Kentucky, I knew it quite well.
The river flowed backwards, trees shot from the ground,
It shook up our neighbors in states all around.
I decided to look for a real man of God,
He’d listen to me, he’d give me a nod.
Up came the preacher with Bible in hand,
And he looked like a singer in a bluegrass band.
His eyes-how they twinkled, his hair looked like a wig,
His voice reassuring, his said this was big.
He said, “This was not the quake as foretold,
Just listen a moment if I might be so bold.
This isn’t a quake, it’s the rapture instead,
Things will get worse, you should go back to bed.”
He walked with a limp and one foot in the grave,
He said, “Now go on, I’ve got people to save.”
He was right and I knew it, a tough price to pay,
But the Caroline theater was gone anyway.
A spring in my step which picked up my pace,
I nearly ran home, it felt like a race.
The wife and the kids I would tell with regret,
This wasn’t the big one, we’d have that one yet.
I grabbed her and kissed her and said we weren’t dead,
She hauled off and slapped me upside of the head.
She hollered “Wake up! You’ve made quite a mess.
The sound you’ve been hearing is the midnight express.”
And I heard the tracks hum as it rolled out of sight,
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

 The original posting of this column can be found:



Filed under Columns