I’ve Got a Christmas Story For You (Or Two … Actually, Make That Four)

In the mood for some holiday cheer?  Love a good Christmas story?  Here are four tales I’ve written that will each warm your heart with Yuletide delight.  Some will make you laugh, some will make you cry, but all of them will entertain.  Click on the links to download to either your Nook or Kindle.

AChristmasConfrontationCover.jpg

Click “Kindle” To Download

Click “Nook” To Download

Traditionalist James Henderson is enraged and he’s got a bone to pick with Marty Yaple, a youth minister. In fact, James is so angry that he raids Marty’s church, catching Marty off guard. It’s James, though, who is surprised in the end, because Marty is not what James imagined, and because the minister helps James realize that his real issue isn’t with Marty’s Christmas Eve service—Get Jiggy With Jesus’ Birthday—but with something else entirely.  (Family Life/Humor/Holiday)

CHRISTMAS ON THE GOLF COURSE

Click “Kindle” to download

Click “NOOK” to download

Craig Clark thought he had the golf course all to himself on Christmas Day, so imagine his surprise when the biggest man he’d ever seen rolled up in a red golf cart decked out in silver sleigh bells.  (Holiday/Humor)

ChristmasAttheCemeteryBN

Click “Kindle” To Download

Click “Nook” To Download

Why would a mother and father bring their small child to a cemetery every Christmas? Why would that child actually be excited to do so? Here’s a hint: there’s a grandmother involved! Some holiday traditions are stranger than others, but rest assured, “Christmas At the Cemetery” will warm the heart.  (Family Life/Humor/Holiday)

KEEPINGUPWITHCLAUS

Click “Kindle” To Download

Click “NOOK” To Download

In the tradition of “The Gift Of the Magi,” “Keeping Up With Claus” explores the complicated ritual of both giving and receiving gifts, particularly among family members. This story will make you laugh, it will make you cry, and it will make you flat out mad at one character in particular. However, no Christmas story should be without redemption, so you can expect to smile by story’s end.  Download today to your Nook or Kindle by clicking the links! (Holiday/Humor/Family Life)

Advertisements

“Keeping Up With Claus” – Short Story Of the Week

In the tradition of “The Gift Of the Magi,” “Keeping Up With Claus” explores the complicated ritual of both giving and receiving gifts, particularly among family members. This story will make you laugh, it will make you cry, and it will make you flat out mad at one character in particular. However, no Christmas story should be without redemption, so you can expect to smile by story’s end.  Download today to your Nook or Kindle by clicking the links!

Kindle

NOOK

KEEPINGUPWITHCLAUS

Christmas On the Golf Course – My Short Story Of the Week

Craig Clark thought he had the golf course all to himself on Christmas Day, so imagine his surprise when the biggest man he’d ever seen rolled up in a red golf cart decked out in silver sleigh bells.  Download your copy now to enjoy!

CHRISTMAS ON THE GOLF COURSE

Click “Kindle” to download

Click “NOOK” to download

A Daddy’s Dilemma: The Story Of Star Wars, My Daughter, and a Christmas Recital

Little has tested my mettle as a father like the recent decision made by my four-year-old daughter.  This daughter, whom I love with all my heart, has never before been willing to participate in any kind of recital, play, or even–until mere months ago–photographs.  Imagine my utter panic when she announced that this year would be unlike any other in that she would like to take part in her daycare’s Christmas recital.

I know what you’re thinking.  Yes, I said “utter panic.”

Ordinarily I would be overjoyed at the prospect of my four-year-old defeating her reluctance to appear in public performances, especially those captured by photographic means.  Normally I would encourage her, support her, and champion her every step of the way.

Unfortunately, there is one small, minor, miniscule, tiny, minute problem.  You see, her star debut happens to coincide with Star Wars: Rogue One.  To be more precise, it occurs at the exact time printed on the advance tickets I bought for Rogue One’s opening night.

I am something of  Star Wars fan.  I grew up with the original trilogy, made lightsabers out of wrapping paper tubes, and nearly lost my sanity when I somehow misplaced my Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker.  You know, the one in the black outfit with the green lightsaber.  (My father found him several months later in the garden.  To this day, I blame my older brother [but don’t tell him I said that].)  I have been looking forward to Rogue One for an eternity.  When tickets were announced, I stalked my favorite theater’s website waiting for them to go on sale.  This theater has reserved seating, so they tend to release their tickets sporadically, one day at a time.  It can be maddening.  However, my efforts were rewarded.  I eventually got the seats I wanted at the time I wanted.  Ah, the benefits of patience resulting from middle age coupled with a credit card …  Life was good.  So good.

Cue the bomb dropping.  We were actually on the way to my eight-year-old’s Christmas recital when my four-year-old proclaimed from the backseat that this year she too would espouse the merits of Christ, Rudolph, and jolly old Saint Nick.  “What?” I cried.  “That’s wonderful!”  My wife joined in, exclaiming, “We’re so proud of you!”

I then asked my wife what date the recital would occur.

I then asked my wife at what time the recital would occur.

“Are you sure, honey?” I erupted.  “I mean, you know, you’ve never wanted to do it before?  Are you positive this is the year?”

My wife slowly said my name.  This was meant as a hint.  I totally picked up on it.  But that didn’t stop me.

“I mean, we don’t want your daycare to plan on you being there and then you back out on them, you know?”

My wife calmly asked me at what point I’d lost my mind.  “See,” I whispered to her, “it’s just that, you know, I’ve got Rogue One tickets that night.”  Her face told me she failed to comprehend the issue.  “Not just that night, but at that exact time,” I enlightened.

My four-year-old overheard me and said, and there is not an ounce of embellishment added to this, “I don’t want to do it if Daddy isn’t there.”

Well, shit.

So, guess what I’m doing right now?  That’s right, I’m stalking my favorite theater’s website, waiting for those weekend tickets to go on sale.  Yeah, I know opening weekend can’t compare to opening night, but I can’t be the guy who skips his daughter’s first Christmas recital to go see Star Wars.  I wish I could tell you that my heart is swelling with love and that I gave up those tickets without a moment’s hesitation.  I wish I could tell you that I can’t wait to sit through forty-five minutes of babies, toddlers, and four-year-olds singing Christmas songs.

The truth is, if I’m being honest, I’m really disappointed that I’m not seeing Rogue One on its opening night, especially considering that I scored tickets for it.  I know I’m supposed to play the good dad and say it’s not a sacrifice, that I’m happy to give up my own wants and desires for the sake of my children’s happiness.  I’m supposed to say that, but my hypocrisy would know no bounds if I did so.

In reality, I’ve got perspective enough to realize that the story of dad skipping his daughter’s first Christmas recital to see a movie would follow both of us for the rest of our lives.  It would be funny to most, but I can’t risk the impact that could have on our future relationship, even subconsciously.  And, let’s face it — I also don’t want to be judged.  So, yeah, it’s mostly shame and fear of being judged getting me to that Christmas recital.  Just let me know when and where I should appear to receive that “Father Of the Year” award.

I’ve also got perspective enough to realize that this article will serve as a confession of sorts to my daughter.  One day I’m sure I will play the martyr and bring up the fact that I gave up opening night Star Wars tickets to see her sing for five minutes.   I will play the guilt card and shamelessly use it to win every argument, every squabble, every petty disagreement.  And she can then refer to this blog post and politely tell me to stop being an asshole.  I also extend that invitation to my other daughter as well.  Print it off and keep it in your pocket, girls.

I love my daughters in ways I didn’t know existed.  They are my everything, and I will sacrifice anything and everything for them.  I strive to be that good dad, but it’s not always easy.  Actually, it’s rarely easy.  But you know what?  There will be other Star Wars opening nights.  I only get one first Christmas recital with my four-year-old.  I only get one year with her as a four-year-old.  She’ll be fourteen before I know it, and then twenty-four.  One day I will be gone and I won’t get any more time with her at all.  Whenever I feel selfish and small, I try to remember that fact: one day I won’t have any more time with my children.

So, yeah, I won’t see Rogue One on opening night.

Life is still pretty good.

Image result for rogue one movie poster

Read “Christmas At the Cemetery” – A Story To Warm the Heart

Why would a mother and father bring their small child to a cemetery every Christmas? Why would that child actually be excited to do so? Here’s a hint: there’s a grandmother involved! Some holiday traditions are stranger than others, but rest assured, “Christmas At the Cemetery” will warm the heart.  Read my $00.99 short on your Kindle or Kindle app by clicking here!

This Is a Great Time To Read “A Christmas Confrontation”

A Christmas Confrontation: A Short Story

Click “Kindle” To Download

Click “Nook” To Download

Traditionalist James Henderson is enraged and he’s got a bone to pick with Marty Yaple, a youth minister. In fact, James is so angry that he raids Marty’s church, catching Marty off guard. It’s James, though, who is surprised in the end, because Marty is not what James imagined, and because the minister helps James realize that his real issue isn’t with Marty’s Christmas Eve service—Get Jiggy With Jesus’ Birthday—but with something else entirely.

But just what is at the heart of James’ fury? How does Marty help James deal with his ire? What is so different about Marty that James hadn’t expected? To learn these answers, read “A Christmas Confrontation.”  It’s available on your Kindle or Nook for $00.99.

 

A Super Tradition

Around 1994, my parents started buying me a super hero Christmas ornament every year.  My wife quickly picked up the tradition, as did her own parents.  As you can imagine, my super hero Christmas tree is now something to behold.  My six-year-old has enjoyed helping me put the ornaments up for the last few years, and we’re looking forward to when my youngest daughter can join in the fun.  We use a pathetic little fake tree I bought fourteen years ago when I was unmarried and living alone.  We think it’s charming as it stands proud in the basement, bedecked in all things super.  (Pay no attention to the sparse Bears ornaments … they are not so super.)  Look upon it in awe!

wpid-20141130_143245.jpg