A Travel Boom is Coming

So we have all been sitting at home for a year. For many of us travel is a high point of our life and especially so for we retirees. MJ and I are discussing travel plans for later in 2021…and hoping for the best. A few years ago we enjoyed visiting Europe and the United Kingdom and did so in 2011, 2012, 2014, and 2016. I assumed that we would be continuing our journeys for sometime to come. A significant pause in plans occurred with our pandemic. In 2011 we visited Tunis, Tunisia just after the Arab spring. It was inspiring to hear our tour guide speak of his love for the United States. We visited a hand woven rug emporium and were served the most lovely tea and sweet cakes. The rugs were exquisitely made. The prices began in the stratosphere but the Tunisians were open to negotiation.

During our visit to the United Kingdom in 2016 I learned that London is not indicative of the whole of the country. You have heard the saying regarding the English landscape, ‘ A green and pleasant land.’ York was one of my favorite stops. We lodged right next to the York Minster. ‘The Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of St. Peter in York, commonly known as York Minster, is the Cathedral of York, England, and is one of the largest of its kind in Northern Europe.’ Wikipedia

We miss each other. Human interaction and fellowship is vital to our happiness and fulfillment. Although we have been separated by the necessity of our health and safety, we are going to vanquish Covid19. When we do what a joyful time that will be. The loss of life and the devastation of our experience with the Coronavirus has been an immersive experience of sadness and sorrow. Economic devastation for millions of our brothers and sisters is unprecedented in any of our lives. But, we will come out on the other side of this virulent virus and travel will be one of the human activities that we will engage in once again…but with a renewed love and appreciation for our human family. I have noticed that the pandemic has united us in our social distancing. We are all experiencing the same thing at the same time…and we have learned that there really is no difference in our place at the table… in our home…earth. We all love our family and friends. We all want the best for our children. Human connection is part of the air that we breathe. After the 2020/2021 shared terrible experience….we will rejoice and cry and sing songs of liberation and joy when we can return to normal life that is enhanced by our mutual realization of how important we are to each other.

Our lives are magical and wonderful and tenuous. Our money cannot save us. Our position cannot save us. We really are in this journey together. We are similar to the ‘Leg Lamp’ found in the Holiday Classic movie, ‘A Christmas Story,’ we are FRAGILE!


Memory is a wonderful component of our human experience. However there is a time that we cannot live in the past but in the present and the future. Memories have the ability to become somewhat distorted by time. We may remember the good old days when in reality when we were living them, we did not consider them so good. It has been said that we tend to forget the bad and remember the good. In that vein of thought…life has taken an abrupt change for the United States. Some of us have dismal and hurtful and frightening memories of our recent past. Others may remember the same past…tinged with a rosy hew. Neither of these photographs of the past are healthy to live in. It is vital that we learn from history…not that we live in it.

Life is best lived in a forward motion. Every day is a new day. It seems that the ‘Slough of Despond’ has been partially lifted from us. We must walk forward in peace and without fear. Many of us have lived in fear of life as we have known it in the United States. A great cloud of fog and darkness has been lifted from us and we should joyfully proceed forward in the pristine endeavor of living our lives and making a difference in the lives of others. Transparency from our government is refreshing and a cause to breathe more freely. Honesty is the best policy. Truth is easy to grasp on to. Clearness of mission is a path that is clearly visualized and a facilitator for moving forward with our life journey.

Honest information is a clear road map for the positive continuation for our journey. Reflecting on the past is counter productive and not helpful to our positive walk forward. Freedom is freeing! Fear of retribution is confining and conspiracy theories are chilling. A comprehensive plan for battling the pandemic is a breath of fresh air and life saving. Reliance on science is vital to the vanquishing of the Coronavirus. Many things are not subject to political debate. Whether we have lost 400 thousand of our family and friends and neighbors to the virulent Covid-19 is not up to debate! Our suffering and tears and fears are not subject to debate. Our loss as a nation…is not subject to debate.

We live in an incredibly nuanced and diverse world. Our continued viability in the family of nations is commensurate on collaboration with our allies. Our hope is contained in the good will of the unified collaboration of our citizenry and their dedication to the best interest of all of our family.

We are a country that has united in our major struggles. We seek our most high aspirations. It appears that we have a President that has been formed by his loss of 3 family members… he has genuine empathy for loss. We have suffered draconian loss… Let us look forward with clear eyes and truth as our banner as we walk into the future that awaits us.

Understanding Others

We are surrounded by a kaleidoscope of diversity…while many of us seek a world of monochrome. I am an avid amateur photographer. The emphasis is on amateur. I enjoy posting the photos that I take on Facebook due to my small but dedicated following. Some enjoy the black and white photos while others prefer those with color. I really enjoy both, but lean towards the silver tone due to its timeless quality. However when it comes to the diversity of humanity in all of its panoply of colors and ethnicities and customs…the kaleidoscope is my vision of our society.

Listening is the beginning of understanding. All of us are seeking someone who cares enough about us to focus on us and listen to the thoughts of our hearts and remain silent during the process. The practice is to listen to understand rather than to listen to respond. The more time that I have spent listening to those whom are different than me or who come from a different life experience…the better I am able to appreciate them and their joys and struggles. It is a form of magic when another human being takes you into their confidence and confides in you and trusts you. Trust is a precious gift that forms a bond of cords of love and acceptance that cannot be broken.

Love is an all encompassing word. When someone wants to learn about me and understand me…there is no room for hate and cruelty. Rather the emotion that is generated is to protect your friend and to honor their life. Each time that I have bought into the life’s walk of my friend I want the best for them. When I began at Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale…I did not know anyone. I was 20 years old. The first person to befriend me was my foreman, Jim, and he was a cigar smoking African American. Jim told a crew supervisor who had been giving me a bad time, ‘Jay is my son…he just will not call me daddy.’ Jim cared about me and I knew it. Although he passed away many years ago I think of him often.

Labor for clear communication. Nothing of value is achieved without hard work. Success is incremental. When I was the superintendent of Building Services, at the University I had an open door policy. That policy was for every member of our organization. We had 350 – 400 people in the housekeeping department. I did my best to listen to each colleague who wanted to speak with me with an open mind and without preconceived ideas or opinions. Of our over 200 student staff there were people from many nations. I listened much more than I spoke.

Luck is the reason that many of us have succeeded in life. I have heard the glowing stories regarding how a person pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and worked from dawn to dusk and that if they could do it…poor people can do the same… Many times these ‘Legends in their Own Mind,’ have been the recipients of many helping hands as they climbed the ladder of success. It seems that temporary amnesia occurs when poor people become upper middle class or wealthy. Understanding must be grounded in reality. If I am going to understand you and you understand me…we must listen to each other in love and humility and be willing to engage in the labor that it will take to overcome the stereotypes that separate us from our brothers and sisters in our human family. We are sad and lonely and desperate and afraid…because we are separated from our family. A peaceful mind and a settled soul will come from our work to understand and appreciate our long lost brothers and sisters. No longer alone…no longer lonely…no longer depressed because our family loves us so much…and protects us from the dark corners of our hearts that have been filled with conspiracy theories and division and strife. The disappointments of our souls and the closed life… has caused us to look for an enemy and a person or people that have caused our malady. The answer to our insular social media lives is to reach out to other members of our precious human family, God’s creation, and renew the fellowship that we crave so badly.

A Peaceful Mind

It is 52 degrees today and a climate for a pleasant walk. The beauty of winter was exhibited on the campus of Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale. I love the appearance of winter trees reaching their spidery arms towards the sky. In our neck of the woods the Covid19 vaccine is not being offered to everyone that is 65 or older…that is good news! Our campus is on break and the stillness and pristine solemnity of the winter landscape is inspiring.

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Focus is fantastic! The President Elect seems to be laser focused on addressing the pandemic crisis that has engulfed our nation. This includes the vital economic assistance that is so desperately needed for the millions of displaced staff and small businesses who have been devastated by this virulent virus. Focus is cathartic for a restless mind. The more we are torn between the things that we can not change and those that we can…is tearing us apart. So often our belief in a cause that is ensconced in a big lie is a handy method of avoiding the dark problems of our own lives.

Better days are ahead of us. We have experienced many dark and depressing days…but the scripture tells us that ‘Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.’ Or, as King Solomon told us, ‘The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.’

Prayer or meditation is a great enhancer of a peaceful mind. Both bring a centering of mind and soul. Modern life exposes us to a variety of stimulus that is often overwhelming. The demands of our work place and our family and our social circles or faith community causes us to feel like the person that has bills at the end of the month and not enough money to pay them. Often we choose to put all of the debt notices in our top hat and pull out one at a time until the money runs out.

Peace comes from clear goals and keeping our train on the track. There are many sidetracks in life. I will never forget the young man who visited our little church when I was a lad. In those halcyon days it was my custom to spend the weekend in Elkville, Illinois. I rode the Gulf Transport from my home in Eldorado to Carbondale, where someone from our church would come to pick me up and take me to Elkville. I customarily slept just off the sanctuary in a sleeping bag and one Saturday night the pastor had taken in a young man who was traveling across the country. He was a friendly fellow and the next morning he asked me if I would consider being his disciple as he was going to start his own church. Life is full of decisions…but I was not enticed. He seemed convinced of his track in life…but it was not mine. So there are many detours and alternate routes in our lives and it pays to have a vision of who your are and where you are going.

A Lie Is A Deadly Weapon

It feels especially cold today. As I engaged in a small walk through campus woods I felt the winter winds cut me like a knife. My Christmas ornaments are gone. However the bare winter trees are lovely in their seasonal spidery structure that reaches toward the grey sky. This week has whisked by and has been a difficult one for our nation and for our family. Brody our 16 year and 8 months and 3 day old Boston Terrier died on Monday. Jamie, Jonathon’s Leopard Gecko, who was over 24 years old died on Wednesday. Later Wednesday our Nations Capitol was rushed by insurrectionist who actively engaged in an attempted coup and the thwarting of our democratic free and fare election.

Over my 31 years as a supervisor and manager/administrator at Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale I discovered that lies travel rapidly while truth is often doubted and examined incessantly before being accepted by others. It takes years to develop a good reputation that can be destroyed by a single lie. Mark Twain said, ‘A lie will fly around the whole world while the truth is getting its boots on.’

Insurrection that is based on a lie…is a tragedy. Some of the insurrectionist were wearing, ‘Camp Auschwitz’ and ‘Six Million Was Not Enough’ Tee shirts. Five people are now dead as a result of the Capture of the Capitol. The coup volunteers were proud of what they had accomplished. They took thousands of selfies. One man smiled broadly as he sat in the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi’s chair and when he left he displayed for the cameras mail that he had stolen from her office. Another member of the president’s coup project grinned as he had under his arm the Speaker of the House’s podium. Yet another member of the treasonous mob sat in the Senate Chair of the President of the Senate…that had been occupied a few minutes prior by the Vice President of the United States. He wore horns on his head…and seemed at home in his capture of the Capitol and the fulfilling of the mission that the president had set him and others by his speech earlier that day.

Coddling of a plethora of lies has resulted in a precipice that our country in tottering on that leads to a very dark valley… Those that support sedition are often the first to suffer at the mercurial whims of the dictator and strongman and fascist that they supported to his ascendancy.

Appeasement does not placate a Cult Leader. It is impossible to genuflect enough to please every quickly changing emotion and manic whim of the precious leader. The most profound trick to pledging fealty to an all powerful leader is that rather than your freedom of thought and actin and deed…you have committed to the prison of performing the lies and conspiracy beliefs of your all too human…sick lord and master…

Another World

I read the other day that some quantum physicists have a new theory that life is merely a simulation and that nothing is real. Now isn’t that a ‘Fine kettle of fish?’ The new hypothesis caused me to think of a movie that I enjoyed a few years ago called ‘Another Earth.’ In the science fiction flick there appeared another planet on Earth’s horizon that looked just like Earth. The mirror Earth idea contained the ‘Broken Mirror, hypothesis that postulates that once your mirror double, on the other Earth learns about you the mirror is broken and that your synchronicity is altered. Brit Marling’s character, Rhoda, convinces, John, who’s family was killed when her car struck their car due to her being intoxicated, to take the ticket to Earth II that she won due to an essay that she had written. Rhoda believed that John’s family was still alive on Earth II.

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Indeed there is more that we do not understand than what we think that we know. For instance we are witnessing a complete break…almost down the middle of our nation…with what accepted truth is. One profound truth that I learned on my visits to Europe is that the United States is a very young country. I really did not understand the significance of this until I observed it in the context of my travels. Once you witness the magnificent stone work and castles and the quite splendor of Notre Dame…you understand that maybe we really do not know it all… In our hubris and for political expediency and to facilitate having an ongoing job that pays ‘good money’ some of us are all to willing to sideline truth for our pocketbook.

One of the most exhilarating and frightening times that I experienced was during my 5 years as the president of the Civil Service Council. I spoke with some boldness for my constituents, many who had no voice in University governance, and I feared the retribution of speaking truth to power. I believed that truth was uncompromising and that to lie or to obfuscate on behalf of the 2 thousand people that were counting on me…would be a primary cause of me not being able to face my reflection in the mirror. A world of winks and nods is not for me.

So this is our world…’the good the bad and the ugly.’ Each of our actions has an effect on someone. Cause and effect is real in this world. Kindness captivates the imagination and anger repels the spirit. Let us seek kindness…and trust that our mirror image on Earth II is doing the same…and the mirror has not been broken… At the conclusion of ‘Another Earth’ Rhoda sees her Earth II doppelgänger in front of her garage…and the screen goes dark…


The New Year has come to us with less fanfare that is customary and more hope that in recent history. I walked through the Campus Woods today and discovered that the Christmas ornaments have been removed…just as they should be. This is my first year in sometime that I have not constructed some New Year Resolutions. A return to normalcy would be nice. You know, normality is often undersold. Normalcy brings the sunrise each morning, and the sunset each evening. The monotonous of normalcy kept me returning to Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale for 32 years and 2 months and 3 weeks. We in the United States expect to remain the beacon of normalcy for aspiring democracies around the world. Democratic governments are decided by the will of the people and it has been said that, ‘people get the government that they deserve.’

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First Presbyterian Church @ Carbondale has taught me that nothing gets done unless you do it. In this life, ‘God’s hands truly are our own.’ The christian life is similar to what Albert Einstein said when asked how it felt to be a genius and he responded that, Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.’ If there are hungry in our town…we need to feed them. If there are homeless…we need to provide shelter for them. If there are young families that need diapers for their infants…we need to provide diapers for them. If there are people that have no washing machine to launder their clothing…we need to provide soap for the Laundromat and quarters to pay for the washing and drying of the clothes.

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So we require much from our New Year and a specific encouragement is that 3 vaccines are now approved. If things go as forecast the spring will bring many of us a jab in the arm…or maybe two. We will be able to return to the sweet fellowship of our family and friends! Travel is in our future! Our favorite restaurants are awaiting us… and for we retirees…a Tuesday afternoon movie! Theatre will return and the sound of singing will once again be heard in our land… Our Pandemic has taught us that some things are out of our hands…but many others are not.

2021 will bring us the success and happiness that we work toward. Many years ago I discovered that there is no magic inherent in the New Year. The magic is within each of us. We can be in the best year of our lives…if we believe…

Belief is vital to our stupendous 2021! Normalcy and hard work and dedication are components to out New Year…but equally as important is the magic of our faith! Faith is the fire in the boiler of our life’s furnace that keeps us seeking God’s will for our lives. Our guardian angel whispering in our ear…is our reason for living! Believing that there is something that is far greater than we are and someone that has the plan for our lives…is a comfort and a roadmap for a long life. Remember my senior citizen friends…we are. not old…we are vintage! 2021 is an open door leading to success and victories and happiness that we can only imagine! The New Year’s Horn of Plenty may ask us to step outside our comfort zone…or to reimagine a goal or a challenge…but then again isn’t that what makes life worth living?

The Longest Night

Fifty-nine degrees on the first day of winter. Very pleasant compared to what it could be…and will be in the future. The Winter Solstice marks the shortest night in the year. Contrary to what almost everyone says regarding being lovers of long days and short nights…I must disagree! I worked evenings and nights for much of my career. I became accustomed to life after the sun sets. It was an acquired taste… Several years ago when my step-father was alive we would visit he and my mom after Christmas and often stay a few days with them at their home in Eldorado, Illinois. About 2 or at the most 3 days after Christmas Earl would gaze longingly out of the kitchen window and announce that the days were getting longer… MJ would heartily agree with him…and they were happy.

Advent is here…and so we wait. We wait for the birth of the Christ child in the manger surrounded by the animals of the stable. Life has been very strange for us in 2020. I remember…almost like it was but a year ago…how excited that I was to be entering the year 2020! We had a trip to Maine planned for the Spring and in 2021 a trip to Edinburgh, Scotland. In January I recall hearing a small news item regarding a strange new virus in China that caused the government officials to lock down the town of Wuhan and it sounded very bad… There are illnesses across our globe…I did not visualize a pandemic. Life changed in sudden and dramatic and devastating ways…and we were not prepared. 319 thousand of our families and friends and neighbors have died of Covid-19. Over 3 thousand citizens are dying each day. Restaurants are closed accept for take-out…many small business have gone out of business…our church has not gathered in our building since March and it will probably be at least March 2021 before we are able to reconvene. So…we wait to receive our vaccine. We wait ‘For the peace of God that passes all understanding…’

We are each others answer to sadness and despair and depression. It has been abundantly clear to me that during our year of isolation that the popular American singer and actress, Barbara Streisand, was right when she sang, ‘People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.’

Pastor Kerry was reflecting on Joseph and Mary of the Christmas Story. When we see our Nativity sets or paintings of the birth of Jesus…we see a beatific Mary and a humble and quiet Joseph and we assume that their long journey by donkey and walking to Bethlehem… was like being on a cloud of glory and rapture. Mary was told that she would give birth to a son and to name him Jesus and that, ‘Don’t be afraid Mary. You have found favor with God. You will become pregnant, give birth to a son, and name him Jesus…’ The angel came to Joseph in a dream and explained to him that Mary was pregnant with the Son of God and that she was a chaste woman and that he should marry her. Mary and Joseph’s lives were disrupted and turned upside down! Life is not always simple!

There were more Christmas ornaments along the Campus Woods path, today. I have noticed that folks are now taking photographs of them and enjoying their hope and beauty. We are all taking more time to notice the splendor that we have been dropped into…as if from another world. When I see lovingly placed ornaments I think of the good will for all men that Charles Dickens spoke of in a Christmas Carol. The lovely smiles of others…which now I only see on Zoom due to the necessity of wearing a face mask, I see the happiness of Tiny Tim, who according to his father, sang louder than anyone else in the Christmas Service! When I see the bright visage of Santa Claus…and the ‘twinkle in his eye’…and the ‘smoke coming from his little pipe and encircling his head like a wreath…’ I see the little Laughing Santa of my youth and my happily turning the crank on his back and laughing along with him…at the joyous possibilities ahead for us…

Good News!

Darkness has clouded our horizon for much of 2020. I recall, as if it were yesterday, our church board meeting in the beginning of this year and voting to close our church to public meetings…perhaps until Easter. We had a May holiday planned to visit Maine…that in late February I thought we might be able to attend… We changed our Maine plans to September…and I felt fairly confident that it would be safe to fly to our favorite State by then! It has taken me sometime to realize, and for me to absorb the realization that we have never been in a situation like we are in…before 2020. I heard from friends and family that we had very little Covid-19 in our rural areas of Southern Illinois. It was a popular question for virus deniers to inquire, ‘Do you know anyone that has Covid-19?’ This was early on…things have changed! But, now the first vaccines are being given in the United States and the beginning of the end of our terrible scourge is here!

I keep a close eye on the United Kingdom. We have spent sometime there in the past few years. London has been moved to their Tier 3, which is the strictest of their lockdown policies surrounding the pandemic. The UK was the first to approve the Pfizer vaccine and they are currently inoculating their aged residents and frontline hospital workers. There is now a clear light at the end of our coronavirus tunnel!

Christmas time is bringing a wonderful gift to the human family! It is said that the Christmas Star is visible for the first time in 100’s of years. I have been humbled and amazed and silent in the face of an unprecedented outpouring of love and support as we humans reach out to help our brothers and sisters! The health care worker and frontline essential workers in our country are inspirational!

Time is most valuable! Over the past 10 years of retirement I have looked back, often, at what has been a wonderful life and yet with road bumps and challenges all along the path. The gift of life and its manifold blessings is something that has dawned on me as each year quickly passes by. When I was young I worried on a regular basis that I must seek available promotions and work diligently in my endeavor to ensure that I would keep my career going… with Southern Illinois University@ Carbondale. Having lived in mean and rough circumstances it was of paramount importance to guarantee that MJ and Aaron and Jonathon…did not have to experience some of the challenges that I had seen… A friend told me…late in my career…that she had discovered my secret for success…and that was that I utilized being underestimated to my advantage. She ‘hit the nail on the head’ as I often likened myself to the television detective, Columbo, who wore the rumpled raincoat and appeared to be somewhat bumbling and perhaps cluless and a bit of a rambling speaker…until he revealed, at the end of each weeks hour long broadcast, his solving of the case!

Remarkable challenges have faced us during 2020! Our scientist and epidemiologist and Dr. Anthony Fauci were not wrong regarding the virus…their herculean dedication has proven to save many lives! We have survived thus far and we will continue to meet the challenges of the coronavirus until it is no longer a threat!

Christmas is a specific season on our calendar. Advent is specified on our church calendar. We bring the fir and pine trees into our homes and decorate them with brightly colored ornaments. Brilliantly wrapped gifts are the order of the festive season…and children’s eyes are all aglow with the wonder and delight of expectations regarding what good thing is going to come next… The Christmas Tree and the wonderful gifts and the good will and love…are all simply physical manifestations of the hope that lives in our hearts! Let this Christmas joy keep us safe throughout 2021 and reveal to us the limited time that we all have on this earth…and the good that we can do for our fellow human beings…

The Abduction of Christmas!

Two weeks before Christmas had finally arrived! Parker woke up to her dreams of the numerous colorfully wrapped gifts that were under her Christmas tree. It was a nine foot live fir tree and she and her father and brother and sister had hiked into the woods to cut it down and drag it to their staton wagon and tie it on top of the car and divert the ropes through the open windows for additional security. There was six feet of snow and it had been a laborious trek to the tree! They had placed it in their large living room and still had to saw the top off of it to fit it under the the roof. Parker had planned on a rendezvous with Porter and Chet to facilitate their mission from Santa Claus and his wife, CC, to endeavor to raise the holiday spirits of their little town… Chet had mentioned that the 14 foot tall and 3 dimensional Santa Claus that customarily stood in front of the bank was suspiciously absent and that this missing Santa icon had never been absent 2 weeks before Christmas! Porter said, ‘I was with my mom earlier and as we drove through Eldorado…there were no Christmas decorations!’ Now Eldorado had some lovely holiday regalia! There were customarily brilliant city decorations that were fastened to light posts at both sides of the Main Street and stretched across the avenue. Now…there were none…

Parker remembered that in class today the bulletin boards in their 3rd grade classroom had been stripped bare of their Christmas Crafts that they had lovingly decorated them with! Chet said in a somber and deep voice, ‘Someone is attempting to abduct Christmas…’ ‘Well…I am sure that the Christmas movie at the Orpheum Theatre will run as normal and I saw the Lion’s Club park their vans near the front entrance…with the Christmas Baskets for all of us kids!’

Saturday morning arrived and Parker and Porter and Chet made their way to the 9:00 AM showing of Charles Dickens famous holiday novel…’A Christmas Carol.’ The Theatre was full and all of Eldorado’s youth who were craning their necks to see where the Christmas Baskets were being staged for delivery immediately after the movie. The lights were dimmed and the movie began…’Frankenstein!’ Parker proclaimed, ‘Something is terribly wrong!’ As the kids sat through Frankenstein…as it was a Halloween favorite…they anticipated the precious Christmas Baskets that would be full and brimming over with Christmas candy and nuts and fruit and a Superman Soakie or a Barbie Doll… As they filed out into the lobby…there were men in rough clothes with no smiles on their faces and their hats had emblazoned on them…Liars Club! They handed a course cloth bag with one word affixed to the material…Coal… When they looked in disbelief they noticed that John…the proprietor of the Orpheum and his wife, Delores, who took the ticket money and handed each person a ticket, were laughing hysterically…and their eyes were maniac and cruel…

Chet said, ‘We must go back to the North Pole and ask Santa what we should do to fight this terrible populist wrong…’ And with Chet’s proclamation…the three of them were back at Santa’s workshop! Santa invited the forlorn children to sit down and had Elvira the elf to bring them some hot chocolate with marshmallows. He told them that what they had experienced in Eldorado was happening all over the world. People had lost hope…and hope was what Christmas was created from. Their political leaders and many of their religious leaders had told the people lies that were designed to enrich them…with little or no thought as to what the lies would do to the poor people who placed their trust in the wolves in sheep clothing. Suddenly the old ways, that the majority of humanity believed were the best ways…were being discarded for the words of Con men and women! The ideas that build the United States America were now thought to be shop-worn and archaic. The precepts of compromise for the betterment of all…which the Constitution was founded upon…were considered weak and ineffectual…power equaled strength for the privileged and the weak…were losers… CC spoke up, ‘You see Parker and Porter and Chet…Santa and I really need you to restore confidence in the hope and unity of humanity…without that…we are all lost and the best of us…will disappear!’