Farewell Sassabeana

Sassy LoConti crossed the rainbow bridge on Christmas Day 2012.  She was a brave little girl who survived Katrina while pregnant with five pups.  She gave birth at a kill shelter in Georgia but was rescued, pups and all, by Ruth and adopted into the LoConti family along with one of two surviving pups, Tootsie.

She had three or four bouts of cancer and her Dadda took good care of her even if it meant a huge financial sacrifice.  She did the best three legged walk after each surgery, ever.  She damn near killed me when she took off after a loud mouth duck at the Manse Barn pond because I was too stupid to let go of the leash.  Yeah one day before leaving for the Cape I slammed down on my shoulder.  She came over to me and just licked my face, making it all right.

I knew I couldn’t take you with me but I never once thought you could be in any better hands than with your Dadda.  You needed each other and you took good care of each other.  Never did I forget you, never will I forget you.  Go in peace little girl, your fight is over, now you can rest.

Les Mis

We have long ago forgone the extravagant gifts at Christmas for time together.  We realize the significance of time more than most so my sister’s gift to me for Christmas was two hours and thirty eight minutes of Les Miserables, the movie.  Yeah, us and all the Jews.  They, who relish the movies on Christmas Day, were none too happy that we were invading their bastion of tradition in droves.  To the point of sold out showings, everywhere.

My sister went early to get the tickets.  She knows I am a fan.  Don’t think the folly of the hundreds spent on seeing this show four times on Broadway is lost on me.  I don’t care.  Each time I saw it I was moved to tears and brought to my feet as if it was the first time.  So expectations were high, well not so much as the trailer and the coming attractions and commercials brought goose bumps and welling in advance.

I could not have had a better seat, last row, and last seat all the way to the right of the screen.  No one in front of me and several fans in the same row.  Make no mistake this is a movie for fans.  The reviews have been mixed but the fans turned out in record numbers for an opening showing…on Christmas Day.

Tom Hooper’s direction is fabulous, his innovation in recording the singing live while filming is perfect even if all the notes aren’t, yes Russell we’re talking to you but who the hell would expect Javert to be able to sing anyway.  I love Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, and Ann Hathaway’s one take wonder of “I Dreamed a Dream” started everyone down the path of smeared mascara and sniffing.  I didn’t risk tissues for this movie but had a trusty faded bandana to weep and snivel into, so clever am I.

Yes, that was Colm Wilkinson as the priest who saves Jean Valjean from going back to prison.  He is my all-time favorite Jean Valjean, ever. And I did see him (twice) on Broadway, so the nuance of him setting Jean Valjean on the path of righteousness was a brilliant cameo pick in my mind.  Too much, have I said who cares enough yet?

I thought the casting was perfect, each bringing their acting/singing abilities with them toward a musical as much acted as sung.  I love the firsts, the technology, the live singing, and the true to the original feel of a movie make of a beloved Broadway show.

To say I was a mess at the end of this movie is an understatement.  My bandana could be wrung out. Whatever the critics say the hell with them.  The audience applauded the finale, and I must say I didn’t know how Tom was going to get Hugh into the final number from…well you know, but he did.  I loved this movie, I loved sitting in a dark theater knowing my sister was right next to me, keeping an eye on me as I brushed the tears away.  I will own this movie and watch it over and over finding something new to love each time including the memory of a Christmas spent with my sister.




Fall on Your Knees

When I hear that line from the Christmas carol Holy Night it sticks in my throat every time.  I cannot sing that line for the emotion it brings no matter what language I hear it in it still overwhelms me.

So I’ll let Andrea Bocelli sing it for you and we can be a mess together.


Merry Christmas I wish you all the blessings of the season and even more in the New Year..

You Can Wish Me

I think of you every time I wish someone Merry Christmas he said. Thanks I said but I knew where this was going.  He had launched a campaign to wish everyone a Merry Christmas instead of letting the words Happy Holidays pass his lips. This from a faithful church going had lifesaving open heart surgery, second chance at life man who I think of as one of the nicest human beings I know…and who still owes me a glass of red and a co-written blog post.

He thinks of me because I’m ok with Happy Holidays, you can wish me Happy Holidays and I appreciate that you wish me well.  I’m no longer under the illusion that everyone celebrates Christmas.  I don’t presume to know everyone’s faith or what they believe in if they believe in anything.  I don’t push my faith on others and I don’t want them to push their faith on me.  Fact is I thought my faith was faltering for a long time but it wasn’t faith I was questioning it was religion and its rigidity and exclusivity and non-inclusiveness that was in question.  As I always say, “God ain’t mad at me, I’m doing good work”.

I am blessed to know and love many different kinds of people these days.  I’m no longer cocooned in a world of “my people” the way I was when I was growing up.  Things have changed, for the better in my opinion, when I can learn from different faiths and ethnicities and respect and love them just the same as if they were “going about with Merry Christmas on their lips”.

I love this season.  I didn’t always but my world has changed drastically and continues to change as I move through it with altered vision and perspective.  The more I look around the more I see the similarities and less I see the differences.  So if saying Happy Holidays is offensive to you I suggest you look at your valued collection of friends and colleagues and see if they might appreciate hearing that instead of Merry Christmas.  If Happy Holidays screams liberalism to you then perhaps you might want to step out of the political ring and into the town you live in where we help each other and say hello with full hearts every day.

Not acknowledging how diverse our towns, states and country has become is limiting yourself to the “old ways” that were none too happy for our ancestors who came from somewhere else and made a difference in our lives. Surely we’ve come farther than that.  Happy Holidays is a celebratory cry out for and from those who have embraced this country with their own traditions and love of freedom.

Open that now perfect heart my friend and see that you are surrounded by people who are living and loving this country and this season as much as you think you do.