Xmas-tree-1BAYTOWN, TEX – I am home in Texas visiting family and friends. We (me and the kids) also stopped in Louisiana to see their grandmother. While there I got a chance to visit with my friend Jerome.

I caught Jerome in Metairie, La. getting a blood transfusion. He has been battling cancer in 2011. He says he is ready for this year to be over, and he’s wiping it from his memory.

He was in good spirits. I stayed with him for a few hours and reminisced about old times; navy days in New Orleans, Italy, Russia,  and the Black Sea. I hope I was able to cheer him up a little.

Here in Texas one of my best friends has been recovering from a pretty bad stroke. I saw Bob this afternoon. He’s still sharp as a tack and seemed in good spirits. His sister Teri and her daughter Hannah were there, and also his dad. We had a good visit for a couple of hours. We also did a lot of reminiscing and we laughed as hard as we ever did in the past.

It was good to see both of my friends. Both of them have influenced my life a great deal. They are both strong,  and both grounded in their faith in God. It is not because of their respective illnesses. They were strong in the faith long before these attacks against their physical bodies. It is their faith that has sustained them.

All of us are musicians. Jerome was in the Navy Band with me and Bob was in my high school band. In high school, there were a lot of us that hung out together and it was the same with the Navy. Strong friendships and bonds have been made. It’s amazing how it all comes back when we get together.

Well, tomorrow is Christmas and I will be spending it with my family. I haven’t spent Christmas at home in a very long time. Mom has already begun the cooking. I can’t wait til tomorrow. I’m sure that it will be just as easy to reconnect with cousins, aunts, uncles, sisters, and brothers, like my friends. We have always had a good time when were are all together.

There will be lots of eating and visiting. It will probably last until about 9 pm. And every cousin, aunt, and uncle will come by my moms. And we will also make the rounds as well. We make the rounds to exchange gifts, sample food, and visit those we haven’t seen in a while.

We will all be exhausted when it’s over. I like the Christmas season. It will not be about gifts this year. Finances are stretched thin. But it will be a fine holiday because we are all together.

Merry Christmas everyone.