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It’s appropriate, but probably not welcome

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FromEditorsDesk TonySitting in a car for hours listening to Christmas tunes can leave a person nostalgic for Andy Williams, Perry Como and Guy Lombardo …

“Welcome, welcome, welcome to the Christmas Carol Cavalcade, this year specifically geared with loving, regional acceptable truisms for the area.

This year’s offerings are presented by the “We’re Not Gettin’ Paid, So Back Off” singers, culled from your hometowns and forced, er, assembled here for your listening pleasure.

No, this concert is free, but a love donation will be taken in the form of not rioting.

OK. Here’s our first offering: 

Oh, the weather outside is spiteful

But the AC is so delightful

Keep the electricity on, you know

So don’t let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

The drivers can’t stay on the road

Even in a little rain

Then they slide off to the side

And in the ditch they remain …

Thank you, fan, tomatoes are a fine source of iron. Next up is a favorite of the tenors, and I hope it’s one of yours.

I really can’t go (baby it’s hot outside)

It’s humid, you know (baby it’s hot outside)

It’s 80 degrees (waddaya want from me)

Turn on the AC (geez, the bills) …

We appreciate all the support, and lettuce is a good source for fiber in a diet. The horn section likes this one.

O Holy Christ, this bike won’t go together

There’s all these parts, and instructions are in Chinese.

I’ve had too much beer, and my vision is kinda blurry

The dollhouse broke, and the tree just fell over …

All we need is bacon and we’ve got sandwiches for the road! Our next piece is a personal favorite of the bus driver.

Last Christmas … NOOOO OOOOOOOOOO!

OK! Looks like someone is playing Whamaggeddon, so we’ll just move on. This one goes out to all the folks at PETA.

We fish ewe a mare egrets moose

panda hippo gnu deer.

For those of you left, please remember to buy our CD, which will be out on 8-track sometime in the next decade.”

Just a little levity for a holiday that is all about the love and gift of giving. All of us at easttexasnews.com wish you marey marey egrets moose and a hippo new deer.

Tony Farkas is editor of the San Jacinto News-Times. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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The best Christmas gift is time

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Columnist Tom PurcellOur time is the best gift we can give to our friends and family this Christmas. 

Nobody knows how much time we have on Earth — nobody knows when our time will end. We all have friends and loved ones who were claimed way too early.

Hopefully, you are blessed, as my family has been, to have loved ones who have lived long and fruitful lives.

Such family members have an abundance of wisdom to share — wisdom cultivated over time. I particularly enjoy the pearls of humorous wisdom my 88-year-old father has shared:

“Getting old ain’t for cowards!”

“At my age, never buy green bananas.”

“When life serves you a lemon, make lemonade — but crack open a Pabst Blue Ribbon first.”

My mother has long been a source of positive energy, hope and inspiration. She is forever forging ahead, forever looking for a silver lining.

So many times as a child — and later as an adult — she corrected me when I got lost in the moodiness of my self-perceived failures and pushed me to keep on going.

Life is hard for everyone at times. It is not easy to maintain my mother’s stubbornly positive mindset, but she powers on, demanding the rest of us to do likewise.

Hopefully, your extended family is also as equally blessed as mine is by young family members who offer their own kind of innocent wisdom.

Children are filled with a natural sense of wonder, joy and hope. They especially love visiting Grandma and Grandpa — my Mom and Dad.

That makes perfect sense to me. Kids and old folks have a natural connection. It’s those of us in the middle of time — from our teens up through middle age — who are caught up in the seriousness of a worldly world.

It’s easy to fall into the trap so many of us are stuck in. We seek success, praise, financial security, nicer houses and more and more stuff.

What we don’t see is that while the youngest and the oldest members of our families spend their time on wonder, hope and laughter we are wasting too much of our precious time on acquiring worldly things.

Nobody ever said on his deathbed, as the old humorous saying goes, “I wish I’d spent more time at the office!”

According to Lifehack, here are some other common deathbed regrets:

- “I wish I had kept on going.”  Refer to my mother’s guidance, above, on how to avoid having this regret.

- “I wish I told others how much I love them.” Add to this, “I wish I’d spent more time with those I love.”

- “I wish I had laughed it off.” This third regret is particularly helpful now, as so many of us are so angry constantly about politics and other matters that, in the end, are not deserving of the high importance we have granted them.

The Christmas season is upon us and time is the very best gift we can give.

Rather than material goods or money, why not write up a series of IOUTs (I owe you time) to give to others:

- I’ll make you your favorite dinner.

- I’ll help you clean your gutters twice a year, then join you for tea.

- I’ll go walking with you once every week.

Our time is priceless. This Christmas let’s share it like the fleeting treasure that it is.

Tom Purcell is an author and humor columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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A Blue Christmas for many

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MeditationsAndMusingsThe term “holiday blues,” or the idea that this time of year can be depressing for many, has become a socially acceptable construct within a culture that, typically, is not that honest about mental health issues.

Aside from the sturm-und-drang many people face of making appearances at holiday celebrations and covering all the bases with regard to gift-giving, many are lonely this time of year. In a time full of gatherings with large and wonderful families seemingly everywhere, for many, it can be an outside-looking-in sort of proposition.

Of the many holidays celebrated this season around the world, Christmas is the most traditionally family-oriented of those, and so many folks have empty chairs in their homes. I am one of those.

This year I have much to celebrate and a multitude of blessings for which to be thankful, but unfortunately, some of the burdens that have haunted me have reduced my cheer and drive to do much of anything. Like that old song goes, it’s as if my get up and go got up and went.

Grief is ever-present and something no human is immune to. There’s no one way to “deal” with it, despite whatever pop-psychology hogwash on television or in big-selling self-help tomes tell us. We’re all wired differently.

Near the beginning of this festive month, I found myself feeling in a funk and could not deduce why. The night those blues began to set in, I figured it out. 

There are dates on the calendar that haunt us all. Some call them “heaven dates,” those anniversaries of those who’ve passed on. That day was the sixth anniversary of my grandfather’s passing.

Two-thousand and fifteen was a humdinger of a year, personally, in terms of losses. I lost several friends; a mentor figure and at the year’s end my grandfather. 

By and large, looking back, I’d been numbed to loss by that point, but still, I know a lot of what I used to be disappeared in the wake of his passing. 

The great Guy Clark, who was a musical favorite of my grandfather, and who passed away, himself, the next year after, wrote a tribute to his father titled “The Randall Knife.” The lyrics deal with the passing of time and finding just the right tears to mourn his father, years after his passing.

I’m still feeling those blues, and not really looking that forward to Christmas, but I was finally able to get some solace in remembering my lost loved one. 

You see, the day after he passed, I witnessed a most beautiful sunset, probably the most striking display of such I’ve ever witnessed, westbound on 287. I’d like to think my grandfather had something to do with that. Anyhow, in the years since, I’ve needed to write about that sunset, and did not realize how much I needed to do so.

It was a healing exercise, and I would like to share the resulting words with you, gentle readers.

Your Sunset

Early December,

when those pines’ve shed their clothes;

the brilliant show 

of red-into-orange, tempered with yellow,

doesn’t just whisper through the bare branches –

it screams.

It was like a belly laugh

you committed to one of your own corny jokes,

of which I thought there’d still be an ample supply.

We always think that,

turning away the inevitability of an ending.

The punchline never seems within the realm of reason,

but to everything there is a season.

Merry Christmas and happy rest of the holiday season to everyone. Whether you are spending these days of celebration with a large and wonderful family or by your lonesome, there is always some reason to be cheerful.

Remember those who are not with you any longer, but also, remember to celebrate those who are still here and able to talk, laugh and enjoy this time with you.

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We’ve got Christmas spirit, how ‘bout you?

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FromEditorsDesk TonyThe turkey has been decimated, we’ve stuffed ourselves with stuffing, we’re pie-eyed from pumpkin pie, and Dallas, once again, surprised nobody by losing to the Raiders, albeit it was in overtime.

Now it’s time to move on to the next phase of the holidays, which of course means parades.

There are groups of people in every town, especially in our neck of the woods, whose mission is to make things as festive and home-town proud as possible. Here in the wilds of San Jac, the Shepherd and Coldspring chambers will be doing just that over the next two weeks.

First up, Shepherd, which will present a day of fun and festivities, capped off by a parade of lights. Then, Coldspring will have the Square of vendors, events, to be capped off by a parade of lights.

Aside from the obvious, which is the celebration of Christmas and the birth of Jesus, these celebrations remind us, especially in these times when it’s all COVID all the time, that we are a community, and we are our best selves when we do things together.

•Filing for candidacy for state, district or county offices opened on Nov. 13, and will end Dec. 13, or in 11 days.

There are gobs of things that go into qualifying for a seat on a panel, but for me, the biggest question and qualification there is happens to be internal: Are you happy?

I realize that question is kind of vague, but it can be fleshed out in many different ways. When it comes to elections, it could mean with the county’s direction, or the state’s finances, or education, or roads, or insert your own concern here. 

I’ve mentioned before that there is really only one correct way to make changes in the status quo, and that is through elections. First and foremost, is throwing yourself out there. It’s one thing to complain about those ruts in the roads that the county never seems able to fix; it’s another to actually get out and fix them. Which would get the fastest results, do you think?

If holding office is not your thing, that’s fine. The other side of that coin is voting, which in and of itself is fine, but if you are passionate about change, and find a candidate that fills the bill, become a volunteer.

The more apathetic the voting public becomes, the freer the power that be are to usurp liberty. So become the solution you want to see.

•The return of the Christmas season also means the return of Christmas entertainment. 

My personal favorite for top Christmas carol ever is “O Holy Night.” There’s not a definitive version I feel is tops; it’s one that encapsulates the reason for the season best. 

I also feel deeply and passionately that those songs by Wham! and Mariah Carey must never be played. They’re so lifeless — insipid screeds of whining about me me me and forgetting what this time of year means.

On the television front, nothing can compare to “Rudolph” in its glorious stop-motion color, and the animated version of the Grinch, with the inimitable Thurl Ravencroft singing the theme song. “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is another fave. The reason I believe is simple: the themes of these are timeless — brotherhood, family, love, sharing.

My ultimate go-to movie is “The Bishop’s Wife,” with David Niven and Cary Grant, followed by “The Bells of St. Mary’s” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I can live without “A Christmas Story” for two reasons: that 24-hour marathon every year, and that the villain of the piece has the same last name as me. I heartily recommend watching these. You’ll catch yourselves smiling. I promise.

Tony Farkas is editor of the Trinity County News-Standard. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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