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"About Family, Christmas… and Life in General"

Hello, my friends.

I'm writing this on the first Monday after Thanksgiving.Yesterday was November 27th, my mother's birthday.She would have been 74, I think.We lost her suddenly in 1972… a long time ago.­

I haven't thought much about my mother since she died - I'm not sure why.She was a really good mother - an excellent one, I'd say.Like most mothers, she lived for her family.Awhile back, my dad gave me some letters she sent me when I was at Rose-Hulman in 1970-71, in the old days when people still wrote letters by hand, and tried not to make long-distance phone calls because it cost too much.I'd forgotten about those letters, but they mean a lot to me now.Reading them again after 35 years, I can still feel the love.

Thanksgiving was good.Both kids made it home from college, and we got to spend some time together as a family, which meant a lot to Mary Sue.She's a really good mother, too - an excellent one, I'd say.She lives for her family.Mothers hold families together.

So now, it's onward to Christmas.Regardless of what you believe, or whether or not you're religious, there's a lot to be said for Christmas.Some people say it's about Christ, some say it's about the children, and some think it's just a pain in the neck.But for me, it's mostly about the good things, like peace, love, and forgiveness.All Christmas movies have happy endings, even if they do make us cry.I always watch Jimmy Stewart in "It's A Wonderful Life" once or twice in December (our friend Patty bought me my own copy), and I've yet to reach the end without getting all watery-eyed.

The "good guys always win" at Christmas time.And the music… I love Christmas music.So many of the songs have that special combination of sadness and hope that really gets to me.If you wanna make me happy, just give me a good sad song.

If Thanksgiving is about giving thanks, then I guess we could say that Christmas is about just giving.I have to honestly say that spiritually, I don't seem to fit into anyone's categories or definitions but my own, but I have given the subject quite a bit of honest contemplation, and here's my 5 word summary of the Christmas spirit:

1. Love God.

2. Love each other.

Not easy, but certainly simple, and worth shooting for.You might say he laid out a pretty clear path.And I'll bet if we could come close to following it, really following it, our mommas would all be proud.

Wishing you health, happiness and peace,

Dr. Frank Bowling

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