I remain comforted, even in this time of diversity, confirming that NO, I don’t celebrate Christmas. (Offense unintended, of course, to the myriad of well-wishing friends who, knowing full well I’m Jewish, still feel compelled to ask “What are you doing for Christmas? A few have even asked over the years “Does that mean you don’t have a tree?”).

Ah…Yuletide memories…

At Rowland our fifth grade choir learned carols. Moreover, they had us sing them in concert at Brush High’s cafeteria. I found it exciting, actually—being in the big school, and all. It remains, however, my earliest notice of our Dad’s lip puffing in anger. Indeed, it would have hit another zip code if they’d had them then.

Christmas then meant vacation—no more, no less. Oh, we might go to May’s-On-The-Heights, (nka Macy’s), where in the basement, adjacent to the Toy Department, sat Santa. (Our cousin Gary met him once—I saw the picture—but Hal and I: never!) No, but for the perch also abutting the cafeteria, I’d have never seen St. Nick.

A few years later, another memory: with Wido, identifying three Browns singing “Jingle Bells”. Still, our prize, 40-yard line seats for the NFL title game, stands more as a football story than as holiday lore.

Come to think of it, it’s always been football. Like in ‘71, the day of the Dolphins-Chief’s overtime playoff game. We were in Stamford, Connecticut…me, with a bunch my soon-to-be relatives … for a cousin’s Bar Mitzvah. They’d housed me with Cousin Howard (then “golden boy” to the clan), which I’d figured meant they liked me. Most will recall that as the day they played the longest game in history. Me? I think back, rather, to locking my future sister-in-law out on a landing, in only her bra and panties.

The best non-Christmas Christmas flashback perhaps, came one year later. The 25th was a Monday, and for the first time ever this cowboy woke up a non-virgin. It was the morning after my Passaic wedding to The Jersey Girl, (and…I don’t want to speak to the karma, but as Walt was witnessing the k’tuba room in the back, my ushers were up front in a coatroom watching the Browns blow a playoff game to the Dolphins). Was I excited that night? Well…let’s just there’s more than one meaning to the phrase “two minute drill”.

And that is it. Forty years later, twenty years (19) past the Browns last serious playoff run, the day’s just an off-day. The weather gets cold and the restaurants close. My kids, gone, may call, ‘cause we all have cells.

I left work early Tueday, the world closing down. Home I went, to Carrie—and the next day off.

I’m lucky, frankly. Very lucky.  I’ve learned, after all these years.  I’ve learned that if nothing else:  each day we wake is a holiday.

So I celebrate.

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