My intention for today’s column was to start a tradition and publish for a second time my light-hearted Christmas story "buns up" Jesus. If only life was that simple.
As I started to type a cheery introduction, my big sister Sue Charette took a quick turn for the worse in her battle with cancer and was being admitted to Angela Hospice. On the same day, I learned that longtime friend Rick Calverley was beginning home hospice as his cancer battle was also ending.
Rick and Sue passed away within hours of each other last week. I am heartbroken.
With both coming from big families, you could feel the ache resonate from Royal Oak to Loon Lake, Mackinac Island to Bass Lake and everywhere in between where Sue and Rick had friends and family. Like all of us who survive the inevitability of a loved one passing on, we grab onto each other, we weep and then the stories start. Then we start to laugh. With Rick and Sue, it was easy to start the laughter. Both had a big sense of humor and even bigger laughs.
Through the tears and laughter, I offer my heartfelt sympathy to all of us who have lost a loved one this season or seasons past. I offer my deep condolences to the Calverley family and the love of Rick’s life, Lois, and his beloved children Kristen and Rick. Rick Calverely was a fine man and liked by all who met him. I’ll miss you, Ricky.
I only have one big sister and she’s gone now, but always remembered in our hearts and by her dear daughter Rachel and adored granddaughter Emeline, who are the patch to our family’s broken heart.
Now where is the laughter?
Well, I decided to go with tradition and run with the Christmas story anyway. The laugh is pretty much on me and besides, my sister Sue is in the story when she was 10 years old. And I can conjure up a vision of Rick and his big smile at the Elks Club, or the Hale Bar and that can’t help but start the stories and the laughs rolling.
Yes, it’s Monday and more than ever: Let’s go!
Buns up Jesus
Here's an excerpt from one of my favorite Christmas stories:
I hit the big leagues of church when I was in second grade at St. Mary's Elementary. I was picked for the big honor of delivering the Baby Jesus to the manger and crèche at Christmas Eve Midnight Mass.
So, I found myself at the back of the church in the middle of the procession filled with priests, deacons and heavy tithers at 11:59 p.m. on a Tuesday night, Dec. 24, 1960. I was 7 years old and had never stayed up past 9 p.m. Tired and cranky, I still knew this was the big time. Dressed up in a mini-altar boy cassock and with the Son of God in my arms, I'm pretty sure this is where my ego met my id. We entered the church at the stroke of midnight with the steeple bells answering the choir. Sister Dennis Margaret, my second grade teacher and patron, patted me on my brush-cut head and the procession began.
Gerry Boylan is the author of two books, Getting There, a novel, and Gerry Tales, a collection of short stories. Both books are available at Amazon.com. In addition, they are available for download for Kindle and Nook at Smashwords.com, Amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com. You can also pick up both books at the Yellow Door Art Market in Berkley.