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The day is nearly over. Not a typical Christmas Eve around these parts; there is no snow in Snowville and 50 degree days belong in Florida this time of year.

Today is my favorite day of the year. The hustle and bustle is finished both in my work world and the personal one. The gifts are wrapped and slipped beneath our wonderful tree as we await Santa's visit down our chimney. It's easier in our present home for Saint Nicholas as we have a real chimney to slide down.

But on this night my thoughts turn to My Beloved. This night belongs to her as well. She is the engine that turns our world, that makes this house a home for both myself and our little boy. It is her touch, her imprint, her love for us that wraps our world in a cozy blanket of warmth.

This year has been difficult as I have been away in the working world more so than nearly any year of our marriage. She has taken the challenge to keep our world from tilting on its axis. Through little league baseball games to fifth grade projects to caring for her aging mother, My Beloved has shown the world how strong she is, how caring, and wrapped that with love for everyone she touches.

When I kneel this night on Christmas Eve I realize that everything I could ever pray for on this day I already have. Trinkets and bobbles and tinsel and lights fade in comparison to who I walk beside each day of my life.

So this is my Christmas card to you this year, My Beloved, for you give me the gift of Christmas every day of the year.

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There's an old saying; you can't go home again.

Well, what does that really mean? I'm sure most people think it's about moving back into your parents home or revisiting family after a long absence and expecting, or at least hoping everything would be just like it used to be. I suppose that's one way to look at it.

I'm sure there are other scenarios that come to mind for many. I also think there are those who don't want to revisit 'home' or their past lives whether it refers to family or not. Perhaps that's why home isn't a place to revisit.

For me it takes on a different aspect. I've never been one to be tied to places or things. I've lived in several houses from childhood to adulthood. All of them have been 'home', but I don't have a longing to return to a specific place. It's like things, I'm not tied to specific things or items like personal belongings or cars. I simply don't wrap my identity around the tangible world. Houses are not my home, people from my past are my home.

I don't think that has ever been driven 'home' to me more so than it has recently. Although I have long time friends from school that I haven't seen in years there are several I could sit down with and have a conversation like I saw them a week ago. But I didn't grow up around them. We lived sort of off on our own from my school friends. None of them lived in my neighborhood. There, I had another group, two specifically that were like family and in the last month or so I have had the chance to reconnect with one of them.

Billy. I haven't seen him in years. We lost track of each other at some point in high school. He went off to the closest public school and I off to the Catholic school. Recently through the magic of Facebook we have been able to reconnect. To me, even though we are older, wiser and both grandfathers, it's almost like we were never away from each other. I can still hear his infectious laugh. Back in those days there were few times we weren't around each other. We rode our bicycles all over the place. We'd ride for miles and miles away from home even into surrounding suburbs. In those days no kid would have worn a helmet and our parents 'kinda' knew where we were...sort of. We ate meals at each other's home and slept out in tents in the back yard. Gee, no mischief to get into doing that.

We are different people than we were back in those days, obviously, our childhood up to early teen years. He is a successful entrepreneur who has built his own company and lives in a big city on the east coast. I live near where I grew up and have lived a comfortable life. There is one characteristic that I haven't mentioned; Billy is a Black man and I am a White man. Guess what, we were Black and White back then too. His was the first Black family that I can remember to move into our neighborhood. That was a shock to many who lived on the block and I'm sure his family felt the sting of that reality more than he ever recounted to me.

But that single fact never affected our friendship. We were nearly brothers for those years and reconnecting with him after all this time is really the point of this ramble. Some day we will get together, I have no doubt of that and when we do I know we'll be able to pick up a conversation like we saw each other two weeks ago.

My parents are long ago deceased and I miss them dearly, but to me, that is what it means to me to go home again.

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I follow sports, multiple ones but my passion for viewing is college football. To me there is nothing like it; the rivalries, the passion, the events themselves. Although I have a favorite college team O H - I O, I can still watch games from around the country. Most hold my interest. I'd much rather watch two college teams I have no heavy connection to than most pro games.

Today, a rare Saturday off from my job and the Buckeyes having to play the notorious 'Bye' team I was able to settle in and watch the Oklahoma vs Texas Red River Shootout. The problem here is most people no longer call it that. In this world's climate of PC correctness, the RR Shootout is now called the RR Showdown. It's been call the Shootout for many years and is a fierce rivalry, so much so that before today's game even started the referees threw a penalty flag for unsportmanlike conduct on both teams...yeah, they can do that.

Somewhere in this whacked society the term shootout has become offensive to a group of people and their heightened and pathetic sensitivity has even invaded college football. I'm sorry to tell you PC people that I will never refer to it as that. Gee, you're offended...too damn bad. You have now disrespected (usually I hate that term) the life of the cowboy and the western culture. PC people want to have all cultures respected but in your zealousness to make everyone think the way you do you have now trampled on the toes of the culture that moved this country west. That's not being very inclusive, PC people. There is nothing wrong with the term shootout. It is a heritage, not something you can just wash away from history like you try to do with every other historical terms you disagree with.

College football has a history all its own, good and bad like nearly everything else. Though I root for a different team and conference, some things should be left alone. Oklahoma vs Texas football will always be the Red River Shootout.

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