The Best Christmas Present Ever

December 25, 2016

Driving home a barren country road early in the evening twenty-one years ago from the local village market, it was a cold, clear night. Rounding a sharp curve, one very bright star caught my eye. Knowing very well that this star was a planet, most likely Venus, however I could not help but be reminded of the Star of Bethlehem, lighting the way for the three Wise Men to find their way to Bethlehem, to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. It was Christmas Eve after all.

Two months earlier, life as I knew it ended quite suddenly, an accumulation of related events that cost me both my promising career and marriage. When you combine that with the medical crisis that nearly cost me my life, suffering still from several side effects to this day, I paid dearly for my youthful indiscretion. A payment I make every single day, and will until the day I die. Having renovated the farmhouse prior to moving in five years earlier, the first thing I did when the family moved out was to redecorate, removing any signs that a very troubled marriage once lived there.

I had spent Christmas Eve hanging new mini blinds, after recently painting the two front rooms, color coordinating both living rooms, one a light green, the other light blue. I had no problem hanging the blinds in the green room, however, when I got to the blue room, I needed a really small drill bit, but could not find one. By the time I realized I did not have the bit needed to finish the job, I knew the local hardware store (different village in the opposite direction, but the same five-mile distance away) would be closed on a normal workday, let alone Christmas Eve.

After renovating the farmhouse before moving in, and during the entire twelve years I lived there, I ended up with a small stockpile of nuts and bolts and odds and ends down in the basement, my own mini hardware store. However, being a life-long neat-freak, a perfectionist, and in the throes of becoming very obsessive-compulsive, I knew very well where all my drill bits were; in the metal case the DeWalt cordless drill came in. But knowing very well where all my bits were did not keep me from searching out that elusive bit all night long.

As the evening was nearing midnight, I’m thinking to myself, talking to God, wishing that I had just one small drill bit. I probably bought that drill when I first started working on the house, so I had owned it at least for five years. By 11:30, I’m thinking I would give anything to have one very small drill bit. Then, at 11:45, fifteen minutes before Christmas officially began, I had the bright idea of looking underneath the cardboard backing that came inside the DeWalt metal case. I owned that drill for many years, but never removed the cardboard packaging.

Underneath that cardboard, what did I found? No, it was not one very small drill bit. It was three very small drill bits, two shiny silver, and the other black. Were these newfound bits purely coincidental or someone’s present? Whenever I needed anything from the hardware store, I would buy extras. If I needed a couple of screws, I would buy a dozen or two. That’s how I built up my supply room in the basement. If I needed a small drill bit, I would buy three. I can understand how one bit might have fallen under the cardboard, but three of the same size. What are the odds on that happening?

What is somewhat peculiar about the bits were that they were two shiny silver, one black. What were the three gifts the Wise Men gave the baby Jesus? Gold, myrrh and frankincense. Myrrh is a natural gum that was used as perfume, incense and mixed as a drink, but was also as an embalming oil. John 19:38-39 tells us that Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea brought a 100-pound mixture of myrrh and aloes to wrap Jesus’ body in after his crucifixion.

Two good, one bad. Two shiny, one black. Whatever the case, at that time and place in my life, when I had lost everything that meant anything to me, I could not have received a better Christmas present than those three drill bits.

Steven H. Spring
Earth

Plattsburg Farm At Christmas #20D

Plattsburg Farm At Christmas #20DDecember 24, 2015

The original photograph was shot one Christmas between 1996 and 2001, down on the farm, with the key word being “original.” Any one who has viewed my photos over the years might say, “I’ve seen this one before,” however, they would be mistaken.

I must admit that thanks to a marvelous thing called digital photography, some drastic improvements to the original photograph were made. I’m no magician, but like one not giving away the secrets of his or her tricks, I will not disclose the changes that were performed. If someone were to speculate, I would confirm his or her guess. It’s not that I do not want to disclose any secrets, as I have already shown both before and after photos to several friends. Though the changes made were very simple to do, however, the end results were quite impressive.

I think the changes made would make Ansel Adams sit back and go, “Wow!” In no way am I comparing myself to Mr. Adams, I just think he would be amazed by the technology. Just imagine what the master could have done with digital photography.

Steven H. Spring
Earth

Plattsburg Farm At Christmas #17B

Plattsburg Farm At Christmas #17BDecember 24, 2014

Christmas time down on the farm.  This was taken around fifteen years ago, before I lost the proverbial farm.  I lived there maybe a dozen years, and to quote Dickens, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

The 4×6 print was scanned onto my computer, where some adjusting of the darkness level was done.

Steven H. Spring

 

Wilson Chapel At Christmas #22B.

Wilson Chapel At Christmas #22B

December 24, 2013

Wilson Chapel, located just down the road from the farmhouse in my Plattsburg Farm photos.  I shot a lot of photographs of the chapel, sometimes right after a blizzard, late at night.  I would shoot right outside my back porch, poking a zoom lens around the corner of the porch.

There would be complete silence, except of course for the howling of the wind.  Or maybe the girls, Dakota and Arizona, my two red Dobermans, playing in the snow.

If you liked this photograph, check out my two farmhouse shots, Plattsburg Farm At Christmas #19F & 23B.

Steven H. Spring

Plattsburg Farm At Christmas #19F.

Plattsburg Farm At Christmas #19F

December 20, 2013

Those of you who happened to see my post this past Saturday will recognize this photograph as very similar to the other.  This was taken fifteen years ago with 35mm film.  I then scanned the 4×6 print onto my computer.  After I had posted the previous version, I decided to try one more time at editing the shot.  What I did not like about it was the cut corn stalks poking up through the snow in the foreground.  I had darken the original image as much as I could without losing both barns to the nighttime sky, but those corn stalks stuck out like a sore thumb to me.

Instead of darkening the image again, I thought lets copy and paste and see what it looks like.  I like this photo much better.

Steven H. Spring

Christmas Time Without A Tree

This song is dedicated to everyone who is suffering this holiday season, but especially for divorced dads everywhere.

Christmas should be the happiest time of the year
People giving, giving, giving
Never asking for one thing in return
But for many, it’s a very painful time to fear

I asked you for a special gift one year
You never cared enough to buy it
Christmas’ came and Christmas’ gone
You never did find the time to acquire it

You once gave me love, you gave me life
I tried to give you my all; I did the best I could
But my best just was not good enough
In the end, there was just way too much emotional gruff

You never let me know what it was that you wanted
Never let me into your heart
Never let me into your life
In the end, it was just far too easy for you to part

What does this say about the love we once had
You never had any time for me
But always did for every one else
What should have been a special relationship was really quite sad

I was the bad guy, everything was always all my fault
Or so you had everyone to believe
How could I have treated you so mean
But baby, you know that things just weren’t what they seemed

You stole from me the two most valuable things you once gave me
They can never be replaced
You walk around all high and mighty
Judgment day will come one day, a price to pay you’ll see

Life and time goes on it always does seem
I sit alone on Christmas Eve, there isn’t even a tree
One thing that I can never understand
Is how it is you could ever be so mean

Christmas time is supposed to be a time of great joy and cheer
But you stole it all away from me that awful year
Christmas day and all tomorrows
For many like me it is a time of great sorrow

Steven H. Spring

The Twelve Days Of A Capitalist’s Christmas

The following song was posted last Christmas.  However, there has been quite a few views of the post the past several days, and since I now have several more friends on Facebook, I thought I would re-post the soon to be Christmas classic again this year.  The great thing about these lyrics is that every year they can be updated and modified utilizing that year’s hottest toys and biggest deals.  Since Christmas is nearly here, and I wanted to post it tonight, I did not have time for any updates.  I’ll save that for next year!  Besides, I have no idea what are this year’s hottest toys.

Is there a war on Christmas?  Yes!  However it’s not being waged by atheists, agnostics or democrats.  Our all-consuming capitalistic form of government, led by their never-ending stream of nearly non-stop commercials everywhere one look, holidays or not, has turned what was once a purely religious holiday, as Christians celebrated the birth of God’s son, Jesus Christ into an orgy of mass consumerism all the while forcing everyone evermore deeper into debt as they finance this two-month-long gluttonous shopping addiction with monthly payments, thus actually spreading holiday cheer  throughout the year.

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!!!

Steven H. Spring

 

On the twelfth day before Christmas,
Waiting all night just to shop before the break of dawn.
Lord there must be a better way,
Thank goodness, Black Friday doesn’t come every day.

On the eleventh day before Christmas,
There is no time to stop, its shop, shop, shop all day.
Look out, I think that woman over there,
Is about to attack us with her deadly pepper spray.

On the tenth day before Christmas,
The malls are all packed, but there is no time to moan or groan.
Fortunately for me, money no longer is a problem,
Thank goodness for all those four hundred percent interest charging payday loans.

On the ninth day before Christmas,
I really do love that 80-inch HD flat screen TV.
I just hope and pray to God,
That Best Buy will finance it for me.

On the eighth day before Christmas,
They’re all gonna be sold out I fear.
But Junior really does needs,
A new Xbox 360 this year.

On the seventh day before Christmas,
Lights are all hung and ornaments are scattered about the yard.
The credit cards are all at their max,
Oh my Lord, did I forget to mail the Christmas cards?

On the sixth day before Christmas,
Was it an iPhone, iMac, iPod or an iPad?
If I get it wrong, I pray that my precious little Mary,
Won’t be too, too mad.

On the fifth day before Christmas,
There is one toy that I have yet to find.
It’s a cute little blonde haired Barbie doll baby,
I think I just might have enough cash to pay, maybe.

On the fourth day before Christmas,
Thank God the shopping is almost done I shout out with glee.
I no longer can eat or sleep because,
I am stressed out far more than any human being should be.

On the third day before Christmas,
I really would like a brand new washer and dryer from Home Depot.
I just hope and pray that the family car,
Doesn’t get repo’d.

On the second day before Christmas,
All the shopping is finally done.
I am as broke as anyone can or should be,
But why isn’t there a government bailout for working class people like me?

On the day before Christmas,
I am all out of cash.
We were supposed to go to Grandma’s for dinner,
However, we couldn’t afford the gas!

Copyright 2011 SHSmusicGroup

 

 

Christmas Down On The Farm

Growing up a city boy, how I ended up living on a farm out in the middle of nowhere is a long story.  During my ten years there, I experienced the highest of highs and lowest of lows that anyone can have in life.  A very serious midlife crisis resulted in me having lost everything that matters most in life, including the proverbial farm.  Become ever more obsessive-compulsive as I age and also a result of my mid-life crisis, another few years living there, I would have most likely lit up the barn to go along with the farmhouse during the Christmas holiday season.

I have yet to figure out what is causing the uploaded photographs to look slightly askew when viewing the finished posting.  This is not the case of the actual photograph scanned onto my computer (yes, I still proudly shoot film) nor when I first uploaded them to my WordPress.com blog page.  Again, I am sometimes embarrassed by the final product, as it appears that I care very little by their actual appearance.  As a neat freak and a perfectionist (both a blessing and a curse), this is far from the truth.  As always, looking at my photos on WordPress.com does not do justice to the 4×6 photographs I hold in my hand.  If I am fortunate enough to have you view my work, and you find the quality of my photographs lacking, please let me know via a viewer comment.

I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and/or a Happy Holidays!!!  Here’s hoping the new year brings both peace and prosperity throughout our world!!!

Steven H. Spring