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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Fourth day of Christmas
Friday, December 28 2001

Home for Christmas, 2

Considering my first Christmas occurred before my first birthday, this year's is my 60th, and in none of the 60 have I not been home for Christmas, though "home" has changed with my definitions of my family from parental to married to single-parent. And even though my father was somewhat distant, taciturn, and not "big on Christmas" while I was living at home, I don't remember a Christmas on which he wasn't home when I was there, either.

However, his oldtime hunting buddy, Zoltan Antol, tells a story on him that's rather amusing and that did impinge on that particular Christmas. Zoltan (who was a Blacklick Valley high school teacher—and note the capitalization on the title, as it's very significant—for probably more than 40 years, including the years my two eldest brothers attended high school in Vintondale) got a notion to go hunting one Christmas Eve, most likely for racoons, as that's the only thing I know of that can be hunted in that area at night (unless it would be snipes). He remembers arriving at the Kennedy house about the time Mom and the four of us boys (when I was a toddler) were getting home from Christmas Eve service at the Baptist Church. He invited Dad to go hunting at that hour, and off they went.

Mr. Antol (the older boys always had to call him that because he was their teacher, but I always knew him as "Zoltan") later felt very guilty for taking Dad out of the family circle at one of the most sacred times of the year. But although I have no recollection of the event at all, from my experience Dad was usually moody around Christmas, at least until the presents were all opened Christmas day, and both he and Mom may have felt relieved for his getting out of the house at that time.

And of course, though I was never away from home "over" Christmas until I moved to California in 1968, from the time I was 16 on, even in the four years I worked in New Jersey, I spent most of the evening of Christmas Eve out with friends in the valley rather than all of it with the folks. We always had our family time together, and they went to bed so early, always, that I could leave the house when they retired and have my time with friends without interfering with family time together.

The invitation to send your memories of Christmases related to Blacklick Valley is still open.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Real Newspaper headlines (or so it says here)

- Plane Too Close to Ground, Crash Probe Told
- Miners Refuse to Work after Death
- Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant
- Stolen Painting Found by Tree
- Two Soviet Ships Collide, One Dies
- Never Withhold Herpes Infection from Loved One
- War Dims Hope for Peace
- If Strike isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last a While
- Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures
- Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide

—Sent by Anita Llewellyn

True freedom

True freedom in the Christian perspective consists neither in passive resignation to one's earthly fate nor in active rebellion against the conditions and structures of life in which one finds oneself in the world. It consists rather in the joyful acceptance of one's earthly conditions provided by a gracious, wise, and loving God who has given each person his being and life as the best possible circumstances for fulfilling one's earthly vocation in the service of God and man. Belief in divine providence and in the fact that each person has a unique vocation from God, in the place where he is called, to sanctify, transfigure, and redeem the specific conditions of his life in ways provided and revealed by God, is fundamental to the Christian view of human liberation.

—Thomas Hopko
All the Fullness of God

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