“…All is calm….”

REMINDER:  One day left (today) for “The World Is My Country” online, Dec. 17 for on-line gathering with the producer of the film.  Details here (scroll down to Third Thursday).


December 14, 2020: Merry Christmas. Here’s Bing Crosby’s rendition of Silent Night.

In a few days it’s Christmas.  Cathy always does the tree, we’ve downsized over the years from real tree, to a large artificial tree, to a small one.  They’re always nice.

Dec 14, 2020

Downstairs is the creche set I purchased from a Palestinian in Jerusalem in January of 1996 – it’s now 25 years old.  All of the figures Olive wood.  Previously they’ve been on the mantle of the fireplace.  This year on the coffee table.

Dec. 14, 2020

There are other “Christmassy” evidences around.  But this year is very different in our town, and yours as well.

Today is Election Day in the Electoral College in what used to be the United States.  The election is proceeding as I write.  This is the country in which I’ve lived my whole life, now in turmoil.  A new experiment of a tribal country prevails this Christmas.  Hard to find “silent night, holy night” here.  Are you in the acceptable tribe?  Or not.  We will make nice with the loser.  That’s easy.  In “win-lose” everyone is a loser in the other sides eyes.

And there’s Covid-19, of course.  For me, that trip began March 6, 2020.  What follows are a few random photos, mostly from my daily short drives in the nearby areas.  Just a few views of the last 10 months…more months of this to come.

Grim reminder at Basilica of St. Mary March 15, 2020. Final open-to-all Mass day in 2020.  I ushered this day, the last large public event I attended.  Attendance was very low compared to normal….

Forsythia, late April, 2020 Woodbury MN

The day after urban terrorism at 27th and Lake, Minneapolis the end of May, 2020. My good friend owned a popular restaurant right behind the burned out building. It, too, went up in smoke the next day. The ruins remain as of this day. (See final photo, below)  I think the perpetrators of the fire are still at large, but for how long?

Deer near walking route Juy 30, 2020

Fall colors early October, 2020, St. Paul MN

Nov. 7, 2020. I watched this ‘project’ all summer along my walking trail. One time I saw the kids and their Dad working on this build, using deadfall from the woods. It was a good use of time, I felt. Sometimes it would change shape, or number of structures. This was the latest and perhaps last for the year.

A declaration of resilience at Gandhi Mahal, the restaurant of my friend, burned down at the end of May, 2020. Photo: Oct 31, 2020. (The restaurant was next door to the burned out building in the photo above.)

This day, Dec. 14, 2020, the state electors chose Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as incoming President and Vice-President.  Their inauguration is January 20 2021.  This was the day of the first U.S. innoculations for Covid-19.  This is a day for hope, though the wars continue.

This day, also, came an e-mail from JoAnn, my former state legislator, who is one of those active in changing the conversation about politics.  She included some quotations which deserve sharing as our history as a country hopefully proceeds towards national healing:

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory … will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”
Abraham Lincoln, 1861
“Life is short, and we do not have too much time to gladden the hearts of those who travel with us, so be quick to love and make haste to be kind.”
Henri-Frederic Amiel
“There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.”
Denis Waitley
“So let us begin a new remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.”
John F Kennedy

What are your memories of the year now past?  What are your commitments for the year about to begin?  All best wishes for a hopeful Christmas and New Year.

A quotation that sticks with me: “If it is to be, it is up to me.”

POSTNOTE;  Monday Dec. 14 Just Above Sunset: History here

COMMENTS (more at end of post):

from SAK:

Thanks Mr Bernard that is so moving, those memories & thoughts of peace.

I remember a quote from the Boston Herald I came across once. This was written in 1913 most probably and proclaimed that Great Britain, the United States & Germany had reached such a level of civilisation that war between them was unthinkable. And then there was World War I or The Great War.

Well even during that dreadful slaughter the guns were silent the first Christmas & carols rang out! A film was made about that truce.

The original Silent Nightwas in German & composed by an Austrian& I was just watching parts of The Great Escape which I had first seen decades ago . . . Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Garner, James Coburn, David McCallum & many others. That was the other & even worse disaster: WWII.

Can we be sure that there won’t be other major wars? Difficult to bet against it! With economic distress & rising nationalism it’s usual for violent passions to take over. ” Against stupidity the gods themselves rage in vain,” Friedrich Schiller:

Predictions  & forecasts point to a sad 2021 but hope springs eternal & I wish you & yours a Merry Christmas & a glorious New year.

Response from Dick: Thank you.  Re the 1914 Truce, for those with access to public television, a wonderful musical was made last year in the Twin Cities, and has aired twice recently on PBS.  It is titled “All is calm”, as I recall, and about the 1914 Truce.  The powerful song, Christmas in the Trenches, by John McCutcheon is readily accessible on-line at YouTube.

from Larry: There are several children’s book versions of the Christmas Truce story.  The one I’m most familiar with, SHOOTING AT THE STARS, is in my December SUN POST column, link here.

2 replies
  1. Jermitt Krage
    Jermitt Krage says:

    Bernard: Another thoughtful message for me and perhaps others during this holiday season. The quotations you share are powerful. I hope we will take them seriously, as we are faced with some very serious issues. Each of us has a responsibility to address each issue in a serious manner.

    It is easy for me to think about Christmas’s past. I’m very grateful for my family and friends, current and past, and for the many magical benefits, each of these special people like you has brought into my life. Thank you for the many ways you have kept me grounded. Jermitt


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