Best Wishes at this Season

This morning the Friday morning regulars at the next table had completed their Bible study and were visiting.  One lamented that the news was all “politics”.  That’s true, of course.  We – every one of us – is “politics”.  And we can’t, and we mustn’t, avoid it.  But it is Christmas time….  


Three thoughts come to the surface to end this year.

“You Raise Me Up”: Dec 15 brought one of those “forwards” that is truly extraordinary.  Below is the text accompanying the  4 minute video filmed on a street in Maastricht, Holland, for Netherlands public TV.

“The incredible story of Martin Hurkens…

For 35 years, Martin Hurkens made his living as a baker.Though he’d always dreamed of being a professional opera singer, he didn’t have the money to stay in music school. So, he sang while he baked (much to the delight of his customers).

Then one day, Martin lost his job with nothing to fall back on.  So, Martin took to the streets of Holland.   He’d place his hat down and sang his heart out, hoping for any donations he could get.

In 2010, Martin entered a reality TV talent show called “Holland Has Talent.

…And what do you know – this aging singer came in first place and was thrust into the spotlight.

In the incredible video below, Martin returns to the very streets that gave him the confidence and faith he needed to pursue his dreams.

Though his recording career took off after he won the competition, it’s as if these passers-by hear his perfect tenor voice for the very first time.

As Martin belts out the classic contemporary hymn, “You Raise Me Up” a stunned crowd gathers around him, wandering up to place money in his hat.

Enjoy this video, here.”


A Christmas Gift:  Back in 1985, June Johnson, then a teacher at Bigfork High School, wrote a wonderful memory of an early career experience in a country school in North Dakota.  Here it is, in pdf form: Chips from the Northern Branch


The Station:  Back in the day when Ann Landers was a must-read, she published, at least twice, a marvelous short essay on living a life entitled “The Station”.  I saved both.  Perhaps you’ve seen the writing, perhaps not.  Here it is, brief, and very worth your time: The Station001


Finally, I highlight once again the marvelously decorated tree across the way from our house.  Extra special thanks to Laura and Kyle  Kubes for the unique gift of the season:

Nov. 30, 2021

COMMENTS (more at end of post):

from Bob:  Thanks for sharing this, and do have a Glorious Christmas Season.  Your old friend and colleague.

from Leo: Merry Christmas and a Blessed and Happy New Year to you and your Family….

from Jermitt: WONDERFUL.  THANK YOU.

from Christina: Dick, thank you so much for sending your “ending a year” blog. We read each of the articles and we’re so touched. That Ann Landers article so good that I want to pass it on to each of my kids.

from Molly: Molly regularly provides favorite pieces of poetry, and this is her offering at Winter Solstice: 2021 Winter Solstice poetry


6 replies
  1. Lois Young
    Lois Young says:

    Thank you, Dick, for the three inspirational items to read. I do enjoy every update of “Thoughts” from you although I don’t get into discussions. Glad that we got acquainted some 60+ years ago at VCSU when we met at Newman’s Club. The Ann Landers article says it all, as we have certainly been going, going, going and the advice is excellent. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  2. Mary A Maher
    Mary A Maher says:

    Hi Dick..loved the ‘street music’ and am reminded that more than once I have been introduced to exceptional music on a street corner or in a subway….never take for granted the silent talents among us and what is unseen just below the surface! Happy Holidays. Mary A Maher


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