Cold Moon December 2017 Christmas Stories 1. My mother had a warped sense of humor. My younger brother and I both inherited it. She liked a good joke, and she could dish it out and take it. One time she handed me and my brother a thick Sears catalog and told us to go through it and circle all the things we wanted for Christmas. I was about 8 years old, my brother 6. We sat at the kitchen table and pored over the catalog for what seemed like hours, circling tons of toys, and a Superman outfit. When we were done we gave the book back to mom, happy and thrilled. She left the room and came back a little while later with all the toys we circled cut out of the book and handed them to us and said, "Here, Merry Christmas." My little brother and I started crying our eyes out, and I think my Mom was surprised that we didn't get the joke. My younger brother and I still have it seared in our thoughts. I think mom felt bad too, because that Christmas we got a lot more toys than we usually did. I miss her every day. 2. When I was 13 or 14 we lived in what we called "The Projects." It was low income housing in South Jersey. My little brother and I were little hooligans. Actually we were good kids, but mischievous. After the holidays, when all the Christmas trees were thrown out, several of us neighborhood kids would gather them up, stuff them in the monkey bars and light them on fire. It was quite a ritual, and the cops or fire department never came. They just let us have it. The flames could be thirty five feet high. It was beautiful. 3. I want to thank each and every one of you that have supported me and my work currently and continuously over the years. You have not only defined my work, but have given it credibility and value. I am acutely aware of how fortunate I am to live in this part of the world, have a beautiful wife, and do exactly what I want with my time on this planet. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Merry Christmas and Happy Full Moon.