By Josh Resnek
Thanksgiving has come and gone, just like that, with the snap of a finger.
Now it is on to Christmas.
I’m Jewish. My father never allowed Christmas in the house.
We never had a tree. There were no presents.
The day would come and go like any other day.
Listening to Christmas carols wasn’t exactly on the menu- and Christmas dinner – well, what is that?
On the other hand, when growing up, I watched everyone else getting ready for the holiday.
Looked like an awful lot of fun from my perspective. About 20 years ago, I married a non-Jewish woman, an English woman, yes, from England.
She is absolutely non-religious and she loves to always say that she is a member of the Church of England – “The last thing the Church of England has anything to do with is religion!,” she often says.
For my wife, Christmas is about the tree – and we now have a great tree in our living room every year, decorated with 100 year old trimmings that were my wife’s grandparents’.
My daughters and their friends always have a party when trimming the tree.
My wife will be sipping champagne and Christmas carols will be playing, the replace will be roaring.
In the weeks before Christmas my wife begins a list of everything everyone is going to need on the morning of Christmas Day.
I still feel very uneasy about celebrating Christmas. Its like something I’m not supposed to but I do it.
My father has been dead for 25 years. He’d be outraged by the Christmas tree in my living room, by all the presents, by all the hubbub about Christmas.
My mother came to really like it. She was brought up Orthodox Jewish. Her father would have thrown the tree out the window and probably would have given all his kids a good beating for celebrating Christmas.
But not my mother.
She got into the spirit of the Christmas holiday because my wife always makes it about family and about fun.
Driving around Everett the past few days I’ve noticed the lighting up all over the place. I can see Christmas trees inside homes on many streets throughout the city.
Monday night, when I got through with the council meeting, my daughter, Naudia picked me up at the office on Church Street. We headed out to Mike’s Roast Beef for a early evening snack.
Passing into Santilli Circle was a stunning moment.
The lighting there is profound – beautiful in every way, inspirational, almost.
The color blue of the lighting on the trees is soft and warm, inviting.
The city lighting up and down Broadway is appealing.
It all seems very early to me but then, what do I know about Christmas and lighting?
My wife won’t buy the tree until two weeks before the big day.
She has already placed gorgeous seasonal orange lighting in our kitchen and eating area which glows warmly at night. What a nice thing to come home to – and for thousands of our readers – well, you know exactly what I am trying to say.
The rush is beginning. I can feel the energy.
This Christmas, my mother will not be in my living room to celebrate with us. She died in July.
I will miss her on Christmas morning opening her presents and presenting me and my kids and my wife with ours.
It will be this way for many of our readers who have lost a loved one dear to them during the past year.
I was listening the other day to my favorite FM radio station, 90.3, to a guy named James, a recovering addict who has had the same show for 30 years.
Fabulous music and he raps a bit always.
He started talking about the holidays one day last week as I was driving up Broadway.
“Did you lose a loved a loved this year? Bummed out that Christmas is coming and they won’t be with you?” He said.
“Are you talking to me,” I said out loud in my car.
He went on.
“I know you feel down if you’ve lost someone you love. They won’t be with you for the holiday. But guess what, they wouldn’t want to know you’re all downed out. They want to know you are happy and leading your life without them. Just think about it. If you could talk with your lost loved one for a few moments, what would you want to say to them? They would want to hear that you are happy and going on without them and that your life is OK. They would want to hear happiness in your voice. So lighten up.,” James said.
I almost ran off the road.
His words were an inspiration, as everything coming into the fore about Christmas is making me feel the same way this year.
Losing someone helps you to understand just how much we all have in our lives while we are here.
Christmas is coming. Make sure you appreciate the holiday. In two weeks we will be a hop, skip and jump away from the biggest day of the year every year since since the day Jesus was born in a manger in Bethlehem.
Encore donation to Connors Fund Very Big Medicine
The announcement Tuesday that Encore/Wynn Resorts is donating $10 million to the Jack Connors Fund is a huge step in the right direction when it comes to suitability.
This is a brilliant move.
Jack Connors is a legend and a gentleman, one of the most influential and well to do people in the region.
He is the greatest success to ever come out of Boston College – and he loves Boston College.
He is a friend to governors, to politicians, to lobbyists, to business owners, to mayors of Boston (he was a dear friend of the late Tom Menino). He values John Fish, the head of Suffolk Construction, as a dear friend.
There is probably little doubt that Fish suggested to Matt Maddox that he make a substantial donation to Connor’s Fund, which is a high class, first rate, effort used to help out those who need help in a wide variety of places.
Connors, who heads Hill Holiday, the most successful advertising firm in the region, is the real thing when it comes to doing for others.
The Encore pledge is $10 million for civic and social programs over the next four years in an effort to help those in need of help and to improve the lives of residents in local communities.
“It’s not in our corporate DNA to just write a check for a donation or buy a table at a charity event,” Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox said in a statement. “We want to make an impactful difference in the lives of people and effect real and positive changes in our communities.”
Dib in the Super Bowl
John DiBiaso has done it again.
He’s in the Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium on Saturday with his Catholic Memorial team.
Is this an accomplishment? Oh yes.
His successor at Everett High School didn’t make the Super Bowl this year.
The Crimson Tide however finished with a 10-1 record, a fairly extraordinary accomplishment for a first year coach. We wish Dibs good luck in Saturday’s game against St. John’s Prep.
We’re betting on Catholic Memorial…and Dib.
It is the best bet you can make on high school football this weekend.
The Stuff of Farce
The mayor taking the city’s last $10 million in cash to tell taxpayers he’s lowering their tax bills is a great play for the mayor in his own mind.
When push came to shove Monday night, the $10 million was reduced to $4 million.
But it isn’t an election year and we wonder why exactly he’d strap the city of its cash to give homeowners and commercial building owners a reduction which will come to about $25?
Where I come from, $25 won’t get you half a tank of gasoline.
Is he trying to get some headlines?
Is he trying manufacture a positive event that makes him shine?
Hard to say.
The mayor had an op-ed piece last weekend in the Boston Herald on its editorial page.
It was all about the Everett success story that exists because of his leadership – more great housing, great developments, a modern look toward the future, the casino/hotel coming, new parks and on and on and on.
Knowing the mayor as we do, we can assure our readers he didn’t write the piece that appeared in the Herald. He signed it. But he likely didn’t write a word of it.
Tom Philbin, the mayor’s flack, probably wrote it. Reading the piece was like taking a walk in a gorgeous park on a sunny afternoon when the temperature is about 70 degrees.
It was a piece that was intended to lull readers into a state of stupor and good feeling – that Everett is moving ahead, that everything is wonderful.
I am not exactly sure who reads the Herald these days or how many Heralds are sold in Everett everyday except to say, not many people I talk with saw the piece because they don’t read the Herald.
Many more people in Everett read the Leader Herald than read the Boston Herald.
I don’t read the Herald any longer. My attention was called to the mayor’s piece by an e-mail.
The piece details the coming of the casino as though it is like the birth of majesty and grandeur. It white washed every aspect of the controversy now surrounding the project and what its future might be looking like if a lawsuit in Nevada shuts down the Gaming Commission’s investigation report from being released.
This happens on December 12 and is a huge event.
Nor did the mayor condemn Steve Wynn for his outrageous behavior toward women he employed throughout the years. Not a word about that. Criticizing Wynn would be like criticizing himself. He can’t do that.
The unreality of the piece reveals just how detached the mayor and all of us are. It reveals how foolish placed op-eds can sound.
Whether he wrote a word of it or not, it was boring, and ineffectual, and largely unread by a public that doesn’t care about what happens in Everett.
Why he placed the thing in the Herald is a mystery.
Settling With the City
We recently received information of four major lawsuits settled out of court by the city during the past decade that came to about $800,000.
Employees who didn’t do as they were told lost their jobs at the hands of three mayors, including the present mayor.
In all the cases, the city made substantial payments to the individuals rather than going to court and having a trial.
This is good business if you know what you are doing or if you feel aggrieved by the mayor or your bosses.
There is case right now forming that is going to end in a $200,000 payout or more for a young woman who has been sexually harassed and bullied by two employees of the Wellness Center on Broadway which the mayor’s office is responsible for.
It works like this: the attorney for the Everett woman making the claims asks for a settlement in the amount of $300,000.
The city comes back and says: “Too much. We’ll give you $250,000.” The attorney goes back to his client and tells her: “We have a pretty good offer for $250,000.”
If the girl has any common sense she replies: ‘I’ll take it.”
The mayor signs the settlement. The attorney gets about $80,000. The girl walks away from her job. She receives $175,000 and everyone is happy, right?
The young woman has suffered bullying and sexual harassment no young woman should suffer. The money is good but it doesn’t end the suffering.