Showing category "Holiday" (Show all posts)

ONE HOLIDAY AT A TIME...!

Posted by John Allen Small on Tuesday, November 21, 2017, In : Holiday 
We didn’t have a whole lot of what you might call “hard and fast rules” in the Small household when my younger brothers and I were growing up.

Compared to some of my classmates – especially a couple of fellows I knew whose fathers appeared to run their households like German stalags, and wielded an iron hand even over visitors of all ages who usually left looking shell-shocked - life was actually... well, I hesitate to say that it was relatively cushy, but it definitely could have bee...
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HO, HO, HO...

Posted by John Allen Small on Wednesday, December 23, 2015, In : Holiday 
(Above: Thomas Nast's depiction of Santa Claus for Harper's Weekly in the late 1800s; and my son Joshua playing Santa Claus in the 2014 Johnston County Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade, Tishomingo, Oklahoma.)



(Note: The following article was originally published in the Johnston County Capital-Democrat, Dec. 24, 1992. We re-published it in this week's issue as a Christmas gift to our readers, and I felt it was appropriate to share it here as well.)



He is one of the most recognized figures...


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FROM THE ARCHIVES: LUPERCUS AND THE ART OF ROMANCE

Posted by John Allen Small on Friday, February 14, 2014, In : Holiday 
(NOTE: This is a newspaper column I originally wrote a number of years ago and have rerun every few years or so at this time of year. I didn't run it in the newspaper this year, so I decided to share it here instead...)

Every February 15th, the ancient Romans used to take part in a fertility ritual known as the Lupercalia, so named in honor of some obscure rustic diety known as Lupercus.


Much later - sometime in the Third Century, if you’re taking notes - men began commemorating the martyrd...


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ONE DAY A YEAR IS NOT ENOUGH

Posted by John Allen Small on Thursday, February 14, 2013, In : Holiday 
Me and Melissa, Valentine's Day, 1980 - Bradley, Illinois.



I don’t remember where I first read it, but I certainly agree with whoever said it: True love does not need a special day.


Please understand before we proceed any further that I do not mean to denigrate Valentine’s Day. Quite the contrary. It’s an important holiday tradition to a great many folks – and not such a bad one at that, as holiday traditions go. Any holiday that includes chocolate as one of its most important acoutre...


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A CHRISTMAS FUNNY...

Posted by John Allen Small on Monday, December 3, 2012, In : Holiday 

The following is one of my all-time favorite humorous Christmas stories, which I first heard told by George Grove of the Kingston Trio on their Christmas concert album a few years back:

Three men all die on Christmas Eve and meet St. Peter at the Pearly Gates. St, Peter tells them that, since it is Christmas Eve, he can't let them pass through unless they can present some sort of item associated with the holiday.


The first man reaches into his pocket and pulls out a cigarette lighter. He ligh...


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HAPPY HOLIDAYS, ANYWAY...

Posted by John Allen Small on Thursday, October 18, 2012, In : Holiday 
(Artwork by Michael Cho)


Well, we’re still a couple of weeks away from Halloween but apparently some folks are already busy gearing up for the next round in the ongoing battle over how Christmas season greetings should be expressed.


In recent years there’s been a perpetual hullabaloo over use of the phrase “Happy Holidays.” To the best of my memory (which I’ll be the first to admit is sometimes questionable at best), the brouhaha began when some well-meaning Christians starting voic...


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The Spirit Of America

Posted by John Allen Small on Tuesday, July 3, 2012, In : Holiday 

Shhh... Listen close. 


Can you hear them? Wafting over the American landscape like an echo, ghostly voices urging us to remember who we are and where we've been. 


The Voices of America's Past... 


Turn off the television. Step away from the barbecue for just a moment. Listen hard and you can still hear them; look closely, and perhaps you might even see them. 


Look, over there. Do you see him? It's George Washington, first in the hearts of his countrymen, reciting the words of his Farewell ...


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CUPID RODE IN ON A BUG THIS YEAR...

Posted by John Allen Small on Friday, February 17, 2012, In : Holiday 

Some time around the start of the new year, while looking at the calendar and making an honest endeavor to plan ahead for certain “special dates” during 2012, I made a point of asking my beloved wife Melissa if there was anything special she wanted me to get her for Valentine’s Day.


“Give me something I don’t really need,” she responded. 


So I gave her the flu.


Okay, that’s not exactly how it happened. I did get the flu last week, and poor Melissa ended up coming down with it...


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LUPERCUS AND THE ART OF MODERN ROMANCE

Posted by John Allen Small on Tuesday, February 14, 2012, In : Holiday 

“It is said that wise men are not affected by women.


“Then there ain’t no wise men in this ‘appy world!”


– Exchange between two of the villain's henchmen in the Doc Savage novel Meteor Menace, originally published march 1934 (Quoted from memory so don't be too rough on me...)


*      *      *


Every February 15th, the ancient Romans used to take part in a fertility ritual known as the Lupercalia, so named in honor of some obscure rustic diety known as Lupercus.


Much later - som...


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A CHRISTMAS MEMORY: THE RIGHT GIFT AT THE RIGHT TIME

Posted by John Allen Small on Wednesday, December 21, 2011, In : Holiday 


Every year around this time, somebody will inevitably ask me to tell them about the most memorable holiday season I have experienced during my lifetime. And when considering the question, I always find myself thinking that the Christmas of 1984 probably should not be the one that occurs to me first.


And yet it always is...


Whether we choose to admit it or not, all of us have experienced moments in our lives when we have felt like loners or believe that we do not fit in with whatever group o...


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A CHRISTMAS STORY...

Posted by John Allen Small on Wednesday, December 7, 2011, In : Holiday 

I'll be the first to admit it's a bit on the tacky side, but this has been one of my favorite Christmas stories since I first heard it on a Kingston Trio concert album a few years back. It goes something like this:


Three men all die on Christmas Eve and meet St. Peter at the Pearly Gates. St, Peter tells them that, since it is Christmas Eve, he can't let them pass through unless they can present some sort of item associated with the holiday.


The first man reaches into his pocket and pulls o...


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HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY LITTLE MIGRAINE…

Posted by John Allen Small on Friday, December 2, 2011, In : Holiday 
(Above: The Small Family Christmas Tree, circa 2001. And yes, I realize that even though I rail about the over-commercialization of Christmas in this essay, I have a few obvious commercial-type ornaments on my tree. Look, I never said I was perfect...)



There are those moments in every man’s life which are destined to live forever in his memory, no matter how hard he may try to forget. For me, the day after Thanksgiving 1995 certainly proved to be such a memory…


I was sitting at my desk th...


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About Me


John Allen Small John A. Small is an award-winning newspaper journalist, columnist and broadcaster whose work has been honored by the Oklahoma Press Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Associated Press, the National Newspaper Association, and the Oklahoma Education Association. He and his wife Melissa were married in 1986; they have two sons, Joshua Orrin (born 1991) and William Ian (born 1996). Mr. Small is the News Editor and columnist for the Johnston County Capital-Democrat, a weekly newspaper headquartered in Tishomingo, OK. He obtained his nickname, "Bard of the Lesser Boulevards," from a journalism colleague - the late Phil Byrum - in recognition of the success of his popular newspaper column, "Small Talk." (In addition to the many awards the column itself has received over the years, a radio version of "Small Talk" earned an award for "Best Small Market Commentary" from the Society of Professional Journalists in 1998.) John was born in Oklahoma City in 1963; lived in the Bradley-Bourbonnais-Kankakee area of Illinois for most of the next 28 years (with brief sojourns in Texas and Athens, Greece, thrown in to break up the monotony); then returned to his native state in 1991, where he currently resides in the Tishomingo/Ravia area. He graduated from Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School in 1981, and received his bachelor's degree in journalism from Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais in 1991. The years between high school and college were a period frought with numerous exploits and misadventures, some of which have become the stuff of legend; nobody was hurt along the way, however, which should count for something. In addition to his professional career as a journalist he has published two short story collections: "Days Gone By: Legends And Tales Of Sipokni West" (2007), a collection of western stories; and "Something In The Air" (2011), a more eclectic collection. He was also a contributor to the 2005 Locus Award-nominated science fiction anthology "Myths For The Modern Age: Philip Jose Farmer's Wold Newton Universe," edited by Win Scott Eckert. In additon he has written a stage play and a self-published cookbook; served as project editor for a book about the JFK assassination entitled "The Men On The Sixth Floor"; and has either published or posted on the Internet a number of essays, stories and poems. He has also won writing awards from the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the National Library of Poetry. He is a past president of the Johnston County Chamber of Commerce in Tishomingo; was a charter member and past president of the Johnston County Reading Council, the local literacy advocacy and "friends of the library" organization; served as Johnston County's first-ever Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator in 1994-95; served two terms as chairman of the Johnston County (OK) Democratic Party; and has taught journalism classes for local Boy Scout Merit Badge Fairs. He is a member of the New Wold Newton Meteorics Society.
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