• Andrew Scott Bassett

that is the question.

Ah... the holidays are here again. This year of course, one of the strangest in modern times, that is my lifetime, makes one want to hearken back to Christmas and Thanksgiving days gone by.

I have to say straight out how much I am one of those people who does love the holidays. I love my turkey on both Christmas and Thanksgiving. I love my pumpkin pie. I love my eggnog spiked or not. I love how people for the most part truly do try to be nicer to each other and capture that elusive 'Christmas Spirit'. I even love the giving and receiving of gifts. I think I get this from my mother, God rest her soul. Christmas time was my mother's favorite time of the year. She thoroughly enjoyed buying gifts for her family and relished in our response to her gifts. Some of it was self-serving I suppose, it made her feel important, needed, I guess you could say. No matter what the reason, she would go all out to get you a gift she thought you would love, unless you were one of her daughters-in-law, but that's a tale for another day.

As I said, I am much like mother in this regard, I love to buy gifts for others. Is it some response to wanting others to like me and to feel needed, maybe, I'm not sure? What I do know is that it brings joy to me to see others actually touched by my actually giving thought to what would bring a smile to their face on Christmas morning. I know for me as a kid I couldn't wait for Christmas to arrive. When I was a younger child and my dad was still part of our family, we would have wonderful Christmas mornings with fresh-cut trees packed with presents all around. My mom and dad spoiled me with so many gifts that it was hard to decide what to play with first. Any new and exciting toy that had hit the marketplace was probably going to make it under our tree it seemed, and I was thrilled. Christmas Eve was always memorable for the family Monopoly games we would partake in. I was always stuck with lousy choices for Monopoly pieces being I was the youngest. My brother would take the race car, the one I always wanted, and my sister the little dog, oh well such is life. My dad was the banker and usually won. I of course didn't last long, I would just slink into the living room and watch whatever Christmas cartoon that was airing, with no significance to our story here, I really loved to watch the 'Little Drummer Boy', claymation and all. Anyways...Christmas was the one time of the year when my father was the funnest guy in the room, unlike the rest of time where he just worked, drank, and fished. But at Christmas he was the 'Belle of the Ball' and would spend hours playing with the toys he had bought us, he loved the season too. After he left, it was still good, my mom made sure of that, but just not the same. The family's income now reduced meant that Christmas giving had to be reduced as well. Now don't get me wrong the quality was still there, just not the quantity.

When I grew up and begin to have my own Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations I splurged just as my mother had. I no longer cared much about what I would receive but wanted my kids to look forward to the holidays as I had when I was their age. I probably got carried away and spoiled them too, but justified it in my own mind because I didn't really spend much, the rest of the year. Christmas was the time of year to spoil my kids rotten, so why not. As I've said, I'm a giver, like my mother before me. The world is made up of two types of people, the ones who want to get stuff and the ones who want to take joy in giving it. Mind you, I don't dislike a thoughtful well-intended gift, but I have little thankfulness for gifts that show no consideration for who the person is at all, say like many gift cards which basically tell the person that is receiving them that I just don't want to put the effort into getting you a thoughtful gift, so here you go. Now, I will say that restaurant gift cards are the exception to the rule. You can always use an excellent dinner out on the town, that is if your Covid-Governor allows it. But I digress, put some thought into it, will you, it truly is the thought that counts.

As I just said, the world is made up of givers and receivers. All kids are receivers during the holidays that's the whole purpose of writing letters to Santa telling him what you want for the big day. When you become an adult however, you have a choice. Do you want to be someone more concerned with the things you get in life or the kind of person who wants to make others lives better by being a giver. Around October each year I begin to plot the things I want to get for family members. If you ask me what I want I usually have a hard time even telling you. I'm a giver not a receiver, right. And I know that does make it hard for other people to purchase or make thoughtful gifts for me as I am advocating here, it's a problem and I am working on it. But the truth is at this stage of my life I am buying gifts much more than I am receiving them. I rarely get anything from my adult children for a myriad of reasons that I won't go into here, but I still make sure that they receive gifts even if I don't see them during the holidays, I'm a giver. I wish I had grandchildren to spoil, I was made for that, but alas at this point I don't, I don't know if I ever will but I hope so. The good thing is it doesn't really matter to me as a giver I don't care what you get for me. Like my mother before, the pleasure and joy comes from giving and touching someone's heart with the perfectly chosen or created gift. It's about making someone else feel special for a moment in time, that's what it's all about. So if you are reading this blog right now and wondering why you took the trouble to do so and you happen to be someone in my gift-giving circle, just remember when I give you a gift that you love and touches your heart, you don't need to feel guilty that you didn't do the same for me. I don't care about that, I'm a giver and you receiving your gift and being even a bit moved by the act is all the gift I need, that's just how my dear departed mom taught me to be and how I like it.

Here's another Christmas story that shows the power of giving and the real message of the season!

Once upon a time - so long ago that everybody has forgotten the date - in a city in the north of Europe - with such a hard name that nobody can ever remember it - there was a little seven-year-old boy named Wolff, whose parents were dead, who lived with a cross and stingy old aunt, who never thought of kissing him more than once a year and who sighed deeply whenever she gave him a bowlful of soup. But the poor little fellow had such a sweet nature that in spite of everything, he loved the old woman, although he was terribly afraid of her and could never look at her ugly old face without shivering. As this aunt of little Wolff was known to have a house of her own and an old woollen stocking full of gold, she had not dared to send the boy to a charity school; but, in order to get a reduction in the price, she had so wrangled with the master of the school, to which little Wolff finally went, that this bad man, vexed at having a pupil so poorly dressed and paying so little, often punished him unjustly, and even prejudiced his companions against him, so that the three boys, all sons of rich parents, made a drudge and laughing stock of the little fellow. The poor little one was thus as wretched as a child could be and used to hide himself in corners to weep whenever Christmas time came. It was the schoolmaster's custom to take all his pupils to the midnight mass on Christmas Eve, and to bring them home again afterward. Now, as the winter this year was very bitter, and as heavy snow had been falling for several days, all the boys came well bundled up in warm clothes, with fur caps pulled over their ears, padded jackets, gloves and knitted mittens, and strong, thick-soled boots. Only little Wolff presented himself shivering in the poor clothes he used to wear both weekdays and Sundays and having on his feet only thin socks in heavy wooden shoes. His naughty companions noticing his sad face and awkward appearance, made many jokes at his expense; but the little fellow was so busy blowing on his fingers, and was suffering so much with chilblains, that he took no notice of them. So the band of youngsters, walking two and two behind the master, started for the church. It was pleasant in the church which was brilliant with lighted candles; and the boys excited by the warmth took advantage of the music of the choir and the organ to chatter among themselves in low tones. They bragged about the fun that was awaiting them at home. The mayor's son had seen, just before starting off, an immense goose ready stuffed and dressed for cooking. At the alderman's home there was a little pine-tree with branches laden down with oranges, sweets, and toys. And the lawyer's cook had put on her cap with such care as she never thought of taking unless she was expecting something very good! Then they talked, too, of all that the Christ-Child was going to bring them, of all he was going to put in their shoes which, you might be sure, they would take good care to leave in the chimney place before going to bed; and the eyes of these little urchins, as lively as a cage of mice, were sparkling in advance over the joy they would have when they awoke in the morning and saw the pink bag full of sugar-plums, the little lead soldiers ranged in companies in their boxes, the menageries smelling of varnished wood, and the magnificent jumping-jacks in purple and tinsel. Alas! Little Wolff knew by experience that his old miser of an aunt would send him to bed supperless, but, with childlike faith and certain of having been, all the year, as good and industrious as possible, he hoped that the Christ-Child would not forget him, and so he, too, planned to place his wooden shoes in good time in the fireplace. Midnight mass over, the worshippers departed, eager for their fun, and the band of pupils always walking two and two, and following the teacher, left the church. Now, in the porch and seated on a stone bench set in the niche of a painted arch, a child was sleeping - a child in a white woollen garment, but with his little feet bare, in spite of the cold. He was not a beggar, for his garment was white and new, and near him on the floor was a bundle of carpenter's tools. In the clear light of the stars, his face, with its closed eyes, shone with an expression of divine sweetness, and his long, curling, blond locks seemed to form a halo about his brow. But his little child's feet, made blue by the cold of this bitter December night, were pitiful to see! The boys so well clothed for the winter weather passed by quite indifferent to the unknown child; several of them, sons of the notables of the town, however, cast on the vagabond looks in which could be read all the scorn of the rich for the poor, of the well fed for the hungry. But little Wolff, coming last out of the church, stopped, deeply touched, before the beautiful sleeping child. "Oh, dear!" said the little fellow to himself, "this is frightful! This poor little one has no shoes and stockings in this bad weather - and, what is still worse, he has not even a wooden shoe to leave near him to-night while he sleeps, into which the little Christ-Child can put something good to soothe his misery." And carried away by his loving heart, Wolff drew the wooden shoe from his right foot, laid it down before the sleeping child, and, as best he could, sometimes hopping, sometimes limping with his sock wet by the snow, he went home to his aunt. "Look at the good-for-nothing!" cried the old woman, full of wrath at the sight of the shoeless boy. "What have you done with your shoe, you little villain?" Little Wolff did not know how to lie, so, although trembling with terror when he saw the rage of the old shrew, he tried to relate his adventure. But the miserly old creature only burst into a frightful fit of laughter. "Aha! So my young gentleman strips himself for the beggars. Aha! My young gentleman breaks his pair of shoes for a bare-foot! Here is something new, forsooth. Very well, since it is this way, I shall put the only shoe that is left into the chimney-place, and I'll answer for it that the Christ-Child will put in something tonight to beat you with in the morning! And you will have only a crust of bread and water to-morrow. And we shall see if the next time, you will be giving your shoes to the first vagabond that happens along And the wicked woman having boxed the ears of the poor little fellow, made him climb up into the loft where he had his wretched cubbyhole.

Desolate, the child went to bed in the dark and soon fell asleep, but his pillow was wet with tears.

But behold! the next morning when the old woman, awakened early by the cold, went downstairs - oh, wonder of wonders - she saw the big chimney filled with shining toys, bags of magnificent bonbons, and riches of every sort, and standing out in front of all this treasure, was the right wooden shoe which the boy had given to the little vagabond, yes, and beside it, the one which she had placed in the chimney to hold the bunch of switches. As little Wolff, attracted by the cries of his aunt, stood in an ecstasy of childish delight before the splendid Christmas gifts, shouts of laughter were heard outside. The woman and child ran out to see what all this meant, and behold! all the gossips of the town were standing around the public fountain. What could have happened? Oh, a most ridiculous and extraordinary thing! The children of the richest men in the town, whom their parents had planned to surprise with the most beautiful presents had found only switches in their shoes! Then the old woman and the child thinking of all the riches in their chimney were filled with fear. But suddenly they saw the priest appear, his countenance full of astonishment. Just above the bench placed near the door of the church, in the very spot where, the night before, a child in a white garment and with bare feet, in spite of the cold, had rested his lovely head, the priest had found a circlet of gold imbedded in the old stones. Then, they all crossed themselves devoutly, perceiving that this beautiful sleeping child with the carpenter's tools had been Jesus of Nazareth himself, who had come back for one hour just as he had been when he used to work in the home of his parents; and reverently they bowed before this miracle,

which the good God had done to reward the faith and the love of a little child.


Written By

Elizabeth Harrison

Everybody had those gifts that meant so much to them, here's

a few that I will always cherish receiving, oh the memories.

Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle- This is back when toys didn't break in a day and actually did what they said on the package. I jumped everything I could find with this toy, including the canal across from our house. As much fun as any toy I ever received, long live Evel Knievel!

Big Jim and his sports camper

I loved Big Jim and all his accessories. He was kind of a cross between G.I. Joe and Barbie. He had Kung-Fu Grip, weapons and even cool husky dogs, but like Barbie he could let his hair down and just have fun with his camping equipment and other cool stuff. I wish I knew what happened to the van. Yes I know, I did play with dolls as a boy, cool action dolls though, man!

Table Top Hockey Game

My brother already had the electric football game that we played all the time, but the hockey game was a Christmas gift to me and did I ever spend hours upon hours on it. I never really was a fan of the sport, except for the 'Miracle on Ice' of course, but I sure loved playing this game with rods that were somewhat like foosball but at a slower, more strategic pace.

Mr. Quarterback Football Passer

I know, I know, major sports theme going on here, but what can I say? When I was a kid video games were just starting and Madden was a glint in some designer's eye. When my older brother was to busy or tired of me to toss the football around, I had this baby that my mother bought for me. It really worked well. You just set the counter on the side and the timer started and then you ran the pattern and the ball came flying your direction. I got pretty good at catching passes with this sucker.

Masterpiece The Board Game

I didn't play much Clue or Sorry when I was young but my family loved Masterpiece. It was a bit like Monopoly in that you purchased items and who had the most money at the end won. In this case it was famous paintings. I remember one summer as a kid when it seemed like me and my older brother and a neighbor friend of his played almost every night until the wee hours, great game. Bonus, you actually learned about famous paintings and their artists.

Golden Gate Slot Car Racing

I don't think I got this particular one as a gift during Christmas but we always had slot car sets around and had loads of fun with them. My dad and brother would beat my brains out on sets just like this. The Golden Gate set that we had like this one was my favorite though it belonged to my brother. This set is even talked about in my new book, 'Fishing for Something'

that's how much an impact it had on me as a child.

Well that's my short list, there are so many others of course I could go on for way too long if I listed them all.

Finally, some wish lists for Santa that are hilarious!!

Good Luck With This One Santa

At Least He Or She Is Honest

Watch Out Santa, This Kid Means Business!

Max Wants Mature Stuff, Whatever That Is?

Every Child Needs Colorful Duck Tape

Honest To A Fault

Modern Convenience

The Practical Kid

Seasons Greetings Everyone

From Your

Life Fisherman

Andrew Scott Bassett

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  • Andrew Scott Bassett

Welcome to Halloween in the year of Covid-19. Remember the good old days when we wore masks because they were part of our costume and not to prevent flying viruses from killing us? Yeah, me too. For the homeowners' brave enough and the parents unafraid, maybe we can have some 'safe' trick or treating. Safety will be the key word for this year's Halloween, if there is one to speak of. Safety during trick or treating usually means checking the candy for razor blades, but not now. In the year of Covid, it takes on a whole new meaning. The little vampires, witches and superheros will now have to be safely spaced apart. And it doesn't matter if your costume character wears a mask or not. He or she does this year. All this makes me think back to simpler days when the most important thing was to have a unique and cool costume.

Remember when...

When most kids' parents didn't just run down to Walmart, Target or some other mass merchandiser like that. They didn't have to buy their kids a costume off of a rack that a thousand other children would be donning later that night. I certainly do. I also remember when parents put effort into the homemade outfits that they fashioned for their kids so they would look 'awesome' and stand out from the rest of the candy munchers out there. But that's where we are today it seems for the most part. You have two categories: costumes bought off of the assembly line at your local big box; or weak, uninspired homemade efforts that show how unimaginative parents are, or maybe how tired after working two jobs to make ends meet. There are of course exceptions to all this, but not many. Now, I often open my front door to a mass of Power Rangers, Dracula's, Teenage Ninja Turtles and Harry Potters. On the other side are the do-it-your-self costumes that should never be. If someone has to guess what your costume is, then you have failed. No, back in my day, you know the good old days that people over forty always talk about, it was all about being unique. In the small town that I grew up in you often bumped into your school friends or neighbor kids when you hit the streets for trick or treating. The last thing you wanted was to be seen with the same outfit as someone else. My mom and I would consider and plan for two to three weeks before the big day what I would wear. My dad wasn't part of this even when he was around. Dads just handed moms cash and said take care of business. But for moms, this was a big deal. They were almost like pageant moms during Halloween. The better we looked, the better they looked. And in those days, if you had a homemade costume, it was done right. Moms would paint your face, your nails, color your hair, apply the phony blood, even add scars or moles when needed. It was like you were prepping for a new movie role in the latest big-budget horror film. In those days, no one asked what you were supposed to be.

One of my greatest Halloween memories from my childhood has to do with a homemade costume that was created by my big brother and one of his best friends, Rick. They got the crazy idea to go drag. I'm talkin' wigs, padded bras, make-up, lipstick and tweed skirts. They were two of the ugliest girls you would ever see and to me, easy to spot as impostors. This was a sure risk to take on as well. In our small town, the only person in drag anyone had ever seen was Corporal Klinger from M.A.S.H. Not to mention, that these were the days when people still knew their neighbor by both face and name. I figured there was no chance that Glenn and Rick wouldn't both be spotted at every door they knocked on. No one in our neighborhood would ever think these two were girls, I was confidant. Glenn was my older brother and about sevens years my superior. He was a high schooler at the time. I was ten or eleven and begged my mom to let us follow behind Glenn and Rick as they made their way around our neighborhood. Mom relented and said yes. I think she wanted to see our neighbors laugh hysterically when they saw my brother and his friend just as much as I did. It pretty much went as planned. Our neighbors quickly figured out the ruse and belly-laughed at the sight of Glenn and Rick looking like homely step-sisters. But what made this so memorable a night was the one neighbor who didn't see through their costumes. She was one of our closest friends on the street. She was actually more a family member than a friend. Her kids were best friends with my older brother and sister, and she often baby-sat me for my parents. So for sure, she would recognize my brother and his buddy when they pounded on her door, right? She didn't have a clue. I guess she just thought that these were just two strange teenage girls, too lazy to dress up for Halloween, just trying to take care of their sugar fix. My mom and I were right behind Glenn and Rick as they conversed with our dear friend on her doorstep. Mom and I were cracking up. My brother and his mate must have talked with her for ten minutes, disguising their voices the best they could, as she had no idea. Finally, my brother came clean and pulled off his wig. His friend Rick did the same thing. Our lady friend was stunned. Fortunately for us, she had a great sense of humor and she joined in on the joke. We all just stood there laughing so hard that our sides hurt. The candy we got that night was just the icing on the cake. That Halloween had what every holiday needs to have to make it special and memorable, fun, family, and shared moments that you will never forget. Those were the days alright.


Let's celebrate with some really BAD HALLOWEEN COSTUMES!! These are so wrong in so many ways!






































Happy Candy Day Everyone, I Hope It Is Sweet, See What I Did There

Till Next Time, A Few Weeks To Be Exact

Keep Fishing For Something Better Out Of Life

Your Life Fisherman!

Andrew Scott Bassett

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  • Andrew Scott Bassett

Updated: Sep 30, 2020

In my new novel, 'Fishing for Something', I have a scene that has to do with the preferences that fish have for one style of music over another. The scene is based on actual events that happened to my brother and I when we were vacationing on a houseboat on Lake Powell. In real life, my older brother and I were attempting to catch fish off of the side of the houseboat on a very hot summer day. We had been told by our elders that the lake was full of catfish just ready to give their lives for our evening supper. Several hours passed, and we had barely a bite on either of our lines and with the sun beating down, we were becoming more desperate by the minute. Glenn, my brother, thought that the fish didn't appreciate our choices in music. He had been playing 8-tracks. Yeah, I said 8-tracks, of his favorite 70's rock groups: Eagles, Steve Miller Band, Elton John, Wings, Alice Cooper, and many other tunes were bouncing across the waves of the lake that summer day. The whole time, we were bopping and rocking to the crocodile rock. We began to think that there were no fish in the lake. What to do, what to do? My brother and I wondered if we turned the tunes off, would they bite? Nearly an hour of silence later, and still no fish. Maybe the adults had lied to us, maybe there just weren't really any fish in this otherworldly lake. Then, one of us got the brilliant idea that maybe like our military father, the fish just simply didn't like rock and roll. Dear dad was a connoisseur of country from way back. Glenn and I began to look through the collection of tapes. Too many years have passed since that fateful day so I can't recall which one of us came across the music that would always haunt us from that day forward, as we entered our own version of the Twilight Zone.

Glenn put an 8-track on and then we both waited to see. Why we picked the greatest hits of Eddy Arnold, I'll never know. It could have been because of his soothing, mellow style of songs. It might have been the yodeling that frequented many of his classics. I'm not really sure to tell you the truth. All I can tell you is what I witnessed that day, so many years ago. In a matter of only a few minutes our poles started to bend and our fishing lines were attacked like an army was invading. Eddy Arnold seemed to have the ability to yodel fish right out of the water and into our boat. Of course, we challenged the authenticity of the strange happenings by turning Eddy off and throwing our rock and roll tapes back on. But guess what? Each time we did the fish stopped biting and the poles went back to being straight. We experimented over and over again. Eagles tape in and Eddy Arnold out, and nothing. Eagles tape out and Eddy Arnold tape back in, here come the fish. My brother and I half expected to see Rod Serling describing our events from a small raft at the side of our houseboat. The entire time we were on the houseboat that week it worked the same way. Neither Glenn or I have tried it since. My guess is we don't want to give up the magical memories of that week on Lake Powell by trying Eddy out on the open water and having the fish not storming our lines like all those years before. We caught lightening in the bottle that week, and rarely can you catch lightening twice. But I will say thanks Eddy, and I know many reading this or my book will question the truth of the story. It's kind of like saying you saw Bigfoot, only you for sure know if you did or not. I can't say I have listened to Eddy Arnold much since way back then. I can say I have listened to many of the old rock and rollers that were so miserable at helping us catch fish on Lake Powell. But even today, when I hear the name Eddy Arnold, I smile and recall a time with my brother when we both were fortunate enough to have entered, the Twilight Zone.

Here Are Some Of The Greatest Songs About Fishing, Not Necessarily Will They Help You Catch Fish, Like Eddy did, but you'll have a good time either way.

In No Particular Order:

"Bad Day Fishin"- Billy Currington Country

"Gone Fishin" - Louis Armstrong & Bing Crosby Pop

"Talkin Fishin Blues" - Woody Guthrie Folk

"I'm Going To Go Fishin" - Dr. John Blues & Pop

"I'm Going To Miss Her" - Brad Paisley Country

"With Every Wish" - Bruce Springsteen Rock

"The Fishin hole" - Andy Griffith Country

"John The Fisherman" - Primus Rock

"A Pirate Looks At Forty" - Jimmy Buffett









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