Man on the Town


Ah, summer. As the Fourth of July arrives, you enjoy the smell of grilling burgers. Thoughts of frankincense and myrrh are far from your mind.

As Labor Day approaches, you can’t remember if the kids go back to school before or after. Halloween begins the mad rush to New Year’s Eve.

Around the same time, the state Christmas tree makes its journey to the Capitol. This year’s tree, a 62-foot spruce, was donated by Mike and Shelly Kato of Alpena. The lighting of the tree coincides with the 32nd annual Silver Bells in the City.

The holidays are a time for me to reflect on my life, my relationships with others and the city where I choose to live. My mother was diagnosed with cancer several years back at the beginning of a holiday season and died a week before Mother’s Day the following year. Over the next few years people would ask if I was going to visit my mother during whatever holiday was approaching. It stung. I wondered why people rarely mention the dads of the world.

“Happy holidays” not only references the traditional holiday blitz, but it can also bring to light that we have different people celebrating for different reasons. Thanksgiving and Christmas are highlights of the season for most. We shouldn’t forget those who may celebrate their way. Dussehra and Diwali are Hindu holidays. Those of Jewish faith celebrate Hanukkah. Kwanzaa celebrates African culture. Ramadan, observed by Muslims, is a month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad, according to Islamic belief.

As you choose to celebrate, allow yourself to slow down and enjoy the company of others. The memories you make will last longer than your lifetime. Welcome those who follow traditions different than yours. You just might find an exciting way to enhance celebrating the holidays. Shalom. Merry Christmas. Assalamu Alaikum. Namaste.

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