A Promise to Keep

Dearest Ilene,

I know you’ve been a bit busy, what with your challenging journey, so you may not have had time to notice the little hints I’ve been sprinkling among my posts for the last few weeks. Earlier this year you asked me if I could, and I said that I would, and I did it just for you. I realize it’s not much, but I hope that it’s a little bit of enough. And in response to your latest blog post, THIS is what my prayers look like.




Okay, now that we’ve got the mushy part out of the way (even though I meant every word), let’s have a bit of a lark as we stroll through your village…


This is theoretically the Money Shot, but as you can see by the poor composition, there really wasn’t much money in the budget. I was dealing with a limited amount of real estate compared to prior years, so things seem a bit cramped. On the plus side, the glass doors of my partner’s mother’s Mid-Century Modern china cabinet proffers a nice reflection that makes the village seem bigger than it really is. On the not-so-plus side, the neighbor’s overpowering retro street lamp outside the window makes it seem like I live in the Yorkshire moors. Perhaps Heathcliff is out there, waiting to whisk me away. Probably not.


This is a zoom-in of the crappy Money Shot. It’s essentially the same thing, minus the china cabinet and Heathcliff, but I thought it important that we should be aware that Santa, center, seems to be stalking someone who lives in one of the limited-edition reproductions of the houses from “A Christmas Story”. This sort of puts a darker spin on his love for children, yes?


This is an aerial shot of the Restaurant District, although how this photo was taken I don’t really know. The village hasn’t owned a helicopter since the town council was rocked by a scandal in 1997, when Mayor Trump colluded with a Russian prostitute named Putina, emptying the town coffers to build a wall that nobody with any sense wanted to build. Still and all, what else says “America” like dining establishments that feature doughnuts, Mexican food, and the Golden Arches?


This is a snap of the Theatre District. Notice that we only have a total of four citizens taking advantage of the cultural offerings, and two of them seem to be escaping to another part of town. Perhaps this explains why the wrong people get elected in the country. Or maybe it’s the doughnuts. We may never know.


And here we have the local radio station, WXMS. Naturally, said station has been taken over by a behemoth, multi-national conglomerate, whose board of directors doesn’t know quality from a hole in the ground. But at least the quaint architecture of the building reminds us of a time when radio stations were actually invested in music and not forced to endlessly promote the vapid nothingness of “artists” manufactured by a focus-group committee. (Trivia: Did you know that radio and TV stations east of the Mississippi River have call letters that begin with “W”, and stations west of the Mississippi have call letters that begin with “K”? True story, swear.)


This is the “Little Italy” section of Bonnywood Village. It’s not immediately obvious that such is the case, and that’s the way the Mafia would like to keep it. Don’t ask, don’t tell, and if you see something you shouldn’t have, just keep walking and pay your bills on time. It’s all good. (And let’s not have any claims of ethnic-profiling from the viewing audience. I’m Italian, so I get a bit of a pass. Embrace and celebrate what you are, right? Or something like that.)


Another perspective, one that is somewhat unnecessary, but at least it shows our Christmas Tree in the background. Be sure to get a good gander of such before the cats lose their minds and rip it to shreds. Because you know that’s going to happen, especially if they don’t get their kibble at the precise second they feel it should be delivered.


Another aerial shot, courtesy of the mysterious helicopter funded by unknown corporate sponsors. If you look closely, you can see the battery-pack parked behind Rosita’s Cantina. This clearly destroys the illusion of the Village, especially since said battery pack is powering the blinking Christmas trees on either side of Rosita’s, trees which refused to blink on cue every time I tried to take this photo. I really need to speak to my casting director about her poor choices.


I’m just winging it now, with yet another random shot. Please ignore what looks like the beginnings of a conflagration in the upper right of the shot that could easily destroy the town. I’m sure it’s nothing. Unless that’s a reflection of the single power strip where I plugged in all 700 houses in the Village. Then we might have an issue.


A mobile home on the outskirts of town. I think this says it all about the Christmas spirit. We hope, we carry on, and we make the best of what we have. Even if all of our letters don’t light up…



40 replies »

  1. Wow. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your villagers, all 3,140 of them (roughly). A stroll down nostalgia lane for some of us too, and a return to a warmth we never saw in our own drab lives. Thank you for sharing your version of the Holidays. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. All my lights haven’t lit up in I don’t know how long – but a very, very long I don’t know how long. You learn to live with it and cherish the minimal lighting (it hides a mega-plethora of age related issues).
    Merry Christmas dear Brian.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Brian I’m totally touched and not in a pedo Santa way, but earnestly touched in the heartfelt gratitude of a friend whose kindred spirits lift mine off the ground with loud groans and laughter of the therapeutic sort. They say laughter is the best medicine and I believe every day that laughter of the right sort can righ out the wrongest of illness. My delay in comment is due to a new tumor on my tummy before entry to the intestinal tract and I’ve been on something called Taxol. It’s ground me down and spit me on the sidewalk of a dirty Dallas corner in the middle of July. Nothing funny there. Spent thanksgiving then half of December in hospital. My friends are stepping up to the plate in a way I never dreamed and as a serial giver, the hardest thing to do is accept I actually needed and need the help in a big way.

    On that note I’m impressed within your city of light by little Italy for some reason it strikes a chord. Perhaps my nyc upbringing and my dad’s flower shop on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village where we were very close to that part of downtown springs great memories of sitting in the shop and seeing Bette Midler walk in through the red light in the entryway of the store her hair alight and on fire followed by the legless assless chaps wearing leather queen on a wheelchair come in behind her to buy an orchid and an ounce of weed from my daddio.

    But more impressive: you committed whole heartedly to make me delight in pissing myself not due to lack of bladder control issues but the goodness of your love and the commit you made to cheering up a virtual friend with your very real care and very real work.

    How do I thank you for such a huge and beautiful gift? I’ll have to stick around in the consciousness of our beautiful gift of life and use my gift of words to insure that the poem I write for you brings out the beauty of the heart you extended to me with my city in a room on the tables of Bonnywood.

    Big big big kiss and huge hug all public and teary and shit.
    Love is all you need

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed this. A small part of me was wondering if you might be somewhat offended and find things a bit too schmaltzy. Good to see that my worries were unfounded.

      Sorry to hear that the Cancer Bastard jacked with your Turkey Day. He’s such a rude little fucker, knocking on the door without calling first and then hogging the spotlight. Some people just have no couth.

      I really had a great time doing the village this year. I generally do, because I’m just wired that way, but there’s always a slight aura of guilt about the proceedings, spending an extensive amount of time on something that’s usually just for me. (My partner is not very invested in the shenanigans, and the cats couldn’t care less.) Knowing I had a higher purpose this year gave everything an extra layer of magic, if you’ll excuse some more schmaltz. I spent hours carefully arranging each little figurine and pile of plastic glitter snow and you were with me in every decision.

      And I’m very pleased with the happenstance of the Little Italy section. Some of the pieces in that bit have been with me a very long time (I had to perform surgery on one of the buildings to get the damn lights to work), so I have lots of memories with that part of the neighborhood. And now I can add your memory contribution, that of The Divine Miss M and the legless leather queen scoring an orchid and an ounce.

      Laughter is, indeed, one of the best medicines. And love. Lots of love.

      Big big kiss and huge hug back at ya.




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