Merry Christmas, a Continuing Happy Chanukkah and Happy New Year By John Gambino

To all

Maybe I am a bit greedy but I do like Christmas falling on a Sunday. Not only do I take care of my Sunday Mass obligation and Christmas obligation in one mere hour, I also get a chance to relax from the close of business today and spend some true reflective time on the meaning of the season. Normally it is rush, rush, rush – but this year we have family that has already arrived and we get to spend a lot of time together. Sure, there will be travelling as well but it just seems easier to have Saturday, Sunday and Monday off, and I get to recharge my batteries.

Personally, I had another great year working for RB Jones. We have built a nice team here and the comradery is a wonderful thing to look forward to when getting on the subway system. Family is all good and my health is in surprisingly  good shape for a fat old guy. I am blessed and I hope that you can all say the same for your situations. If not, I hope 2023 brings an improvement to your situation.

So this year I give thanks to my family, my friends, my colleagues and of course my Creator. Life is pretty darn good.

I’ve been having some problems with my right knee but, as I write this today, I feel better and better. I have no idea what happened but it could be gout. I was surprised to hear that possibility of a diagnosis as I thought that only affected old fat guys and I still think (wrongly) that I fit neither category. Ha ha.

But having struggled (just slightly) for a month, I have a totally new appreciation of what physical handicaps can do to one’s physical and mental well-being. Travelling into NYC took longer and there were some days that the elevators and escalators in the NYC subway system did not work. That was frustrating. But my ailment was temporary. For people who have a permanent issue, I now sympathize much more. And it is empathy that makes the world a better place. The old chestnut that you never know another    person’s life until you walk a mile in their shoes is quite profound. If mankind did this each and every day, we could achieve a paradise on earth. Sharing of ideas instead of shouting the other person down or cutting them off from contact because one disagrees with their thought process is detrimental to an open society, social discourse and plain old friendship. We do not need to agree, but we should agree to listen.

Changing back to the issue of walking in another’s shoes, my admiration for Frank Siller, who founded the Tunnels to Tower organization, and those that work in the organization, grows by leaps and bounds each and every year. He has been all over the TV in the last month and the work they do for veterans, police, fire and other service organizations is incredible. I cannot watch one of those commercials without being moved and this year I am beginning to contribute to this worthy cause. I suggest you check them out as they have a 98% charity score per Charity Navigator. Our service personnel and the families they have or have left behind need our support. And at this time of the year, when we think back on some verses of the bible we remember that we are asked to love one another as we love ourselves and are also told that greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. Not many of us are ever called to this selfless act but for those that do this for us, our support is one way of paying back the debt we have incurred to these brave men, women and families.

So in parting, have a wonderful and blessed holiday and a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year filled with much love and empathy.

Your friend