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From The Desk Of Senator Jack Martins: December 26, 2013

Above All, We Celebrate Hope

It may not be one of the more noble holiday traditions but I guiltily admit that one of my favorite things to do at this time of year is to settle down on the couch next to the fireplace with a bag of cookies and my dog to watch the endless stream of Christmas movies on TV. My wife and kids usually shun the endeavor and remind me that we’ve watched them, literally, dozens of times before. Yet this annual ritual gives me comfort, so I continue.  

My favorite among these is A Christmas Story, which takes place circa 1940, somewhere in the midwest, and chronicles young Ralphie and his quest to obtain the ultimate Christmas gift, a Red Ryder carbine-action 200 shot range BB rifle with a compass in the stock. Despite steady objections from his mother, father and even teacher that he’ll shoot his eye out, he relentlessly pursues his dream gift with a series of clever tactics designed to subliminally plant the idea in his parents’ minds. When these efforts fail, true to childhood form, he turns in desperation to a department store Santa who dutifully warns him about shooting out his eye, then casually sends him on his way. Oh, the disillusionment.

Along the way we are treated to the trials and tribulations of childhood and the familiar stories that go with them: a mother who washes his mouth out with soap, the humiliation of having to wear pink bunny costumes given by an overbearing aunt, a spoiled younger brother who follows him around like a tail, a band of misfit friends who abandon each other at the very hint of trouble, and a frustrated but lovable dad who mutters obscenities as he fixes the boiler and wars with neighborhood dogs. Of course, who could forget his having to navigate neighborhood bullies Scott Farkus and Grover Dill and his triumphant moment of delirious liberation as he finally defends himself from their tyranny.

So why am I writing about this movie? Because it reminds us of what it was like to be a kid at Christmas, the good and the bad, warts and all. That’s why it’s a classic. It’s not about neatly wrapped, shiny packages tucked under a tree. Instead, it tells the story of everyday people with daily disappointments, frustrations and setbacks. But it also chronicles how one little boy perseveres with good humor and faith that things will work out in the end while also taking comfort in his family and friends.  Ralphie is ever hopeful and I think that sums up the spirit of Christmas.  

So while I certainly wish you a peaceful, healthy and joyful holiday season, a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, more than that I wish you a little bit of Ralphie: the ability to hope despite any challenges the new year may bring. Indeed, hope is the best gift of all.  

P.S.—Ralphie did eventually get the Red Ryder for Christmas. And he did almost shoot his eye out. So be careful.

News

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. That’s just what a Hicksville baker is doing, except in her case it isn’t lemons, but a gluten-free diet. Her lemonade stand of choice is her brand new gluten-free eatery, “Jac’s Bakeshop and Bistro,” which held its grand opening on April 12.  

“I’m a baker who can’t even eat wheat or eggs,” said owner Jaclyn Messina, chuckling at the irony.

There’s a lot you can do in 99 minutes. You could cook dinner, play a non-stop soccer game, watch a romantic comedy or hang out with Odysseus, Achilles and Hercules. If you chose the last option, Hicksville High School’s upcoming theatre production of The Iliad, The Odyssey, and All of Greek Mythology in 99 Minutes or Less  is the place for you.

The mouthful of a title says it all. The cast will take on over 80 characters as they speed through all of Greek mythology, including popular tales such as The Iliad and The Odyssey, in a little over an hour and a half.


Sports

Vito Sciascia was recently named Hicksville Soccer Club’s Volunteer of the Year at the 2014 Long Island Junior Soccer League 2014 Kick-off Convention.

Sciascia started coaching travel soccer in 1998 for a boys team, the Flash, who later changed their names to the Muddogs. He could always be found at various sporting fields trying to recruit new soccer players. He would make each of these boys feel important and there was always room for another player. He tried to never turn a child away and when other coaches were having trouble with a boy he would take them on his team, no one was ever too much for him. Sciascia found the good in all those boys and they in return respected him. He took them to many tournaments and solicited enough sponsorship so that it was never a financial burden on their families.

Cantiague Park Senior Men’s Golf League had its first tournament on Thursday April 4. Twenty golfers came out on on a crisp but sunny morning. Charlie Hong was the only man to score under a 40, with a 38 and won for low overall score. Jim O’ Brien  scored a 41, and won low overall net in a tie-breaker with Mike Guerriero.

Competition on the nine-hole course is divided into two divisions. Flight A is for players with a handicap of 13 or lower. Flight B is for players with a handicap of 14 or more. The league is a 100 percent handicap league. Any man 55 years or older is eligible for membership. We have many openings for this year, and you can sign up anytime throughout the the season.


Calendar

American Legion Meeting

April 21

HS Theater in the Round

April 24-26

Science Fair

April 26



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com