December 2018

Directors Column

December 2018 

When I was small, every year at Christmastime our neighbors, the Bernstein's, would come and visit.  As I remember it, they were very nice, they were old, they liked to keep to themselves and they liked to work in their garden. And every year, during their Christmastime visit, they would bring us a packaged fruitcake.

I used to like to run my fingers down the smooth plastic coating on the cake and trace the multi-colored fruit and bulging glossy nuts that it encased. It was always dressed in a big red ribbon and I would often marvel at how heavy that red and green fruited block was compared to the relative small size of the package.

When the leftover treats of the season were over, usually then, my mother would reach into the cabinet and break the plastic seal that would last a millennia, cut into the cake and have a slice with some tea.  She and my father would finish the cake after some time, slowly and appreciatively. On one such occasions I joined them and, to my surprise, found that the cake that was received with such high regard, was simply awful!

To my immature taste buds, the candied fruit, tasted nothing like candy or fruit and the spiced cake holding up these glazed gems, left much to be desired. I found that the so called fruit was really citron boiled in a syrup then colored and brandy was then added to make it worse! 

 My unsophisticated palate had no tolerance for this. This commercially produced loaf was nothing at all like Mrs. Merkle’s homemade Christmas cookies from the old country that were dusted with sugar and pulverized nuts and filled with jam and caramel.  Even so, my parents seemed to love it.

Although I didn’t fully understand this social exchange of disgustingness, I respected the gesture. The practice continued year in and year out and over time new neighbors came and life changed as it always does.  The Bernsteins and Merkles were both long gone by now and after a long time, I remember realizing that there were three or four fruitcakes stacked up in the back of the cabinet, now in boxes with a printed ribbon on the box rather than real cloth but I imagined the same plastic coating around the cake inside. “This is old and I’m throwing it away”, I said, “Leave it” my father would say, “it doesn’t go bad”.  “It was already bad!” I thought, as I conspired a way to discard it hoping that my mother might fill the new found space with Ring Dings or Chip A’hoys.

It seemed that over the years, my parents had developed other evening snack rituals and the old fruitcake just didn’t fit in the same way that it once did.  You see, it wasn’t about frugality or food freshness but instead these cakes represented a pleasant time with friends and one bite would bring all of it back to the present moment.   So, since the cherished moments with the candied slice and tea were still were with them, the cakes stayed but as I recall, they never ate them. I remember the boxes just stayed back there all stacked up.

What they were doing wasn’t so uncommon.  Oftentimes we hold onto things for what we believe we will miss if we let them go but what we fail to realize is that what we fear we will miss is already gone. 

This desire to hold on to outdated things that no longer fit can cause clutter in our cabinets, in our minds and in our life.  This clutter takes up the space that could be used for more useful things that are currently appropriate.  We easily identify our closets filled with clothes that no longer fit our body or our lifestyle that need to go, but what about your ideas about people or things that change over time or relationships that have evolved and don’t fit your standards or beliefs in the same way.  Sometimes we hold onto ideas, emotions and things that relate to different times in our lives that don’t fit our current reality.  If you examine your thoughts without bias you may discover that many are outdated, limiting and unnecessary.  If you wish to grow and develop you need to let go of your old and outdated beliefs and accept more fitting ones.  Letting go of unnecessary and limited thoughts might not be easy at first, because you have been attached and you are afraid to lose them. However, this is not a loss, it is becoming free. Let the end of this year be a reminder to review what fits in your life and what no longer supports you.  Release it with appreciation of the joy it has brought in the past and know that the open space will usher in new ideas and experiences to relish!

Know that with faith, your core beliefs and the wisdom developed to this very moment that you can choose to let that SH*T go!!!!  :)

Wishing you and your family a very happy holiday and a blessed and prosperous New Year.













dec 2018
Text Size: A A A
Directions & Accessibility
The Retiree Division's entrance is located at 97 Hudson Street in Lower Manhattan. We are in the building of 6 Harrison Street (with the Local and the Benefit offices) on the first floor.  Click below for turn by turn directions from your home.  Be sure to check if you are traveling by public transportation or by car.  
Click here for full directions & accessibility.
Contact us
Contact the Retiree Division
Out of Area: 1-800-801-2882
Mail: CWA Local 1180 Retiree Division
           6 Harrison St.
           New York, NY 10013
Office Location: 97 Hudson St. NY, NY 10013
Click here for full directions & accessibility.
Tell us what you think!
We want to hear from you!
 Click here to send us your feedback.