December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

It's shortly after eight o'clock on Christmas morning. The sun is shining. The snow is melting. The day looks bright and happy.
I'm sitting in the empty newsroom of The Bristol Press, while my wife is off at the American Legion to write about a breakfast there for the homeless and down-and-out. My children are there, too, playing Christmas carols on the trumpet and piccolo for entertainment.
In a little while, I'll go over, too, and see if I help out in some way. But from the number of cars out front on Hooker Court, I don't think they're short of hands. Those old veterans are amazingly generous with their time and money. You can't help admiring that.
With the possibility of both of our jobs vanishing next month, Santa was a bit skimpy this year, but I know that's true for millions of households around the country, many of whom are in far more dire shape than we are. We're sitting pretty by comparison.
Besides, we have reason for optimism.
There are ever more rumors here that the Journal Inquirer's interest in acquiring The Bristol Press and the New Britain Herald has gone beyond simply considering the option. Some say a deal has been struck, which I cannot verify.
I hope that's true, of course, because the JI has managed to hold on tight to its journalistic mission and stayed true to its readers through these hard years for newspapers. As an owner, it would be worlds better than the Journal Register Co., the current owner, which has long specialized in abusing its papers, employees and communities.
So on this Christmas, I look around at the silent newsroom and I wonder if it will fall dark forever next month or if the new year will bring the kinds of change for which many of us have yearned for what seems like an eternity.
I'm counting on Santa to have one last present in his bag, for us at this little daily and for the people we serve, in this historic city in the middle of Connecticut.
Whatever happens, I do hope that everyone reading this feels the joy of the season and can find the hope that it embodies for a brighter future full of peace and plenty.
Those old veterans serving up breakfast, those men and women who have seen too much of war and death in their time, understand that the future we all want is going to come one tiny miracle at a time. In getting up early to help the neediest this Christmas morning, they are doing what they can to make that happen, as we all should, on this day -- and all days.
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at


Have a Cool Yule! said...

It's all going to work out for you and Jackie, Steve.

Whatever may happen, your family will survive. Stay focused on your craft. You are both extremely talented communicators. The world needs more skilled communicators like you and Jackie. Always set your goals high and then work to exceed them. Your destiny is in your own hands, not the hands of corporations and publishers. Think beyond the "job" and beyond the "paycheck" to really feel the confidence that comes along with being in control of your own destiny. Sometimes a fresh start is all it takes to improve one's lot in life.

Peace, Felicity, and Feliz Navidad!

May all you bloggers out there have a fine 2009 and remember these words...

“Wise men put their trust in ideas and not in circumstances” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Love all, trust a few." ~ William Shakespeare

Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement. ~ Alfred Adler

Anonymous said...

...and I patiently wait for the update (from Steve) on what great deeds the American Legion (aka Art Ward campaign) has planned for today.

john cullen said...

Good Morning and Merry Christmas Steve,

You gave many in the Bristol community a very pleasant - well, how about interesting and useful - gift this year.

It was the kind or gift that "kept on giving", and taking, and bonding, and dividing, and irritating and educating...

I imagine that some of the 'contributors' may have grown weary of the battering and senselessness of the dialogue at times and said to themselves, "My head hurts from this Blog. I just don't think it's worth it." And who could blame them.

You never let the comments go too far, and bore the greatest level of negativity regarding, among other things, your sensibilities, intelligence, effort and political bent, especially of late, save that thrown at a few select politicians.

And yet you persisted to diligently attempt to inform and ignite communication for this community. And that has been to our great benefit.

I can't help but think that many who utilize this blog would agree that your gift has been a genuine expression of your concern for and belief in Bristol. Here's back at you, at least from this 'user'.

Good things don't always happen to good people, but they generally do happen to people who care an put forth effort, as you have. I sense things will work out for you and yours, and here's my wish that will happen swiftly.

Stay well and thank you,

john cullen

Tim Gamache said...

My sincerest thanks to Steve and Jackie(hope you get that one last Christmas gift as well) and to their children Kiernan and Mary for volunteering their Christmas morning to come and provide entertainment(Mary also taught me the difference between a piccolo and a flute).May your new year be everything you hope.

Anonymous said...

That is perhaps one of the best pieces you have ever written Mr.Collins! I feel like I am in that empty press room with you! Is it the season, the dire straights or are you just getting better? Whatever, Merry Christmas to you and your family and I hope you will write a similar piece next Christmas as well. Maybe you should write a novel!

mediaman said...


Thanks for reminding us why we need a local newspaper. It provides a voice for what is happening in the city that we love. Put aside the politics and the cronic naysayers and you see what a truly great city we live in. It is not perfect but it is for the most part filled with good hearted people and a sense of community.

My best to you, Jackie and your family. At a time when no one would blame you and Jackie for focusing inward you choose to have your entire family focus on the community you serve.

I hope that 2009 brings news of the sale of the Bristol Press to someone who can move it forward and realize its potential.

Merry Christmas to all and wishes for a Happy New Year.

Rest ofthe Season said...

9:36am - I think that all of the other posters have summed up the sense that your ignorance might, unfortunately, continue well into 2009 and beyond but the essence of your negative postings have little bearing on the good works of the fine people throughout this great city.
By the way, must be that you had your head stuck hiding in one of the trash barrels at the Legion breakfast this morning, if you were there at all, otherwise you would know of the contributions and compassion of the 100, plus, individuals who banded together to assist others.
Ooops, say that you weren't there? No need to apologize, your ignorance speaks for you.
Hope that you never need the assistance of others although it might allow you to comprehend.
Have a nice Day.

Anonymous said...

December 25, 2008 8:02 PM:

LOL, you complately prove the point of the poster you are criticizing.

But let me assure you how wonderful you are and how in awe we should all be of your righteousness.

Anonymous said...

December 25, 2008 8:02 PM:

No one said that anyone has a problem with the Legion activists serving breakfast to the downtown derelicts once a year and walking away believing that they've done a great service to society. Some just don't believe it's worth a front page story especially when many of the other service organizations do as much or more for the city. It's the apparent infatuation with the political wing of the organization by the said reporter and the editor that dismays some. And in addition the small-ness of yourself after the way in which you see yourself as such a big individual is very hypocritical.

Frank said...

Merry Christmas to all our veterans! Thank you for everything.

Anonymous said...


You have my deepest sympathy. Only a mean-spirted, cold and cynical person such as yourself could twist Steve's Christmas message and the kidness of all those volunteers around enough to take a cheap shot. Nice! And I thought the Grinch lived in Whoville, but then he grew a bigger heart....obviously, no such luck for you. I wish you happiness, peace and joy in the coming New Year. It sure sounds like you could use it. Happy Holidays to you (and to you and Jackie too Steve!).

Anonymous said...

Why when a certain group gets together ONCE A YEAR for a personsal "feel-good-about-ourselves" fest that almost makes no benefit to society what-so-ever, it gets front page coverage in the Bristol dePress? While on the other hand others are doing things for people all year 'round AND there are numerous and much more beneficial programs paid for by the tax payers that provide a solution rather than just a one day "band-aide", does the paper and the proprietors of the said event find it necessary to give/get front page coverage? Perhaps this is one reason the Press is dying?

Anonymous said...

Do veterans and society as a whole a real favor; CLOSE THE BAR.

Anonymous said...

How very sad and very, very small some of you are. Some nice people got together and did a good thing, and all you can do is criticize and condemn. If you don't think people volunteering their time on Christmas morning warrants a story in the paper....DON'T READ IT. If you think some of them were only in it for recognition....TOO BAD. At least they got their asses out of bed and tried to help. Guess no good deed goes unpunished, huh?

Anonymous said...

"Do veterans and society as a whole a real favor; CLOSE THE BAR."

Have you ever been there? For some of the folks who frequent it, it's the only place they can go to socialize with their friends. Many are elderly, handicapped, widowed or just lonely, and most of the folks there would give you the shirt off their back. So if you truly want to do the veterans and society as a whole a REAL favor....why not just zip it?

Anonymous said...

How can you stand it, Steve?
First you have to fend off all those jerks who complain about no good news in the paper, and then when there is some, you get slammed for not reporting the RIGHT good news.
What a place.
For the record, I am an avid Press reader and I know that there has been ample coverage of all the other social service organizations that serve the needy in town, thanks to the reporters who care enough to do it.
So to anonymous poster of 9:21 a.m. today, how nice of you to take a dump all over Steve's Christmas message. Greetings of the season to you, too.

Anonymous said...

This started out as Steve reflecting on what he and his family were doing Christmas morning and it turned into ... Well we know what it turned into. The point of the post was to wish a Merry Christmas so let's leave it at that. Many good folks do many good things and your efforts are appreciated. Again, thanks Steve for a nice piece.

Amazed said...

ignorance and indifference can only breed contempt; quite obvious that those who cannot see the goodness in this Christmas activity are those who are either frustrated with their own lack of ability to step up and help others or are bogged down in their own ego-driven self righteousness.
either of which serves no positive purpose in life - the holders of these characteristics need to get one.