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A Glitch Steals Christmas by Phyllis Marchese

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Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Each year we try to share a Christmas greeting with you, created by one of the many talents among the James family. This year, Phyllis Ann Phillips-Marchese shares a Christmas story from her past – A Glitch Steals Christmas. From the entire James family to you and yours, a Merry Christmas for us all.

A Glitch Steals Christmas

When I was a youngster, I read a lot of books, heard endless radio programs, and saw countless movies about Christmas. There was a certain similarity in all of those tales. Wishes and prayers magically came true. Santa Claus always had the ‘requested’ gifts for everyone. They were wrapped, tagged and tied with big, bright red bows. Families would get together to share their blessings and the joy of the Christmas season. Separated couples would reunite, exhausted battle weary soldiers would return from wars in far off lands. Lonely people would find their perfect mate. Miracles, miracles, they were everywhere! Even on 34th Street in New York City! Peace and love covered the globe.

That never happened in our family. Something seemed to take a bit of the warmth out of our family gatherings. There was always a glitch or two, no matter how well those special occasions were planned.

In my vivid memories, one of those holiday glitches was the year we had the most unusual Christmas tree in the neighborhood. My Uncle Bud came to our house a few days before Christmas. The plan was for him and my Dad to go shopping for our Christmas tree. After a light lunch, they were off to find a tree. They must have looked for the perfect tree, because they didn’t get home until 10:30 that night.

They went straight to their task with vigor. The tree stand and the lights came out of the storage boxes. Bud held the tree while Dad, on his hands and knees, tried to get it centered and level. There were some orders given to Bud to hold the tree straight while Dad twisted and turned the screws into the trunk. Bud told Dad that he was doing it wrong because the tree was leaning. Dad told Bud that it was because he wasn’t holding it straight. After some name calling and a few expletives, Dad got up off his knees. He became keenly aware that the trunk of the tree resembled the S-curve on Lake Shore Drive. Off to the cellar they went, in search of a rope, ladder, a large nail and a hook. Bud held the ladder while Dad used a spike (they couldn’t find a large nail) to tap on the ceiling to find a joist. After a few trips up and down the ladder, and a number of tries, the hook was inserted. The rope was securely tied to the tree, and the two men raised the tree until they felt it was hanging straight.

That was the one and only time that the tree was placed in front of the sofa instead of the bay window, its traditional setting. It was the year that I can truly say “Santa put our presents under the tree.” I added a few new words to my limited vocabulary that night. New Years’ Day was going to be celebrated at our home with my grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins. The tree was taken down the day after Christmas. It was lowered down to the floor, and the rest of that week was spent patching and painting the ceiling and walls.      –  A holiday glitch.

Phyllis Marchese with husband Pete
Pete & Phyllis Marchese

Now let us fast forward about twenty years. My family, my siblings, and all the nieces and nephews are at my parents’ home for our traditional Christmas Eve. I bought a new crystal punch bowl. It sat in a brass rack with twenty-four matching cups. It was to hold the gourmet eggnog that I created at home. I used two quarts of cream, whipped into lovely little peaks. Milk, vanilla beans, fresh ground nutmeg, cinnamon sticks, a simple sugar syrup, and farm fresh eggs were added. I thought I had the perfect combinations of spices and texture. My ten-year-old niece was intrigued with it. She took the glass ladle and started to stir the eggnog. I asked her not to do that. Her mother, my oldest sister informed me that I had spoken too abruptly to her little girl. That is when the little “darling” stirred it faster and the ladle went through the side of the bowl. All of the food on the table was covered in a soft, rather sticky, flowing, white blanket. The floor was also covered with it. –  A glitch.

Another Christmas Eve, my nephews were hanging around outside my parents’ home. They were playing in the snow, waiting to open the presents under the tree. We had just purchased a new Corvair and it was parked in my parents’ driveway. Unknown to us, the fifteen-year-old, had been in our car and played with the floor mounted stick shift. We called them in to open the gifts. A few minutes later, the neighbor across the street knocked on the door to tell us that our Corvair had just torn down his fence, his garage door and smashed his car that was parked inside the garage. Try explaining that to the insurance company.  –  Another glitch.

Before my big night, Christmas Eve at my home, I started to watch the cooking shows on television. I wanted it to be as perfect as possible. One of the tips was to peel the celery on the appetizer tray. That would make it tender and much more palatable. A little granddaughter was getting some new teeth. I gave her a celery stick like I gave to my children at that age. It feels so cool and soothing on sore gums according to Dr. Spock. Her new teeth were sharper than I thought they were. Panic came over the room when she started to choke and turn a peculiar shade of blue. My son saved the day, and his kid, by giving her a variation of the Heimlich maneuver.   –  Another glitch.

Three years later on Christmas Eve, my one-year-old granddaughter had her arm broken. My formal dinner was delayed a few hours while the little one had her cast put on in the emergency room. Her parents didn’t partake in that Christmas feast. They chose to go straight home from the hospital.  –  A glitch.

I am now nearly two decades older, I cannot wait to see what Christmas surprises I have this year!

You’re invited to send us your Christmas stories.

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Tuesday July 27th, 2021
Stray Leaves


"how comes then,that a slave from the james family,back to jesse james,funeral.who was devoted to jesse.was also by the side of j.frank dalton,who claimed to be jesse james?And also senator clark,really the founder of LA! and jesse and frank,photo evidence of high degree freemasons.Jesse was not killed by bob ford.after the alleged killing of jesse,years later,frank was known to have visited bob ford, who had a saloon near a gold rush route. The jesse body that was photographed,and later buried,that was not jesse.It was charlie bigelow,who had infiltrated the james gang,and was a pinkerton informer,because two older bigelows,sit in graves side by side,and both graves show exact same death date. no-body really knows, but the ages on the grave stones of the 2 bigelows could have been charlies uncle and his father. And maybe killed by the james gang. the DNA evidence in the 80s was doubtful.others were buried buried in the same area,they did not find jesse james body,or grave. all they found was a tooth! I suspect jesse james junior,is the son of charlie bigelow. I dont know who this man is but jesse held a position of power in the US,years after he is dead.And had a hand in the assasination of lincoln, and maybe later US presidents,jesse was not a banker, but paid cash for big railroads,and copper mines,as william c.clark.US senator,and was one of the richest and most powerful men, in the US.J frank dalton told a few months before he died, everything, Dont believe? J for jesse, frank for his brother. Dalton for his mothers maiden name. but jesse james mother was not named Dalton. it was j.frank daltons cryptic clue.his mothers maiden name was cole,but she was adopted by another family,dalton. and its really the same as when jesse was so they say killed.jesse laid his gun down on the table,and bob ford shot him in the head from behind,All his friends knew jesse was not dead.Because jesse always put his guns on when he woke up,all who knew him would know jesse is not dead. so it was someone with the name hines,who went to pay his taxes,and was investigated,and found to actualy be jesse evans, a member of the james gang. who finally told jesse and billy the kid were still alive. jesse i think 12 years older than billy. you can see a picture on line of j frank dalton( as an old man) with brushy bill roberts,who admitted to be billy the kid,had his own story as one of the rough riders,and he is listed in theodore roosevelts rough riders. there is a photo a year or two before dalton died,and you can see his friend billy, and his child hood friend a black slave from his family there too.older than jesse.could it just be a co-incidence,that jesse james mother was attacked and had her arm or hand blown off,in attempts to find jesse,and later in the 1940s,investigations were made into the william c.clarke family,and one of the family screamed because old grandmother clarke,by then dead.Also had the same arm missing? jesse faked his own death twice,as jesse and as william c.clarke. his daughter when he was william c.clarke,became a recluse.she had married a man,but when her father died(jesse), it his rumoured after his death as william c.clarke,he came back after some time and told his daughter the truth,he was jesse james. clarke a rich man who lived in high society,was jesse james.she could not accept it,divorced her husband,and became a recluse. the assasination of lincoln by john wilkes booth was a conspiracy of those who still were true to the south. jesse and frank involved. Lincoln was was shot,but seriously injured,too weak to move him so far,so he was taken to the closest boarding house. And to an empty but rented room. to die. the room was though already rented. the name on the room, was william clark. wilkes booth killed after escaping but not. a soldier was set up to be killed in his place. john wilkes booth was also a freemason. wilkes booth died in 1901,as he had become a drunk and a liability,who could expose the truth,As to who controlled america at that time. jesse arranged a meeting and shot john wilkes booth.to protect the brotherhood. "
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That's impossible to read for a whole bunch of reasons.


Saturday July 24th, 2021
Stray Leaves

MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW THEIR COUSINS, let alone stay in touch with them. Frank & Jesse James have more than 70,000 actual cousins documented in Stray Leaves’ "Genealogy Search" database. Most living people who appear in the database as their cousins don’t even know they are related to Frank & Jesse. But here’s an important cousin clue. If someone strenuously or vociferously claims to be related to Frank & Jesse James, the likelihood is, they are not. Happy National Cousin’s Day, cousins! See MoreSee Less

MOST PEOPLE DONT KNOW THEIR COUSINS, let alone stay in touch with them. Frank & Jesse James have more than 70,000 actual cousins documented in Stray Leaves Genealogy Search database. Most living people who appear in the database as their cousins dont even know they are related to Frank & Jesse. But heres an important cousin clue. If someone strenuously or vociferously claims to be related to Frank & Jesse James, the likelihood is, they are not. Happy National Cousin’s Day, cousins!
Sunday July 18th, 2021
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DO YOU KNOW THIS LOCATION? Cole Younger was an occasional visitor here. But Cole’s host was not named Warden.Every day is a great day to come to the Warden’s House, but today we have balloons! 🎈⭐️ Tours every Thursday-Sunday at 1pm, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm. Come see us! See MoreSee Less

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Thursday July 15th, 2021
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UNDERSTANDING THE TRAIL OF TEARS AS CHICKASAW & CHOCTAW HISTORY . . .NOT AS U.S. HISTORY. First, we stray leaves must grasp the fact that the ancestral Anglo blood that flows in our veins from the time of our arrival in America in the early 1600s through the American Revolution is the same blood that directed the course of the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations among the descendants of Benjamin James Sr. the lawyer and Indian trader and his children Benjamin James Jr. "of the Choctaw Nation" and his sister Susannah James who married James Holmes Colbert, a Chief of the Chickasaw Nation. This, too, is our story.

In this, our story, we see our enthusiastic defense for a growing nation in the War of 1812 betrayed and deceived by expulsion to the Trail of Tears. We see the separation of our Choctaw and Chickasaw families in the West and the surrounding turmoil that engulfed them. We learn how our distrust of the U.S. Government folded us into the Confederacy. Lastly, we perceive ourselves as men of fortitude and women of power. We possess an enduring ancestral skill to put intelligence in the service of leadership, education, and conflict resolution. Our story is a legacy for peace and progress.

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