Bobby Banks's Christmas
Santa sees to it... (a Christmas story)
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Reviews from
Saying Goodbye

To a Life Well Lived

  38 total reviews 
Comment by
T B Botts
Premier Author
Poet Rating
  Rank:  249
Author Rating For Short Works
  Rank:  35
Review Stars
  Rank:  47
Not yet exceptional. When the exceptional rating is reached this is highlighted
Mike, this of course deserves a six as well, but it is a moot point as so much time has passed and I would like to award them where they will hopefully help someone in a contest. I know it's all vanity, but I guess I'm a pretty vain person. How fortunate you are to have had a dad like that. What a difference it would make in the world if only more people were that way. It's a high calling and one not easily attained. I can see in your writing that your dad passed on his influence to you. I wish that I had known your dad, but I feel fortunate to get to know you in some small way. I shall continue to read what you've written and look forward to any future offerings. Have a blessed evening.


 Comment Written 06-May-2021

reply by the author on 06-May-2021
    Thank you, Tom, for your complimentary comments about this post.

    Yes, I was truly blessed to have had such a father; and my mother,
    a teacher until age seventy-eight, did her part too.

    Just so you know, real Sixes count in the ranking of individual posts, thereby affecting an author's overall rank in each genre. However, voting in contests is based solely on readers' comparison of all current entries' respective content. Consequently, withholding a Six you actually have in hope of helping someone else's contest entry is both unfair to the one deserving it and futile for the other. I appreciate your honest openness, and forgive you for not knowing this. It is not a good rating policy when reviewing, as it can do more harm than good and may upset writers more sensitive than I am.

    If you are going through a writer's entire Portfolio and see too many Six-worthy posts, it would be better for that writer if you formally review only the ones you consider most deserving of real Sixes, and comment on the others in PMs to that author. For contests, only your vote counts.

    I appreciate your continuing interest in my writing. -- Mike

reply by T B Botts on 07-May-2021
    Mike, thanks so much for taking the time to explain how this works. I didn't mean to offend by any means. Now that I know I'll be able to use them as I should. There is so much to learn here. I can almost promise it won't be the last time I screw up on here. Thanks again.


reply by the author on 07-May-2021
    You are welcome, Tom. Sixes are limited to prevent cronyism, and they are intended to be used as deserving posts appear. A Virtual Six is a Five used when the reviewer has run out of real Sixes but wants to tell an author that his or her post deserves a Six but none are left. The custom is to tell the Author in the review that the Five is a Virtual Six, so he or she will understand your intent. A Virtual Six does NOT raise the star rank of a post, but it pleases the author.

    Reviewers are not supposed to give a Virtual Six while a real Six is still in hand. If I see two posts, each worthy of a Six, but I have only one left, I give it to the post whose promotion is expiring sooner, in hope of giving the other a Six later when I have a new batch. If having a new batch will be after the second post's promotion expires, then I'll have to choose between giving a Virtual Six immediately or waiting to give a real Six when the payback will be only two FS cents. I have done both over the years.

    I am glad this happened with me instead of someone else who might not have taken it well. FanStory has been fortunate that few feuds occur here.

    Stay well. :)) -- Mike
Comment by
Premier Author
Premier Reader
Poet Rating
  Rank:  89
Author Rating For Short Works
  Rank:  182 (+1)
Script Rating
Review Stars
  Rank:  170
This work has reached the exceptional level

A beautiful tribute to your father who was an extraordinary man .. a man with a big heart that touched and made the life of everyone he met and worked with , richer.

He was the middle child of a family of 10 yet at age 19 he became the reference point and supporter for all his siblings.

an ingenious mind , an inventor, an innovator ... you have much to be proud of .. this world would be so much better if there were more people like your father .. his contribution to society is tangible

Your father's quick reaction ( a trait you inherited , no doubt) saved the day in what could easily have been a mortal accident..

He took care of his physical health and won an award at 80 ..I'm sure he was an inspiration for others at the gym. (?)

Your father's eulogy was touching mamma passed away suddenly on the 21Dec at 14.20 and was cremated on the 23rd 2006 ..I still have her ashes ..

My grandfather ( Dutch mother was Dutch born in The Hague) taught me to play chess .. it's a great game of strategy and above all it makes you think out of the box.

Your kind and thoughtful gesture towards that struggling restaurant owner ,I confess , brought me to tears and shows that you followed in your father's foot steps long before the incident with your blue Galaxie .. (you said from that point on you chose to help others )

My papa ' died one month off 87 ( sept 1929- 2017 )

I wrote my first poem 10 months later ( july2018) never been good at words , even writing a postcard was a drama for me).

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to know more about your family and yourself

I envy your loving bond with your family.

 Comment Written 31-Dec-2020

reply by the author on 31-Dec-2020
    Ciao! Thank you for your highly detailed and complimentary comments.

    If I had not already nominated you for Reviewer of the Month for your review of "Icy Blind Curve Encounter" I'd have to for this review.

    Thank you also for the always appreciated sixth star, though your comments mean far more to me.

    Yes, everyone who met my father liked him, and all my uncles an aunts (his siblings) adored him. (There were few left by the time he passed.) He did make a positive difference in the lives he touched.

    He swam those five hundred miles (805 km) of laps in a pool owned by a local synagogue. He never belonged to a gym. Swimming and walking were his regular exercises. His normal walking pace was a mile (1.6 km) every 16 minutes -- mile after mile, uphill and down. (My own walking pace is the same.)

    Your momma's sudden passing must have been a great shock to you and your family. My wife's sudden passing in May of 2001 had a similar effect.

    Your papa's age in passing was similar to my father's.

    I'm glad you had such a good relationship with your grandfather. I never knew my father's parents because they were gone long before he met my mother. I did know and like my mother's parents, but her father died when I was fourteen and her mother when I was twenty. My children had a great relationship with my wife's parents, but not much with my own parents, for reasons I never understood, as I know my parents loved them.

    You show your own caring heart in your response to the restaurant moment. Though my "Icy Blind Curve Encounter" actually was in January of 1990, and my father's passing was in December of 1992, I did what did for the restaurant owner without thought about my pledge, as I was instinctively following my father's lifetime example, which is why I then felt the joy of knowing he was still with me in spirit.

    (Just to set the record straight, the best pictures I could find were that blue '64 Galaxie in Norway. Mine was maroon with custom silver interior.)

    You say you have "never been good at words"; but there is no sign of that in your reviews of my posts. Maybe the difference is that your sincere reviews flow directly from your caring heart.

    You are welcome. I sensed that you were curious but too polite to ask.

    I appreciate your last comment. However, as long as you are still breathing, it is not too late to give and receive love of all kinds. -- Mike
Comment by
Manh C Dang
Premier Author
Poet Rating
  Rank:  199
Author Rating For Short Works
This work has reached the exceptional level
What a wonderful true-life story and a lovely tribute to your father! I love stories of immigrants coming to this country, like yours, to start life anew by working hard, as my family also came to this country as refugees in the aftermath of the Vietnam war. I marvel at your memory of specific details from such a long time ago. I truly enjoyed reading this!

 Comment Written 04-Jul-2020

reply by the author on 04-Jul-2020
    Thank you so much, Manh, for your thoughtful comments on this essay in remembrance of my dear father. Even as a child, I realized that he was unique compared to others; and to this day I feel and am grateful for his influence on me, which is the foundation of who I am today. I've always had a good memory for both events in my own life and important things told to me along the way.

    Your own family dared to make the same kind of journey into a hopefully safer but unknown place as my grandparents on both sides did about seventy-five years earlier. Now you are as American as my parents were, proving that, for those willing to assimilate, our great "melting pot" still works. Meanwhile, your family's heritage is a welcome addition to our culture here, which is what legal immigration is all about. May you and your family feel welcome here as we celebrate the founding of the only nation on Earth to have the many freedoms we here enjoy (so long as we maintain determination to keep them, despite present troubled times).

    Thank you for the much appreciated sixth star too. -- Mike

reply by Manh C Dang on 04-Jul-2020
Comment by
Premier Author
Premier Reader
Poet Rating
  Rank:  110
Author Rating For Short Works
Author Rating For Novels
Review Stars
  Rank:  274
This work has reached the exceptional level
Reading this brought tears to my eyes.
Love is evident in every word.

I never really knew my father. He died in a hunting accident before my 5th birthday. I often wonder how different my life may have been.

Beautifully done.


 Comment Written 14-Jun-2020

reply by the author on 14-Jun-2020
    Thank you, Missy. My heart goes out to you for having lost that vital part of your life so early. From what I know of you so far, I'd say that his wise and loving spirit is still guiding and protecting you, just as mine is with me. Here is a virtual hug for your tears: O
    -- Mike

reply by justafan on 14-Jun-2020
    You really are a sweetheart :)

reply by the author on 14-Jun-2020
    :)) Thank you. My father raised me to care about others, and I do.

    The poem I recited is called "The Doorway" and is in "Time to Let Go" in my Portfolio. It will bring more tears, but it may bring you some solace too. -- Mike

reply by justafan on 14-Jun-2020
    I will go walking through your beautiful word garden and set a spell and enjoy :)))

reply by the author on 14-Jun-2020
    Such a beautiful flower is always welcome in my garden of life.... :))
Comment by
Susan Larson
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Not yet exceptional. When the exceptional rating is reached this is highlighted
Mike, What a beautiful touching account of your father's life and your relationship with him. My grandparents also "got off the boat" at about the turn of the century from what was then Austria-Hungary and given a name that sounded like what the customs official thought he heard. (Penny, in Yiddish.) Some people thought I was Jewish, but to the best of my knowledge I am not. My grandmother was Greek Orthodox and my grandfather was unchurched. Don't know much else. They wouldn't talk about it. I envy that you know so much about your family.

 Comment Written 19-Aug-2019

reply by the author on 20-Aug-2019
    Thank you, Susan, for your kind and complimentary comments and your own relevant story. Yes, the "Americanized" names assigned to immigrants at that time often were stereotyped in a misleading way.

    Of course, some parents unthinkingly create a problem for their kids by naming them something they think is "cute" (clearly with little consideration of its long-term psychological effect). Here are just two real names in the phone book where I lived decades ago: Donald Duckles and Theodore Bear. Of course, those are better than the boy's name in Johnny Cash's famous song. It's just fine for you, though. :))

    One of my many cousins on my father's side researched our family history and knows a lot more than I do about it. I'm just glad my father told me stories of his life, some of which my cousin, and even my sister, didn't know. -- Mike

reply by Susan Larson on 20-Aug-2019
    When I was a camp counselor in the 60s we had the Hawk siblings, Tommy and Holly.

reply by the author on 20-Aug-2019
Comment by
Rachelle Allen
Review Stars
Not yet exceptional. When the exceptional rating is reached this is highlighted
This was absolutely beautiful and riveting, Mike. You are a living example of my favorite saying as a teacher: "You plant corn, you get corn." It's also proof of what adults have heard many times: The children are always watching what we do. I printed this story out because I want to have it close by to enjoy whenever I need an infusion of love and warmth into my day. Thank you for this treasure. xo

 Comment Written 19-Jun-2019

reply by the author on 19-Jun-2019
    Thank you so much, Rachelle, for your lovely comments and the honor of your printing it for "an infusion of love and warmth into [your] day."

    My father certainly was a unique man who lived by his principles and faith. He was a teacher in his own way too, as he taught the accounting systems he invented to the people running the stores in the chain.

    My mother was a teacher too, so I was blessed on both sides. She skipped grades (allowed at the time), graduated from high school at age thirteen, and from a three-year "Teacher's Normal School" (college) at sixteen, certified to teach grades Kindergarten through Eighth in all subjects except music, gym, and foreign language. She worked as a substitute teacher (beloved and in high demand) until age 78, when she was diagnosed with lymphoma; but she fought that off and lived cancer-free to nearly 90. At some point, I'll write her story too.

    If I had been granted advance choice of parents, I could not have picked better ones. I could feel their love every moment. -- Mike

reply by Rachelle Allen on 19-Jun-2019
    Beautiful. xo

reply by the author on 20-Jun-2019
    Thanks again. :))
Comment by
Review Stars
This work has reached the exceptional level
I loved this precious tale of your father and your family. As a Gentile, I have always had great respect for the Nation of Israel and Jews all over the world. Thanks for sharing this wonderful story. I am Geoff (sankey) working on my wife's account to get our Trip Book out she wrote. Shalom.

 Comment Written 04-Feb-2019

reply by the author on 04-Feb-2019
    Thank you so much, Geoff, for your kind comments on this post on behalf of your wife, as you are reviewing from her account.

    I am truly blessed to have had such parents, both father and mother (about whom I may write later on).

    I appreciate your viewpoint. Thank you for the extra star too. -- Mike

reply by Tootsie55 on 04-Feb-2019
    No worries we are reviewing from Louise's account hopefully to build up her Funny Money to help post her trip[ book stories from trips we have done together as disabled folks. SOme were disappointed I never said more about our trips in my recently completed biography (The Little Dog That Wouldn't Let Go) over in sankey as I did not want to "steal her thunder" as she posted about our trips in this account. This is why we have gone to the expense of paying for a year to get her stories up again so more can read them.

reply by the author on 04-Feb-2019
    Yes, Geoff, that makes sense.

    I'm sorry I've had to cut back on reviewing (which necessarily inhibits having funds for posting), as I am working full time now to help other FanStorians publish their first books. As there are only so many hours in a day, I am booked solid through the year.

    What I do is full editing, book and cover design, cover and interior art (image cleanup, processing, and combining, as needed), plus publication technicalities, but not advertising.

    However, if you just need a proofreader for your manuscript, I can recommend a good one, a self-employed professional who proofread the First Edition of my own book. Despite my own expertise in the structure of English, her sharp eye did catch a few typos NOT flagged by my advanced spelling checker because the mistyped words were real (not misspelled) but wrong for their context. Only a trained human eye can catch those, and I knew I was too close to my own work to spot them all. -- Mike

reply by Tootsie55 on 04-Feb-2019
    Thanks for the offer I am dealing with Sallyo here on FS Sally Odgers is in Tasmania our Southern Island state. Thanks all the same.

reply by the author on 04-Feb-2019
    You are welcome, Geoff. Yes, Sallyo is a lot closer to you than my friend in in Texas. I'm glad you have someone you trust. -- Mike

reply by Tootsie55 on 04-Feb-2019
    I looked at an Australian Publisher that advertises on here but I was a bit iffy about them as I had a fair idea of the secret agenda.

reply by the author on 04-Feb-2019
    I'm curious about who that is and what you think is their "secret agenda" because I have other friends who might need to know. Please tell me in a PM. Thanks.
Comment by
Review Stars
Not yet exceptional. When the exceptional rating is reached this is highlighted
You are right, your father is with you always. This is a very emotional post. It is so hard to lose a parent. Always remember the good memories and he will always be with you.

 Comment Written 22-Jan-2019

reply by the author on 22-Jan-2019
    Thank you for your kind words about this post and my father. It's hard to believe he's been gone for twenty-seven years now because I sense his presence in my life to this day. Yes, there are many cherished memories -- too many to include in this already lengthy post. My dear sister and I speak of him often. -- Mike
Comment by
Ima L. Ami
Review Stars
Not yet exceptional. When the exceptional rating is reached this is highlighted
What a beautiful story about an incredible man this is. I enjoyed reading it through and through--and then again. His love and generosity has been passed to you (and to your sister; I feel certain of that). Thank you so much for sharing this story. It's also super cool to know how three hole bricks came to be! May you be as blessed in your life as he was in his.

 Comment Written 20-Jan-2019

reply by the author on 20-Jan-2019
    Thank you, Ima, for your kind and complimentary comments about this post.

    Yes, I was truly blessed to grow up in that family, and both my parents' many siblings were all similarly loving in their own families too. What a wondrous world we'd have if more families were like that. -- Mike
Comment by
Teresa Alford
Review Stars
This work has reached the exceptional level
What a story! What an amazing man was your father. I dare say what amazing families across generations. Thank you for sharing this very moving story. TA. ";-)

 Comment Written 20-Jan-2019

reply by the author on 20-Jan-2019
    Thank you so much, Teresa, for your heartwarming comments on this essay, which I actually wrote for my sister.

    Yes, over the years it was increasingly evident to me that my father was beloved for good reason by all who knew him. My dear mother was similarly loved by all her students over the years too. She had been allowed to skip grades in public school, graduating at thirteen, and at sixteen received her teaching certificate good for all subjects in grades K through eight except gym, foreign language, and music. She taught until age 78, quitting only because she was diagnosed with lymphoma. She fought that off, though, and lived until nearly ninety without recurrence.

    Thank you also for the much appreciated extra star. -- Mike
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