The Day After Christmas, December 26, 2017


The time after Christmas and before New Year’s Day is a period where we have an opportunity to look back as the year ends.  We should also look ahead with hope for the New Year.

Most importantly use the holidays to enjoy the company of family and friends, taking time to enjoy the little pleasures of life.







Christmas Day, December 25, 2017


Tammy got a promotion to Manager of the Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, NY office of Through The Byzantine Gate.  She’s on winter break enjoying time with her little dogs Fabia and Julietta. 

We wish you a Christmas filled with love, peace and happiness and a Happy New Year.

With best wishes,

–Sammy Serrapede, Jr.
–EmilyAnn Frances May


Vi auguriamo un Natale pieno di amore, pace e felicita e un felice Anno Nuovo.

Con i migliori auguri,

–Sabbatino Serrapede
–Emilianna Francesca May








Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, December 24-25, 2017


We Three Kings of Orient Are

We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts we traverse afar
Field and fountain, moor and mountain
Following yonder star 

O Star of wonder, star of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to thy Perfect Light 

Born a King on Bethlehem’s plain
Gold I bring to crown Him again
King forever, ceasing never
Over us all to reign 

O Star of wonder, star of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to Thy perfect light 

Frankincense to offer have I
Incense owns a Deity nigh
Prayer and praising, all men raising
Worship Him, God most high 

O Star of wonder, star of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to Thy perfect light 

Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes of life of gathering gloom
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb
O Star of wonder, star of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to Thy perfect light 

Glorious now behold Him arise
King and God and Sacrifice
Alleluia, Alleluia
Earth to heav’n replies 

O Star of wonder, star of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to Thy perfect light 

–Rev. John Henry Hopkins, 1857



 Silhouette of Three Wise Men and the Star of Bethlehem
Public Domain Clip via Pinterest

“We Three Kings of Orient Are”
Carol by Rev. John Henry Hopkins, 1857
Public Domain

“We Three Kings of Orient Are”



Christmas Break 2017: The Dyker Heights Lights

Christmas 2017

Every year I return to the neighborhood where I grew up.  As I walk up and down the blocks to the heart of Dyker Heights many memories come back.  Some happy, some sad.  Overall I still admire the beauty, the seclusion and the sense of continuity that flows through the area.  This is especially true when I return at Christmas.  As I get closer to the area between 80th to 84 Streets between 11th to 13th Avenues, the entire landscape transforms into an electric Christmas wonderland.

This year the lighting displays were more subdued.  There were no animated figures or loud music.  The crowds were absent, too.  This made this year closer and more intimate for me.  Small groups of people, many with children, congregated in front of the mini-mansions for fabulous photo ops.  As soon as the flash went off, though, they moved on and as a result the sidewalks were easily navigated.

The mini-mansions looked beautiful and grand this year.  What I liked the most was that the smaller houses, similar in size to the one I grew up in, also had a chance to shine with well thought out ornaments, displays and lights.  I decided to take pictures of these homes with just a few of the mini-mansions.  I hope you enjoy this short tour of the neighborhood where I grew up.  In the year ahead you will learn more about Dyker Heights as the story of the lives of my Mom and maternal Grandparents continues to unfold.

The photos I took may be reused freely.  A link back to this blog would be a great way to say “Thanks!”

Dyker Heights Christmas Lights 2017







Christmas 2017: Update on Mike, Katy and Jake


Christmas 2017-Jake

Jake Lingle, December 21, 2017.

Uncle Sammy and Aunt Kathie are headed for Baltimore, Maryland today.  They will spend Christmas with the Knipp and Lingle families.

Aunt Kathie anticipates more hugs and cuddles with her grandson Jake.  Jake was born in February 2017 to her son Michael and daughter-in-law Katy.

Michael sent the latest photo of Jake.  I think I see a little of Aunt Kathie in that bright smile!

Merry Christmas to the Knipp and Lingle families!


Previous Posts about Michael, Katy and Jake

Michael and Katy’s Wedding, Baltimore, MD, June 11, 2016

Baltimore June 10-12, 2016

41e-Baby Lingle is coming February 2017!

Interlude: Jake’s First Halloween




Winter Solstice, December 21, 2017


The month of crescent moons and indigo flamed candles.
Of burning sage and twinkling hooded lights flickering in frosted windows.
Of chipped nail varnish and lips chapped with bitter cold.
Of darkened mornings with knitted scarves wrapped beneath pink noses and wet lashes.
Of lonely evergreens and sleigh bells a distant howl in the wind.

—“December” by Juniper Montgomery


Public Domain
Snowflake Vector

Poem by Juniper Montgomery
November 2014
Public Doman


Christmas in Agropoli 2017

Cousin Michael Muro is spending the Christmas holiday in Agropoli.  His flight was late due to falling snow.  This necessitated Michael flying from Pittsburgh to Newark.  From Newark he flew to Toronto.  Then from Toronto to Rome.  He arrived safely in Agropoli this past Tuesday.

Michael told me via email it was raining when he first arrived.  He wasn’t able to get too many photos but I think the ones he sent give us a glimpse into how the town is decorated for the holidays.  I was very surprised to see the inflatable igloos and Santas that have been placed along some of the ancient streets.  We have similar inflatable displays here in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, New York, too.

Michael is staying with the Carnicelli family and plans to spend some time with Giuseppe and Vincenzo.  If time and schedules permit he will also visit other relatives.

Thank you, Michael for sending us these photos.  Merry Christmas to you, the Carnicelli family and all our extended family in Agropoli and Calabria.

–Sammy, Jr.


Michael is visiting the Carnicelli family.  From right to left:  Gerardo Carnicelli, zio Antonio Carnicelli, Maria and daughter Danielle(friends of Gerardo).


Michael is in the center of this large, lighted gift box in the Piazza of Agropoli.


Christmas tree made of lights in Piazza of Agropoli.



Christmas market in Agropoli.


Inflatable igloo and Santa’s helper located on one of the streets of Agropoli.


Another inflatable outdoor display forms an arch over one of the streets in Agropoli.