All I can say is welcome to the club.
Well, here goes with mine, full blast, and when you’re finished reading, maybe you won’t feel quite so crazy anymore.
I’ll apologize ahead of time for having no mercy on my friends and family involved. I read something today to the effect of “If people wanted to be written about nicely, they should have behaved better!” (Thank you, Tom Wofford!)
Anyway, we’re trotting into the final frenzy of the season, so I thought a good laugh or two…and maybe a tear or two in the eye… would be appropriate. After all, it’s all part of it, right?
One of my very best stories involves the year I threw the Christmas tree out the front door, lights, ornaments, tinsel, stand and all and oh, it felt soooo good!
I plotted doing it, and was a little worried I wouldn’t be able to pull it off.
I considered the options for an average strength, average sized woman to do this thing for a while that day, and when it came time to do the deed, it went off without a single setback.
And let me just say I wasn’t into getting small trees at this point in my life; this was a full eight-footer.
The craziest part is I cannot for the life of me remember exactly why I had to do it. I do remember I was home alone when I did, and that it involved someone I used to know…enough said on that.
I remember it cleared the front door, the porch, and all 10 steps down into the front yard with the greatest of ease.
And I remember feeling like Superwoman when it was all said and done, and that it was so worth the trouble. I felt so much better after I was through.
I must have laughed for an hour and if I’m not mistaken, that tree lay out in the yard for quite a while.
I wanted to make sure everyone got the point of it all, whatever the point of it was, other than I’d had enough of something.
Still on the humorous side, let’s fast forward about 20 years to last Christmas.
It’s Christmas Eve; we have the two little grand girls, great-granddad, “Grand Dave,” as the girls call Gruffy, his two boys and a girlfriend, and myself assembled together.
I spent the day doing what we all do when we host anything: getting the food together, hiding the things I didn’t have time to clean up, chasing animals outside, and talking to people far away as all my family is far away; you get the picture.
After dinner, after all of everything else, we get down to gift giving time. I have assembled a mountain of gift bags (out of desperation; I truly despise those and like to wrap…) on the table and there we go.
Gruffy chimes in…”Are you sure you know who all those go to?”
“Of course I am,” I tell him, a little ticked he’d even ask after I did the shopping and the preparing. Like I wouldn’t keep it all straight.
“Me? You must me kidding.”
It’s getting late; our Christmases usually run into the wee hours, and I hand out the gift bags.
Before I know it, there stands grand girl number one, age 6; she’s torn into her bag, holding up a red and black pair of lacy underwear meant as kind of a giggle gift for our girlfriend guest, asking at the top of her lungs, “WHAT IS THIS?”
All I could do was grab them, hand her the right bag, and mumble something about a handkerchief, as I remember.
Needless to say, I was very thankful everyone in the gathering had a good sense of humor and that children are easily distracted by just about anything.
Well, here comes the tear jerker…
I had written a column one year on my birthday about how my birthday was a little different from lots of people’s and about how my mother didn’t get news of my birth like many mothers do, by being there, but from a telephone call.
That’s because I’m adopted, and the column I wrote told about how grateful I was for being chosen and for the life I had been given as a result.
I’d had it framed and wrapped as a Christmas present for my mother that year, and when I handed it to her I made her promise one thing.
“OK, this is for you, (she hadn’t read it yet; I made sure of that), but you cannot cry,” I said.
I think it scared her just a little, but she went ahead and opened it anyway.
It seemed like hours while I waited for her to read it.
Then, she turned to me, trying hard not to let the tears start, and then, there they came.
But as I’d hoped, they were happy ones, and it all turned out for the good.
That column hung over her mantle for years, until I forced myself to take it off the wall after she died Christmas Eve, seven years ago, while packing up the house.
Something in me just couldn’t take it down, even though the house had sold and my sisters were threatening to do it.
“I will, I will, just forget about it for now,” I kept saying.
It never got easy, but I had to do it. That one little thing kept tearing me up.
And I didn’t want anyone else touching it. The last person who had was, well you know who when she hung it. I wanted it to be my hands that did it.
It was the last thing I collected before leaving that house for the very last time.
I have it on a wall in our house now.
I wish it were still where it’s supposed to be.
And I wish you know who was still where I’d like her to be.
Sorry, y’all. We’re all real people and we all have people we miss extra hard this time of year.
We’ll try and focus on the good memories, the years that were, and remember, our job now is to recreate these things that were done for us for the next generations.
Like us, they’ll never forget them.
Happy holidays, y’all, and let’s hug the folks we love while we still can.