That Time of Year
I always look forward to Christmas, not for gifts or such but because it is so much fun to watch kids enjoy the gaiety of the time. Besides, people in general seem to be a little nicer, a little less impatient, and a lot more friendly.
Too bad we can’t have that attitude year around.
Decorating outside was my way of wishing passers-by a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
But I’ve noticed the last few years, I haven’t put up as many outdoor decorations as I once did. Age has a way of tightening the reins on a body.
I’m not crazy about ladders any longer—don’t trust myself up on them, and this year especially, the weather was not conducive to working outside. Did you notice how cold it was the first couple weeks of December?
That’s something else I can’t handle as I once did, the cold. In fact, I’ve started wearing a hat out in the weather. For over seventy years, I’ve gone bareheaded, but now I’ll pop on a hat to keep my head warm—just like my father and grandfathers. Who would have thought? Not me fifty years ago.
My wife, bless her, kept after me to tell her what I wanted for Christmas, but I have all I need. The Lord has been good to me and mine. I’m content to enjoy the holidays with family and friends.
As a kid, I never spent Christmas at home. We were always at my grandparents either up in the Panhandle or out of the Great Plains around Lubbock.
We were like everyone else, we had little, but since everyone had little, we never figured ourselves hard put. I can swear to this, however, no youngster ever had nicer Christmases than I did with all my cousins and family.
It was usually three or four days of utter chaos.
Twenty or thirty folks in a dinky four-room house sporting only a two-holer out back lent itself to confusion.
At any given time, women were gossiping, some were cooking, some tending babies while the men played poker or forty-two, talked business, hunted, and always made it a point to keep their throats lubricated with bonded bourbon.
The Christmas I remember most vividly as a child was the first time we stayed home for Christmas. I was in the second grade in Albuquerque. Dad was in the Navy and he couldn’t get leave. That was about 1942.
It was cold, but as I remember, we had no snow although that part of the country has more than its share. At first light, I crept into the living room and there under a tree, spotted a toy cannon about six inches long.
A wire rack on top held several wooden bullets that would drop into a small chamber. A hand crank on the side of the cannon propelled the bullet. I had a whale of a time firing at Christmas ornaments.
I slept with that little cannon.
With our own children, we’ve always stayed home and hoped the magic and joy of Christmas would fill their spirits as it did ours.
We’ve talked about an artificial tree. Every year, it gets harder and harder to run down a fresh one, haul it back, set it up straight, and decorate it.
But this year when I stepped back and looked at the tree, I told myself there was no way I could buy an artificial that was a Christmasy looking as the one at our front window this season.
I’ll keep putting decorations up outside, but I’ve got to come with some that don’t involve ladders. And I’ll just have to cross my fingers that it isn’t as cold for as long next year.
Now, it's time to break out the egg nog.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone.