I remember this time of the year as a special time with young children playing around the house, excited and full of anticipation waiting for Santa’s arrival. But since my own kids have grown, left their safe harbor for college and careers beyond, it just isn’t the same. No longer is there time for the whole family to search for that perfect Christmas tree, judging and debating which tree would look best in the living room corner – and afterwards spending the evening decorating it with our children’s handmade ornaments saved from elementary school Christmas projects.Seldom do we drive around town after the Christmas Eve church service to “ohhh” and “ahhh’ at the houses illuminated with festive colors, first began when it was the only way to get the little ones asleep on the “night before”. And no longer do we frantically wrap the presents after the children fell asleep so they could magically appear under the Christmas tree - just as Santa would had left them. Now it is gift cards and frantic after Christmas shopping - looking for those special bargains on items too expensive or frivolous to purchase during the rest of the year.
But it is not all lost traditions. There are new ones. Now every Christmas day the family Skype’s with sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles living back east - while still learning the social protocols of visiting long distance in this strange and curious way. Then afterwards we help serve dinner with friends at Community Meals which always reminds us of the special meaning of Christmas.
And whether traditions are lost or gained, my wife and I can be thankful our kids will again be home for Christmas, because we know some day they will be far away creating Christmas traditions with their own families. And we will be left with memories, although faded and torn around the edges, of the wonder and joy of many Christmas pasts. Then one day - maybe, just maybe – it will all return with the sound of little feet once again running around the house as the grandkids come to visit their grandpa and grandma during this special time of the year.
The Hardshell Harmony will be playing their entertaining brand of bluegrass next Tuesday the 27th for those who are looking for something to do between Christmas and New Years. And tonight if you have all your Christmas shopping completed, wrapped and shipped, Truman will be playing his country favorites. The doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00 and you can skedaddle home by 9:00. Everyone is invited and donations are always appreciated.
During the week after Christmas most of the activities at the Center are cancelled, leaving time to catch up on some painting, cleaning and basic maintenance (and for one of Santa’s elves - or maybe a whole crew - to clean out my office before someone gets hurt.) More specifically, there will not be Bingo this Thursday night the 22nd or on Christmas Eve. Also Meals-on- Wheels will not be serving lunch this coming Friday before Christmas, but will be serving on the Monday after Christmas. The Center will be open both days. And on Monday, January 2nd, both Meals-on-Wheels and the Center will be closed to watch the Rose Bowl and root for the home team! (But no predictions this year - my cockiness has not done me well in the past!)
George Gipp, who is purported to have said “Win one for the gipper”, played for the University of Notre Dame and was portrayed by Ronald Reagan in the movie “Knute Rockne, All American”. (From the ten correct responses, Jess BIrge was the winner of five quilt raffle tickets)
For this week’s “Remember When” question, how about a Christmas quote and a chance to win a $10 bingo packet for Saturday Night Bingo. What was the name of the 1954 movie where two army buddies try to save the lodge run and owned by their WWII commanding officer? (In the movie Phil Davis says to Bob Wallace “When what's left of you gets around to what's left to be gotten, what's left to be gotten won't be worth getting, whatever it is you've got left.” and Bob replies “When I figure out what that means I'll come up with a crushing reply.”) Email your answer to the firstname.lastname@example.org, call 541-296-4788 or bring it to the Center with a box of phonograph record of songs written by Irving Berlin”.
Well, it’s been another week counting my many blessings. Until we meet again, may all of you have a very merry Christmas.