When I was little Christmas lasted precisely one day. December 25th. That was it. All that junk leading up to it, like the decorations in the stores, the tree in our house, Grandpa's elaborate model train platform were just so many torturous incidentals designed to make us kids suffer with hyper-anticipation as we waited for that all important morning when we'd run down the stairs to attack the bounty that Santa had provided. Once midnight struck to usher in December 26th the big people might as well have packed away every last ornament and festive doo-dad back into its box and carted the whole mess back into the attic where it lived throughout the rest of the year. Because Christmas, as it was to my small brain back then, was OVER! Finis! Kaput! DONE! Once the presents were out in the open, that was IT – all there was to it.
I’m not entirely sure when my childish somewhat Scrooge-like view of Christmas got turned upside down but it was sometime between when my daughters were born and now though I couldn’t put a year on it. It was a gradual realization in spite of the, “Jesus is the reason for the season,” stuff that I’d known at least on a cerebral level since I was able to talk and repeat the Bible stories I’d been told over and over. It was as if my Grinchy heart grew a little year after year somehow until it was so very easy to look beyond what was wrapped up in gaily decorated packages with my name on them to the joy of the season manifested in all different sorts of ways as it was radiated from the faces of those whom I love.
Now, thank God, when gifts are being exchanged and opened I’m so often beaming and enjoying taking pictures as I’m watching everybody opening their spoils that I have to be encouraged with a, “Dad! Open something!” before pulling on the end of a bow of a present on my pile. And, I suppose I thank God too that in some ways it took me so long to grow up (well, in most respects) on the inside even though there was some sacrifice to be made in experiencing the “magic” of Christmas along the way of becoming a grown-up.
Anyway, here I am on the 27th of December and it’s STILL Christmas! It will be for as long as I want it to be – until I finally resign myself to admitting that it’s high time for the Christmas tree to come down. It might have been in early March once, at my worst, but there isn’t a night while it’s up when I don’t spend a little time just staring at those lights and baubles with the same childlike wonder with which I studied them when I was four years old and nearly burst from the anticipation of the big day’s arrival. And there isn't a year when I don't spill a tear or two on the final night of the tree being up when I light the lights for the last time and pray fervently as my Daddy did every year at our traditional Christmas Eve dinner, "Please, Lord, may we all be here again next year," knowing all too well that while all prayers are answered, the answer isn't always the one we want.
Okay, time for the scooter stuff... I was out today riding around just for the fun of it because the air’s still relatively warm and I’m taking advantage of the chance to ride at every opportunity. I headed to the county park where I sort of officially herald the arrival of spring each year when the gates which close off access to it are opened after being locked annually at the start of winter's fury. Imagine my great delight when I discovered that the gates are still open! They’re usually closed up tight in late October or sometime at the very latest in November most years, but there they were today just as open as the pearly gates are to the righteous!
And although I wore a jacket over my tee shirt and flannel while I was riding, it was perfectly comfortable to be without it as I posed beside the scooter near the tables from which I write to the blog outdoors at times when it’s suitable to do so.
On the way back to the house I passed by a Christmas (???) display for which I had to do a quick U-turn to get some pictures of it. It’s exactly the sort of thing I would do if I had the resources for no other reason than to score the kind of reaction that I had to it in passers by.
A clearer view without me in the shot, followed by a detail portion.
And there it is, folks! Christmas goes on whether in a traditional way or in the avant-garde.
Because of a death in a family amid my circle of friends I’ll be away from the 29th through New Year’s Day, only to get home in time to pack for a week long trip that will have me visiting friends and loved ones from the 3rd through the 10th of January. If I don’t check in here till after then, I’ll see you when I get back no doubt with some pictures and tales to share.