Beginning to look like Christmas

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The weather in SoCal has taken a nasty turn for the worse. It was 88 degrees on Wednesday afternoon at home. Yesterday it dropped to highs in the low 80’s and is cause for breaking out the winter wardrobe.

When I rode the motorcycle in to Anaheim to meet fellow blogger, Old NFO, for lunch at P. F. Chang’s, down the street from Disneyland (happiest place on Earth), I had to decide whether to wear a short or long-sleeved shirt. Such were the daunting issues of the Season yesterday.

On the home front, we’re making do, as best we can as we prepare for the onset of Christmas. Of course the time is somewhere near the middle of Hanukkah, which is only celebrated by Jews BECAUSE of Christmas. Then there is ushering in the New Year where people make vows that they have no intention of keeping.

My family is large enough with 4 daughters, sons-in-law, grandchildren and shirt-tail relatives that we celebrate one birthday party per month for everyone who has a birthday in that month. It is the only way to manage the carnage. For me and my two youngest grandsons, it’s coming up next Sunday and the fare will be pizza and salad. The birthday boy/son-in-law-to-be is still in Navy flight training and won’t be here until something like December 20, which means that we’re unlikely to save him a slice.

For some, the holiday season includes Festivus and Quaanza (of equal validity and consideration). Any excuse for a bit of over indulgence – sort of like looking up to see if the sun is over the yard arm yet.
I have not visited a shopping mall (temple of greed) this year and I doubt that I shall. It’s just too easy to drop the credit card on-line and have the junk delivered to the door. Some of the toys for my hoard of 7 grandchildren have been purchased at Costco. I picked up one jem for my four-year old grandson/namesake who is a bit aggressive – a toy compound bow with suction tipped arrows! What grandpa wouldn’t give that to his grandson — to take home…?
The tree is up, the lights twinkle, and the smell of fresh pine reminds me of deer seasons past…

Liberals howl in anger at the concept of Christmas and want to remove the holiday from the American lexicon, but it remains (if only to keep businesses open for one more year). ISIL’s minion and spouse,  attacks a county mental health facility and murders helpless workers having a Christmas Party, but tradition is stronger than ISIL thugs.

Then there is faith. You who know me personally, understand that I am a man of faith who has spent considerable time pouring over old (occasionally dusty) tomes. Study without prayer is a waste of time. Christmas and the season provides time for that as the world spins down and the phone stops ringing so often.
And on a personal note: Those of you who don’t know me personally, won’t understand that this is a weird time of year for me. I lost my younger brother on December 21, my father and step-mother on December 30, and while the month clearly isn’t cursed for me, it’s a time that assembles a number of ghosts (in a metaphorical sense) in a non-Dickensonian way. I had a couple friends die in the War on Terror (now called a ‘foreign contingency operation’ under this administration in December. One friend rolled a HUMVEE in Afghanistan and they found him ejected and laying 100 meters down slope from the road with a snapped back (motorcycle riding buddy). He lived – but that was December too. It’s a birth month for me, and a time to take stock of time spent and to plan for remaining years. In short, I feel depressed all month long. I can fight it and put lipstick on a pig when that is called for, I can decorate trees and drink eggnog, but I can also be an introvert during this time of year. And it’s been true every year for quite some time now. So mia culpa to those of you who I may offend, ignore or snap at. I usually pull out of it by January.

36 thoughts on “Beginning to look like Christmas

  1. Q: what are you looking at when you see a group of little black children stealing the hubcaps off of a Cadillac Escalade, while yet another little black child is on the sidewalk keeping a look out for the cops?

    A: A Kwaanza nativity scene.

  2. I hate to add to your gloom, but I am find it a part of my life and age group that losing friends is becoming a monthly thing. It comes along with the aging thing. BUT… there is still life in every breath and the best part of it for me is when the grandkids come through the door. The very hardest part of death is those of us who are alive. We remember and miss them too much. All I can wish for you is to stay busy with those you love and try to keep the alone time to a minimum until January. Hell, maybe you will get to shoot one of your ISIS neighbors. That should cheer you up. At lest do it for me. That would cheer me up. Or maybe an extra prayer would help.

  3. You poor bastard … low 80's. We're in the middle of a heat wave here. It's 40 degrees, raining, and melting all the snow that has fallen. But fret not, storm approaching for Sunday and Monday with snow they say.

    Don't forget that front yard Christmas Tree for your neighbors.

  4. I'll take a line or two here to wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and a Happy Birthday . . . enjoy them, they're well earned.

    You and I are both getting old enough that when you "play the tape" there's a lot to chew on. I do my best to remember that those who have been lost to various battles were where they wanted to be regardless the outcome. I suspect you have many good times to remember about them and I would gently remind you to put those memories at the top of your list.

  5. The world is a mess. The nation has some dysfunction at the top that impacts us all, but we are blessed and lucky, John. I don't even have to walk out the door to appreciate that.

  6. It's important to spread cheer through the neighborhood. Peace on Earth and all that stuff.

    I hope you don't get buried in a snow drift.

  7. I, for one, appreciate you and what you've done in your life. Your grandkids are a testament to you. The best times are yet to come, LL. Have a happy and safe Christmas.

  8. Happy upcoming birthday, LL. If I read that right, your birthday is this month – yes?

    We've (blessedly) pretty much stayed in the 40's with lots of rain. We look out the window and say, "Thank God it's not snow."

    I tell my lady friends who are experiencing a funk to embrace it. Hunker down on the couch with a trashy novel, eat chocolate, and drink martinis. I guess for you that would be zooming around on your cycles. You simply can't enjoy the good times if you don't appreciate the bad.

  9. Dear God….the low 80’s and you’re complaining. My heart bleeds.
    So long as you never don a sleeveless coat (yeah you know what I’m talking about) we can remain on good terms.

    I’d like to say “Try not to be depressed.” But that would be a pot and kettle scenario. Think of all that pizza you can eat on Sunday in your woolly jumper surrounded by people who love and treasure you. What’s better than that? Enjoy!

    As for New Years…pffft. Yeah. Well next year I vow to be really, really good.

  10. "Embrace the suck" and "the only easy day was yesterday" are part of my lexicon. But I hate getting older.

  11. There clearly aren't three wisemen and a virgin on Chicago's south side, so they have to make do with the Kwaanza celebration.

  12. The Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen are doing reasonably well against the Saudi coalition despite the presence of Saudi air supremacy. There is allegedly some sort of UN cease fire being brokered (Res. 2216). I doubt that it will work because it calls for the Houthis to disarm. Once they've done that, the Saudis will kill them…that's how it works in the real world, outside of the Washington Beltway.

  13. I understand the turmoil of the chilly weather, LL. It's quite upsetting when I can't wear flip flops predictably.

    And I'm glad you have so much boisterous family around to balance out the losses. Putting lipstick on the pig is hard– I get that. Usually worth it, though. People we love pull us out of our funk, at least for a little while.

    Remember, you can always escape to Texas if you decide to bail on the required festivities. Sometimes a person needs a spontaneous walkabout, and sometimes they owe that to themselves more than they owe anyone else anything at all. 🙂 That's what I think.

  14. Thanks for meeting me on short notice… Enjoyed the lunch. Your December is my November… And yes, give him the bow/arrows WHEN they get ready to go home 🙂

  15. True. A place you associate with work is probably not the most relaxing place for respite. Actually, if I were you, I'd go up to that hermitage in Big Sur that I love. Very peaceful, if you like silence…

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