Today as I pumped gas into my car the nozzle bit at my skin with its frozen metal, and snow pellets pelted my eyes like the BB guns forewarned in my youth. It was windy, it was grey, and it was making me wish I had opted for a warmer coat as I left the house. The gas station, in an effort to force Christmas joy into its customerâ€™s lives, had turned its music volume to eleven. The crooner was singing, â€œItâ€™s the best time of the yearâ€¦â€ I laughed as I tried not to leave a patch of skin frozen to the metal nozzle. Perspective. Itâ€™s all about perspective.
Despite my recent blog about the joys of simplifying holiday dÃ©cor, my husband did put up strings of Christmas lights around the garage and front door. I held the ladder and prayed he wouldnâ€™t lose his balance as he stretched beyond a comfortable reach to attach the little plastic clips onto the shingles. Admittedly, the lights are pretty and comforting as the short days turn into long nights, so thank you, lover, for forcing the issue.
On a holiday roll, he asked me yesterday when we should go forth and cut down ye old family Christmas tree. (Itâ€™s hard not to think about the Griswoldâ€™s venture– ala National Lampoonâ€™s Christmas Vacation– to get the perfect tree. After a freezing walk into the wilderness they discover they had forgotten an ax or saw. Then, the next scene shows the family driving home with the tree on the roof of the car complete with roots. Hilarious.) Since Iâ€™m not sure when I want to tackle the production of a Christmas tree, I shrugged with an obvious air of ambivalence.
â€œHow about before Christmas?â€ he said with a certain amount of snark. Geez! Hold the manâ€™s ladder and he thinks he is Mister Holiday.
Decorating demons (I am not referring to my husband) aside, I did come across this photo of my son and daughter on Santaâ€™s lap circa 1989. I believe the photo shoot was held at the Senior Citizenâ€™s building where a long line of cranky kids and even crankier adults shuffled forward as though their long johns had bunched in all the wrong places. No amount of sugar tamed the frenzy to see Santa, and no amount of â€œSanta is watching you be naughtyâ€ threats held sway. My kids were, of course, angels through it all, but letâ€™s just say it was an experience best held only once a year.
Every time I see that picture I smile. What was going through their minds as they sat on the strange manâ€™s lap? Did they want to be there, or did I coerce them? I think they enjoyed it, but their faces donâ€™t look exactly ecstatic. Remember Moon Boots?
The years! The years go by so quickly, but I have this small Polaroid memory to hang on to. So bring on the too-loud Christmas music as I pump my gas! Let Mother Nature blast me with snow and cold! Plan for the endless supply of pine needles in every nook and cranny! I have my past, and thank you Lord, my present. The reminder, in fading shades of Polaroid magic, was the best part of my day.