Fruitcake and shame

I used to think I knew holiday stress.  I was wrong.  Turns out all those years of scrambling around to buy presents, decorate the house, and plan the dysfunctional family meal were nothing.  Doing all of that stuff “for the last time” in a house that is being systematically dismantled for a January departure is whole different kettle of egg nog.

We’ve got dueling To-Do lists this year.  Get rid of the furniture vs. host Christmas dinner.  Send Christmas cards vs. send the cat to be inspected by a USDA approved veterinarian.  I could go on.

The one thing that is quite a bit easier, however, is gifts.  We’re being extra generous this year.

“Merry Christmas, here’s a couch!”

“You’re like a step-nephew to me, have an electric guitar.”

“Someday you’re going to grow up and meet the woman who steals your heart the way your mother did mine.  One thing will lead to another and suddenly you’ll need a lawnmower like this one.  Merry Christmas boy!”

As for receiving gifts, that’s simply not possible I’m afraid.  We won’t have room in the Jeep for food processors with 17 bonus attachments.

Suddenly all of those animated television specials about the true meaning of Christmas seem to resonate in ways that they didn’t the first 48 times I watched.

And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?

I promise to write a post about the rents and prices we’ll be paying down in Loreto very soon.  But right now, as you can tell, my mind is on things that aren’t things.  Kids and grandkids who are doing their best to keep their chins up.  Mothers who just want us to be safe.  Friends and co-workers looking on with varying degrees of excitement, envy and concern in their hearts.  You, continuing to provide encouragement and support even as you ponder your own best way to find better days ahead.  Diana, currently asleep at my side, but soon to awaken to another day of worrying about all of the above as only a mother will.  And my Dad, getting ready to leave the country for the first time since fighting in the Korean war.

The Holidays have a way of putting everything under a magnifying glass.  As if what we’re trying to pull off here weren’t already big enough.  Whenever I get truly overwhelmed though, I just think of watching the Super Bowl–hopefully involving the Denver Broncos–over fish tacos and cold Do Equis beer.  It works for a while.

In the meantime Happy Holidays to everyone.  And thanks again for being such great friends and confidantes in 2012.



5 thoughts on “Fruitcake and shame

  1. Great to hear from you John! Was just thinking about how things were going for you this weekend. I’ve been researching my “exploratory” trip for the Spring and figuring out the whole “gotta make a living no matter where we land” exercise. I realize these are crazy times for you and Diana, but try to actually “enjoy” the process because it will make for good conversation and memories when you’re enjoying that taco and beer next summer.
    And thank you for helping keep me motivated in 2012. Your story and writings continue to inspire me. Have a great holiday yard sale!!! 🙂 Hope we can meet in 2013.
    Cheers, Kew.

  2. Hi John! My husband, Alan and I are so looking forward to meeting You, Diana and your Dad in February! The invitation to stay at your house in Loreto for a week truly feels like a once once in a lifetime trip! Passports still have to be obtained, warm weather clothing has to be purchased and plane tickets!!!! Thanks goodness for Mike who keeps saying, “you have plenty of time!” Moving is so stressful, just keep your eye on the prize! A beautiful house on the Sea of Cortez! Have a wonderful Christmas and we’ll see you in February!!!

    • Bonnie,
      Looking forward to having you and Alan in our new home. Hoping it’s everything Di and I think it is. After all, we’ve spent a grand total of 10 minutes inside it. Mike and Dad will be there two or three days before us. Hopefully it doesn’t look like Mikes place by the time we arrive!

  3. Once again, I’m impressed with you and your writing talents. I look forward to your updates for the sheer wit and intelligence that is near impossible to find nowadays. 🙂

    Best of luck and cheers!

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