Christmas Eve 2008.
Doesn’t feel like it from here this morning.
Most years, I’ve spent the week between Christmas and New Years safely cocooned at The Clanton Hacienda. Most years, we’ve been bundled up like Eskimos in Texas, a laughingly futile attempt at southerners to dress like northerners when the temps drop below 50.
Today as I write this, it’s a muggy, moist 71-degrees.
No snow angels again this year, just slush bunnies.
I haven’t hit too many stores this season.
Sorry retailers, but the recession caught up with our family just like everyone else. There are two gift certificates, an article of clothing, and maybe some perfume on my very short Christmas List.
I’ve found that as the years pass, the best presents are the presence of family and friends. That may sound corny, but we lost some pretty good friends in 2008. Some of them close, some of them not so much bosom-buddies as they were valuable for their dependability. People who made up the tapestry of life by always being there, always participating in activities, always providing a word of encouragement or cheer.
Both of my parents are still living, and are healthy. All of their immediate siblings are still alive and active. This year’s family Holiday gathering boasted three new additions of great-nephews to the clan, as the circle remains unbroken and growing.
It’s been said that the tough times are what makes us appreciate the good times. I never had a problem appreciating when things are flush; I don’t particularly care for the forced-appreciation that the lean times impose, but I am thankful that I am here to notice the difference.
So we wind-down the business of life this week, and what follows will be seven days of fallowness between the holidays of Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Even in stasis, the days will be valuable if we use them to contemplate and plan, reflect and regroup, and prepare to assault 2009 with all the enthusiasm and optimism we can muster, because Buster, we’re going to need it.