Here we are at that special time of year that every child from 2 to 182 looks forward to from the second of January. Well maybe not that much… then again… maybe. Yet here I am just a bump on a log or in the road as it may be. I am about as into this Christmas season as Scrooge or maybe the Grinch I haven‘t really decided yet. I know what you’re saying, maybe; I don’t know this is just too much pressure. How could I not be in the mood or whatever you call that great upbeat feeling you get when you even just think about Christmas? That my friend is the question of the year or maybe decade because I don’t ever remember not just loving this time of year. Yes I know that sounds weird coming from me but I have to say that all the memories I have of this time of year have always been me just being a happy go lucky Merry Christmas to everyone kind of person. I may not have always shown that on the outside but not like I ever cared what anyone saw on the outside.
That does not explain why this year I seem to be this way, you know the Scrooge, Grinch kind of cross breed. Hmm the Scrooge that stole Christmas, or would it be the Grinch Christmas carol. Just how do you think Scrooge would go about Who Ville stealing presents or would he just up all the rent and charge triple interest on any loans he had made? Then if that were so how much damage do you think the Grinch would make in London? You don’t think he would make it to the Palace do you and if by chance he did would he make it past the Royal guard? I just don’t get it this year I guess and I will just have to live by it. It all seems like way too much work to try and change it now, especially when it’s Christmas Eve and I should be elsewhere, but where? Maybe, I do need the snow, last year there was more snow here than in any one time in over forty years. Now I am not saying that I was perfectly in the mood after it snowed but it sure as heck seemed to help. Oh well I have resolved myself to be just a grump and let it go at that.
I have even ticked people off that I did not mean to tick off and okay so some I did mean to but not all of them. One even got so mad at something I said they unfriended me. Ok so unfriended is not a word but like I care, that it is not a word that is. Some might say I have an attitude problem… well I got to say this… in the immortal words of Richard Miles once owner proprietor of what was the Outside Inn and my former boss and friend… I don’t have an attitude problem… I just don’t (blankety, blank) care! I do care that I have made that one person so mad that they did that deed, I tried not to, I even explained that they should not read into what I was trying to tell them, but they must have anyway. I guess that just shows to go ya, you just never can tell anyone something they don’t want to hear. You think I would have learned that lesson over the years but maybe I needed to be reminded of it more than re learn it. Well there it is my Christmas…. all messed up and loving life okay I would maybe do something like end it all… not really… that just sounds like way too much work for me… and I am so not wanting anymore work right now. Yeah, you might say I think I have enough to do to keep busy, not that I am doing all the things that I should be doing and that they are all getting done. I just have it all to do that’s all I am saying. Look don’t pressure me or keep asking why, I am the one writing this aren’t I? Always with the questions you people are… who do you think I am Mr. Answer phone or something like that? No I am not so when you don’t get the right answers… oh, wait sorry this is Christmas… or Christ’s’ mass if you prefer, the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. I will not go into it all now I am very sure you all know the story. Okay yeah so this time of year was once a pagan holiday or party time however you want to claim it but you know I have to hand it to them early Christian leaders that may have been the ones who coined the words if you can’t beat ’em change ‘em wait that might be convert ‘em I don’t know for sure but hey why fight them if you can give them another reason to celebrate right?
After watching the snow fall on some of my old friends in the east this year I first wanted to find Al Gore to ask him how much electricity his house was using in this snow and if he was shoveling his driveway or having it plowed or blown out. Okay maybe not but it did trigger a memory of a fall afternoon that I thought maybe would help me and maybe shed a little something on this Christmas Day. I was reminded of a couple I met once in Clemson, South Carolina in the lounge of the Holiday Inn. I had spent about two weeks there and it was my third weekend at the hotel.
There were all kinds of people that would sit around at the tables and just having a drink after work and I was one of them during my stay there and it was some of these wonderful people I met that got me to try grits, now for the life of me I wish I could remember their names so that I could thank them for that. Oh not that I miraculously liked grits but it helped to allow me to be introduced to many things that I would like later in my life.
I do remember that some of these people were just everyday people and there were of course the higher brow that would pass in and out especially on the weekends. I remember sharing drinks and appetizers with gentlemen from the NCAA, once or twice famous football players, of which I wish I could remember their names. Not so that I could out them here in this essay, but just so that I could remember them. I do remember that everyone I mean everyone I met was or seemed to me, the just out of the woods boy from a village so tiny you sneeze the village says bless you, like some of the nicest people I would ever meet all in one place. Stop asking me what does this have to do with Christmas, man I am getting there just shut up and let me finish geezzz, sorry, I mean hang in there old bean I will get to it. They were all just great genuine people and sometimes you just know when you’re being fed bull and when you’re not. The best thing I think I ever learned about living in and out of hotels and motels during that time is that you don’t have to put on an air about whom or what you are. We were all from somewhere and mostly not from there so it is so much easier to just be yourself and not worry about anything else. We would sit at the table at night and have a drink or two and maybe tell a few jokes and what or why we happened to be there. There were about ten of us that were there during the time I was. They were mostly linesmen putting in either cable or power lines I am not sure which and it doesn’t matter at this point or even then. I was there for the college babes… well only if they were in sorority that is; okay so I was there for the frat boys too. Oh get over yourself I was a photographer then remember… any way I was working for a composite company that would go to… well you get the idea right?
We the ten or so of us were sitting around swapping jokes and trading ideas about this or that when this nice looking couple came in and sat down near us. Now it was only a matter of time before one of us would make them engage in a conversation with us especially since we were ten or so guys and the couple, having the only female in the lounge at that time besides the bartender and we had all heard her story. So we needed or wanted new blood. Now, now don’t get your mind in any kind of gutter we were all polite and the only thing we wanted were stories. Any way…. After learning their names of course we needed to know what brought them to Clemson in the fall. Now I am not going to tell you that I remember their names and everything about them but the jest of it was that they were moving to town and were there looking for a house. She if I remember correctly had no claim to as to what she was looking for, she was kind of like me when it comes to a place to live, when I see it I know and it works. He on the other hand after finding fault with more than thirty houses was a whole nother problem. It seemed that he was a Christmas nut, you know the kind there is one in every family or neighborhood. The one that has all the lights, decorations and not a window is missed kind of Christmas person. To say that he was big on Christmas was an understatement, his most important criteria for finding a house that he could or would live in? Anyone know this one? That’s right where is the Christmas tree going to be and would it look right in that spot. It only went downhill from there as far as that went, now if by chance the house had a good spot for a tree the next thought was if he could put a big enough tree in that spot if not the house was out. If there wasn’t a front lawn the house was out, if it did it needed to be big enough to decorate properly, if not the house was out. A fireplace was next; of course so that Santa could come down the chimney if it did not the house was out. The next question of course was obvious, and that was how many children they had, she raised her hand and made an o with her index finger and thumb as he stammered a bit and blushed and admitted to none but that they did hope for them. Of course we all laughed and even poked a little fun at him, but in the end we all agreed there had to be a place for Christmas in every house. We toasted them and ourselves and even though Christmas was more than a month away as they left we wished them good luck in their search as well as wishing them a very Merry Christmas.
So to you my family and friends and family of friends and friends of family I want to know that it really matters little whether or not you can get into the season just as long as you remember the season and the reason. Christmas is not just for the child it is also for the inner child in each of us. Raise your voices and sing the songs, raise your cups to offer a toast, and remember that the savior was born and it is his birth that brings this holiday. Enjoy your day, be you Santa or Scrooge it matters only that he is in your heart and in your prayers amen.

December 2009


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