Christmas Lights (tf)

It’s December and it’s finally getting cold out. The week of Thanksgiving was very disconcerting. T-shirt weather. People taking advantage by putting up their Christmas decorations sans outer wear. Took the fun out of it for me. I recall having to take off gloves to fiddle with lights….and having about 30 seconds or so before my fingers turned into immovable claws. My father had this peculiar habit of choosing the coldest day of the year to put up the lights. I swear he did it on purpose. And he loved every minute of it. I miss him still. I suspect I always will.

Thanksgiving passed uneventfully. A nice meal with family. An assortment of pies and toppings. Myself and my father-in-law sitting on the couch after dinner and both falling asleep while sitting up. Football on the TV. That whole turkey makes you sleepy thing I guess. Much to be thankful for. I don’t verbalize it as much as I should. But when you’re warm and well-fed and your kids are healthy and your dog is lying in front of the fireplace without a care in the world, there’s not much to bitch about. There’s no telling what adventures are ahead, but for now at least, a sort of contentment.

Some nights I stand on the front porch and take deep breaths. That chilled air feels nice in the lungs. I like how darkness descends earlier in winter. More time to see the stars. The main road has Xmas lights on the telephone poles. It’s nice. We should all take deep breaths more often and look at the lights, wherever they may be.

My daughter is 9 and started getting a little suspicious about Santa last year. He left her a note and she noticed how Santa’s handwriting looked strangely familiar to my own. The bubble burst this year for sure. Wasn’t helped by her answering the door and seeing the Fedex guy with hands full of booty……all from her list. Oh well, you do what you can….and then you just stutter your way out of it. In a way I think she’s kinda relieved. As they get older I think kids are kinda creeped out over some stranger breaking and entering every year. And having to explain away how Santa gets in without a chimney to slide down was getting old. I was never able to keep my stories straight.

Our house is decorated. Tree up. Lights functioning. No strands out, always a bonus. The Xmas afghan hangs on the back of the couch. That’s when I really know ’tis the season. I can wrap myself up in that thing and sleep the way sleep was meant to be. The perfect way to rest up for those 8 hours in bed.

I have a small office in the basement. It’s the only room in the house where I’m allowed decorating privileges. The place is a bit of a mess actually. Books are everywhere. The surface of my desk is buried under layers of papers and diet soda cans. The walls are covered with everything from a famous portrait of Abraham Lincoln, a world atlas, pictures of various pubs in Ireland that are named after me (well….at least the family), and drawings from my kids. But hung around the room are Christmas lights. I put them up a few years ago and decided to not take them down. Nothing is more depressing than taking down Christmas lights.

Who says you have to?

–Tom Flannery

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~ by admin on December 2, 2011.

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