Saturday, November 24, 2007

Journal of a Living Lady #311

Nancy White Kelly

Our son Charlie related recently that his two-year-old son feared a big, mean elephant that supposedly hid in his closet. After bedtime, Micah would hurry down to his parent’s bedroom and, with wide open eyes, describe the monster. With his limited vocabulary, Micah demonstrated this terrorizing menace by making a huge bellowing sound and thrusting his arm away from his chin to imitate the elephant’s trunk.

Like a dutiful dad, Charlie walked Micah back to his room, examined the closet with all the seriousness of a monster detective and declared that the elephant had gone back to the wilds. Micah was satisfied and obediently went back to bed for some restful sleep.

This parental anecdote led to a conversation among Charlie’s friends about the monsters they feared when growing up. Charlie confessed that he feared the Hulk, a green giant that was popular in the early eighties. He also admitted to other fears, like being afraid of putting his feet on the floor after bedtime. He imagined that some creature far uglier than an elephant would snatch his toes for a tasty nighttime snack.

I would laugh except that it reminded me of my own childhood fears. Probably a few of you older readers remember the movie, “The Thing.” The original version was scary. I spent many nights wondering if the strange noises I heard in our old house were that post-frozen creature about to bust through my bedroom door. I also imagined that Frankenstein was in the woods, awaiting the opportunity to take my body for needed spare parts.

Like his grandmother and daddy, Micah will eventually grow out of his fears of imaginary monsters. There are too many real things for adults to concern themselves with like the drought and war.

Let us hasten to our Heavenly Father. Dear God, please bring rain and peace soon.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Journal of a Living Lady #310
Nancy White Kelly

Have we all gone insane?

A few days ago I dashed into a nearby variety store for a few household necessities. Regardless of how busy our lives are, there are some times you just have to stop and shop. Buddy doesn’t like to run out of toilet paper. I reminded him that the pilgrims managed without it. He wasn’t amused.

On that late October day, the temperature outside was unusually toasty. As the double glass doors of the store sprung open, I was greeted by loud Christmas music and a swaying Santa Claus.

What happened to Thanksgiving? Oh, I remember. Only the grocery stores commercialize Turkey Day. There is little economic motive for other establishments to promote a national day of giving thanks. But Christmas hoop-la already? To quote the famous commentator, Charlie Brown, “Good grief.”

I love the real Christmas season. My mother did too. She even birthed me on Christmas Eve. Those nostalgic memories of childhood Christmases are probably an exaggerated figment of my imagination. They were good, but never perfect. The anticipation was always greater than the day of the tree.

As a parent, I tried to create that same utopian experience for my children. Some Christmases were better than others. Each year, as I put away the decorations, I promised that next year would be different. Simpler.

Buddy and I have even considered going away in early December, maybe even out of the country, until after January 1. So much work, anxiety and expense could be avoided that way.

Of course, the real meaning of Christmas is important to Buddy and me. Yet, historians tell us that Jesus wasn’t really born on December 25th. Reality is that the birth of Christ should be celebrated all year long, not just on some man-made calendar date.

Will Christmas find us on some deserted island, far from the hustle and bustle that has already begun? That is doubtful. There is always next year or the hope of it.

In the meanwhile, the guest closet is full of items I have picked up all during the year. Nothing expensive, but quite a pile all the same. Toys, shirts, gimmicky things. Same-O. Same-O.

All I really want for Christmas is my family together. A good meal. A little laughter. Unhurried time. Fond reminiscing. If Christmas is the only time to conveniently do that, then bring it on. It is coming anyway.