Archive for Thursday, December 11, 2003

Bits and Pieces

Holiday spirit buried in tinsel and trimmings

December 11, 2003

Remember when we used to get those Western Auto fliers in the newspaper before Christmas? The ones that always had a picture of Santa on the front riding into town in his sleigh? He was usually front and center on the cover, and tucked in and around him were all the precious objects that could be purchased for Christmas.
It was one-stop shopping, with everything available from sleds and Red Flyer wagons to skates, and, yes, even drill sets and new tires for Dad. I don't remember if there was anything for Mom. Kitchen appliances and Pyrex dishes didn't interest me much at that time.
What I'm getting at is that Christmas just isn't the same, or maybe my memories of Christmas are better than the reality. Christmas often brings, along with good cheer and holly, unrealistic expectations and fantasies. It reminds me of my son when he was thirteen, lying on the couch having a dark mood as we decorated the tree for Christmas. When asked the cause of his mood, he didn't reply. He only grunted.
After moping around the house all day he finally said, "You know, Christmas just isn't as much fun when you know you won't be getting a gun-and-holster set for Christmas."
The end of childhood and the beginning of reality.
Mine seems to have come a little later -- about 50 years, actually. Trying to keep the memories of "Christmas past" fresh and keep a handle on unrealistic expectations for "Christmas present" seems harder each year.
My family wants to know what I want for Christmas, and I can't really give them any good ideas. I suggested new hand towels for the bathroom, or maybe a book or Pyrex dish. Last year all I wanted was a ladder. I do love to shop for my family and my grandchildren, and I do that all year because it helps on a retired person's income.
As for myself, I really can't tell them anything I want. They nixed the idea of the towels. They said I never tell them any fun ideas, and they were tired of getting such things as kitchen utensils and new water faucets. I did mention that I would like a new house over in the Wakarusa addition across the street, but that was a little much, I guess.
Other than that, two of my Christmas wishes have already been fulfilled. The first is the fact that the American Cancer Society Relay for Life will continue this year because of two energetic and committed individuals (Eric Strimple and Debbie Campbell) who have stepped up to lead the event and are now planning the Relay.
Another gift is the continuation of the Christmas home tour, which will be Sunday afternoon. Tickets may be purchased at Eudora City Hall, from Julie Stewart, or at Holy Family Catholic Church at the beginning of the tour Sunday. The proceeds will benefit the Eudora Ministerial Alliance's food pantry, which responds to those in need in our community during this time as well as throughout the year.
Maybe Christmas is not about presents but about many things that have meaning other than what comes wrapped in a box -- especially if it's new underwear.
Such things as a card from a friend you haven't heard from in a year, or an unexpected compliment, or hug from a friend or relative you have been on the "outs" with, or a phone call from a grown child who doesn't want anything except a little conversation. Ah, yes, maybe Christmas is a little bit more.
Borrowing the words of Dr. Suess' Grinch, who in spite of all his shenanigans didn't stop the real meaning of Christmas from coming to Who-ville:
"It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
"It came without packages, boxes or bags!
"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store.
"Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!"
John Gilroy, a longtime member of the Eudora community died Nov. 29. John and his wife, Pauline, lived in Eudora since 1954, raising a family of seven children -- five girls and two boys. Many of us knew John through Holy Family Church, where he attended Mass daily.
In addition to being a father and carpenter, John was also a Bible scholar and was well-read in religion. I came to know John when he remodeled the office where I worked in Lawrence. He quickly became a favorite with the office staff, which enjoyed his humor and wit. Our sympathy is with Pauline and his family. John will be missed.

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