If you ask anybody what their two favorite holidays are, chances are that either Thanksgiving or Christmas will be the first words out of their mouths. I have to admit that Thanksgiving and Christmas are my absolute favorite holidays, followed closely by the college football season… Hey, I know the season is four and a half months long, but ask any red-blooded SEC football fan, and they’ll tell you the same thing, after they pick your butt off the floor for asking such a STUPID question.
Some of my fondest, most cherished memories growing up were spent at home or at mom or dad’s parents (my grandparents) houses, on the floor around the Christmas tree, wrapping paper flying across the room smacking my uncles or dad in the head, the sound of my cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, sisters and parents laughing at all the hysteria that comes with Christmas morning. I still remember sitting around that HUGE white Christmas tree at my dad’s parents’ house in Marietta all those years, with about 25 people crammed in the living room, or at my mom’s parents’ house playing a game where everybody has to either roll a “1” or a “6” to get a gift, then opens it, and somebody else who rolls a “1” or “6” can either choose another gift or “steal” the gift somebody already opened…Or those Thanksgiving days at our house or my dad’s parents’, watching an entire day of football, screaming at the television set if Georgia and Georgia Tech are playing… Wait, we still do that, nevermind… some traditions NEVER die!!! 🙂
I’ll never, ever forget those memories, and they will last a lifetime, but as I have gotten older and understand what Thanksgiving and Christmas should really be about, it breaks my heart to see and hear everybody standing in line at the mall on the Friday after Thanksgiving waiting to get that perfect gift for their kids or that perfect $500 watch or necklace for their spouse. Hell, just the other night after my mom got home, I was standing there and while mom and dad were talking, the subject of money came up. Mom said something like “Well, we don’t even have the money for Christmas presents.” Let me tell you right now, you may not agree with it, but I am so damn SICK and TIRED of hearing my parents arguing about money it makes me want to PUKE!!! Damn, can’t everybody just be thankful you have a roof over your head, food to put on the table, a warm bed to sleep in and a family to come home to every night?
See, that’s what’s wrong with this society. Everybody’s so caught up in the almighty DOLLAR, that we’ve forgotten what’s important in life. Sometimes I wish we didn’t even have news channels because everywhere you look, some big millionnaire is flaunting his or her money or somebody’s bitching because they went bankrupt and lost everything. Sometimes I wish we could travel back in time to the Andy Griffith Show or Little House on the Prairie, when folks got by with very little and were happy with just a tin cup, a copper penny or the ability to go outside and shoot marbles in the driveway or take a walk to the fishing hole with your dad…
Some of you who are new to the blog may not know this, but my dad’s mom passed away from leukemia in 2005, although it had gone into remission. She and my aunt went shopping one day and after they got back home, my grandmother went back in her bedroom to take a nap and woke up because she was having trouble breathing. The ambulance came and rushed her to the emergency room, but doctors think she passed away on the way to the hospital. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about my grandmother and pray that she was still with us to this day, celebrating all the wonderful things that have happened to our family, like the birth of my cousins, birthdays, Christmases, Thanksgivings and me getting a job with the city of Marietta. Damn, she would have been so proud of everything her family has done. I can just see her face now. I miss you so much grandma and love you more with each passing day. God bless you!!!
On a couple of occasions I’ve talked about my grandpa and his valiant, courageous fight with Alzheimer’s disease. He was diagnosed abour three or four years ago and is getting worse every day. I remember when we went to eat with him and my granny (mom’s mom) about a month ago, we were getting ready to leave, and he asked whose car we were getting into… He didn’t even remember we drove up in mom’s suburban about an hour earlier. On a couple of occasions he hasn’t even remembered my name or my sisters’ names, and seeing him suffering just tears me apart inside. I feel like a part of me is dying with him. I want to remember him the way he was, when we went on a picnic at the lake for my eighth birthday, on the porch shelling peas or shucking corn with him and my granny, or eating watermelon on a hot summer day. I want to remember him putting a blade of grass between his fingers and “whistling” or making the sound of a train whistle, blowing in his fists.
THESE memories to me are what Thanksgiving and Christmas are all about. You may think I am the biggest, most selfish idiot on the planet, but the greatest gift I could receive this Thanksgiving and Christmas is to be able to just go to see my grandpa, give him and my granny a big hug and just fall to my knees and thank my GOD that He has given my grandpa one more day to spend with his family… or to visit my dad’s family and see my cousins, aunts and uncles, grandfather and grammi and catch up on what everyone has been doing since the last time we saw each other. I just want to be able to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with the people who mean the most to me, praising and worshipping my Heavenly Father for all the blessings and grace He has shown to me the past year. I want everyone to remember the TRUE REASON FOR THE SEASON: Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!!!
1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.
20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.