Saturday, December 26, 2009

Twas a Good Christmas

There was the waking of teenagers
At 6:30 a.m.
And the shushed eager squeals
Of kids filled to the brim
With great expectations
For what was below
'Neath the round Christmas tree
With its lights all aglow.

And at last it was time
For the children to tumble
And rush down staircase
To open their bundles
Of colorful packages
All wrapped in red
And in green and in gold
In a Christmassy spread.

The parents smiled broadly
As three pairs of eyes
Widened and widened
With glee and surprise.
They paused for a moment
Before joyfully leaping
And into the gifts
The dove without speaking.

The wrapping was tossed
And the ribbons were torn
The box tops were ripped off
Quite quickly that morn
And with calls of delight
And excited embraces
Many thanks came out flowing
From those glowing faces

There were toys, there were clothes
A brand spankin' new game
And plenty of odd things
That can't really be named
There were presents from Santa,
From Dad and from Mom
From brother and sister
And one gift for the dog.

When the last of the wrapping
Had been thrown away
And every last gift
Had been opened that day,
We all gathered 'round
The prepared kitchen table
To eat Christmas breakfast
And thank God we were able.

And as we said grace
And I looked all around
At my family so dear
With their heads all bowed down,
I thought that a holiday
Named after someone
Should celebrate him
Not the holiday's fun
Or the presents or gifts
Or the food or the lights
Why it should be about
That very first Christmas night:

When a small little babe
With still wrinkled skin
All covered in straw
In a dark, chilly den
Was being watched by his mother
And her husband beside
Wiping tear-streaked cheeks
From when she had cried.
And that baby so small
Would be called the lamb
Of the king who held all
The world in his hands.

That must have been
The best Christmas of all
The one when Christ was
The one reason to call
To all a good night
Merry Christmas to all!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thank You Spell-Check

Today is the first official day of Christmas break. However exciting as that may be, I'm not thinking about Christmas right now. I'm not wondering when I will actually kick myself out of the house and finally purchase some cheaply priced gifts for my family, otherwise known as Christmas shopping. I'm not considering watching my seventeenth Christmas movie of the season. I'm not even worrying about sending cards to distant friends. No, today I've set my mind on greater things ... like where the world would be without spell-check.

Honestly, have you ever considered the catastrophes that would ensue if authors, journalists, historians, lawyers, insurance agents, politicians, and others were at the mercy of documents that had not been spell-checked? Fights would erupt, families would break apart, and the press would have a field-day full of grammatical errors. Stephenie Meyer would ask for her royalties and get a prophet, Christians would hate satin, daffodils would be arrested and their pistols confiscated, and the president wouldn't be allowed to except bribes.

Okay, so maybe mass hysteria is a bit of an extreme prediction, but the world is - nonetheless - safer with the existence of such an engine. So be thankful for spell-check, helping worthless spellers like me succeed since 1992.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

23 Days Left! 23 Days Left!

The rain is coming down in buckets upon buckets, cats and dogs, a flood that can be likened to that of Noah's ark. My feet are thoroughly soaked and smell rather like wet dogs, no pun intended. It's one of those days when all you can think about is curling up on the couch, tucking a blanket up around your chin, and not letting your arms wander out except to bring hot cocoa to your lips or fast-forward to the good parts of your favorite Christmas movies.

And, let's not forget that's there is just mere 23 days until Christmas! In just 23 days, my brother and sister and I will rush into the living room where an exquisitely decorated tree and some mysterious, "overnight" presents are awaiting us. Now, we're not the kind of family that treats the opening of presents with the gusto that some people posses, diving into gifts in a messy free-for-all highlighted by squeals of delight and the sound of wrapping paper being devoured. Rather, we prefer a more orderly process. Everyone takes turns opening presents, so there's no confusion as to who you'll hug when you open that fabulous American Eagle blue blouse or pull out that highly-anticipated Mario Brothers Super Smash game from its colorful bag. We can get a little carried away sometimes and suddenly have more than one pair of eager hands clawing at their gifts at a time. However, we still consider ourselves civilized. Dad even brings out a box for leftover wrapping paper and tags.

After all of the presents have been thoroughly opened, cards read and reread, and wrapping paper put in its proper place - the trash - we'll turn to the kitchen. It has been a morning without food, so even the kids help set the table while Mom scrambles eggs and whips a previously prepared breakfast pie out of the oven, a long-standing Christmas tradition in our family. The food is enjoyed by all. To add to the festive mood, all gift hats, scarves, and slippers are usually worn during breakfast.

The rest of Christmas day is dedicated to trying out new clothes and video games, putting together doll houses, and watching TV while drinking egg nog, another tradition in my family. It will be a day of pajamas, sugar cookies, and multicolored socks.

And then, Mom will start thinking about when to take down all the gorgeous decorations, Dad will start thinking about bills, my brother will have reached level 20, and I will be thinking that it all went by too fast. But let's not think so far ahead - I've got 23 days to enjoy it.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Turkey or Chicken

On November 24, I brought my mother's special table cloth to school. Folded neatly, this precious cloth sat in the back seat of the white corolla as I drove myself, my two siblings, and the sputtering car to the all-grade school in the early hours before the sun and its followers prefer to be awake. We usually only saw the table cloth on certain occasions: visits by grandparents, holidays, and the rare dinner for an out-of-town guest. With this knowledge, it seemed a little odd for it to be sitting among the dirty shoes, school bags, and bad-perfume smell that filled the car, but it did have a purpose there. Our school needed to borrow a table cloth, and we were supplying one.

You see, out of that generous holiday spirit that touches so many during this season, my school administrators decided to serve us a Thanksgiving feast yesterday, because making us show up to school that day wasn't cruel enough. A private school of about 200, grades K-12, they managed somehow to fit EVERYONE into the cramped upstairs cafeteria, teachers, students, and a few chickens. Yes, we had chicken, Price's chicken, because otherwise we'd all be sick of turkey by Thanksgiving. We were also stuck with canned corn, apple sauce made by the kindergartners (most of us thought it better for our health to not touch this particular sauce), and lumpy "smashed" potatoes all heaped upon dinky little paper plates. Of course, there weren't enough chairs for everyone, so a select few were forced to stand while they bit into fried chicken wings and stabbed at green beans with plastic forks.

Oh, and they never actually used our table cloth - somewhere between the realization that kindergartners would be eating at the tables and the lack of table coverings for all of the tables, our lovely table cloth was deemed unnecessary. I must admit, however, that the pumpkin bread baked by the middle school (eat at your own risk) was quite delicious, and bringing Mom's table cloth to school felt a just a little bit scandalous, and the day might not have been a complete waste after all. Hopefully, by the time Christmas rolls around, their won't be any turkey or chicken at my school's buffet, and I'll be at home, where all good children should be during the holidays.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Old Shows

Watching reruns of the Pink Panther this afternoon, I started contemplating the quality of TV these days. It's not enough anymore for enormous boulders to repetitively fall on a pink feline and a clueless detective, or a yellow canary with a lisp to sing off key; kids these days prefer souped up cars and teenage drama, corny puns and dumb blonds.
Personally, I loved it when a dinosaur belched in Fred Flintstone's face, a giant anvil fell out of no where onto Wiley Coyote, or Scooby Doo always complied for a Scooby Snack. Hannah Barbara and Warner Brothers were the "real deal," if you ask me. What happened to the days when simplicity and slap stick were the driving forces behind cartoons? Take me back to those Looney Toon days!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Singing in the Basement

If someone sings in a basement, and no one's within earshot, do they still make a sound?
If people hear someone singing in a basement, do they think that person is crazy?
If I just happened to waltz down the stairs into my unfinished basement today and start singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," would you stop reading this blog?
Well, I didn't, but I find the idea rather tantalizing. I'll have to try it one day. Maybe one day, I'll graduate from basement fantasies to humming in the park, and then to singing at church, and then I'll make an appearance on Oprah's and get a million dollar contract with a major music producer and belt out tunes for the world to hear. It certainly would be interesting to blog about.
For now, I'll just bore whatever poor soul is reading this with stories about singing in the basement. Anyone want to sing with me?