Monday, December 28, 2015

Family is the best part of the holidays

I hope you are having a great holiday! Each year, I look forward to Christmas with excitement and a little trepidation. I remember we spent at least two, maybe three Thanksgivings in a row in the hospital emergency rooms when the kids were small. They were all children's medical issues (not food related, I might add.) I can't tell you how many after-Christmases we spent sick instead of pursuing after-Christmas sales. It was one such holiday I learned I was allergic to penicillin and all the drugs in the "cillin" family. I got sick the day after Christmas and was taking penicillin. I was lying on the floor, curled up in a sleeping bag, when I thought my feet and legs were being attacked by insects. I didn't think there were bugs in my sleeping bag and jumping out of it didn't seem to help. A minute later I happened to look in the bathroom mirror to see a face I didn't recognize staring back. It was about the color of a lobster and swollen beyond recognition. Obviously, I survived. I have not always been concerned about spending Christmas with family. In college, I worked for a radio station and volunteered to work a 12-hour shift Christmas Day rather than going home to be with my parents. I'm glad I did it. I learned the hard way that grocery stores are not open at 5 a.m. Christmas morning. I had planned to buy some sustenance for the long shift. In those days, all our programming was on reel tapes, on records or live and since I was going to be the only person at the station, I would not be able to leave the building. The UPI teletype wire guys had a field day around midnight sending out bulletins about Santa's progress from the North Pole on Christmas Eve. I imagined some of them had children at home who might not see daddy when they awoke on Christmas morning. Chalk one up for being single with no children on Christmas. But Christmas 2015 was glorious. We were able to see both kids and their families and my in-laws over the Christmas weekend. I was able to talk to my cousin's widow on Christmas Eve. Louise lives in northern Indiana and has children about my age. Linda and I had a great time visiting with them a few months ago and Louise and I call each other around each holiday. On Christmas Day I got to hold and "visit" with my four-month-old grandson and his brothers and sisters. On one occasion I served as "protector" when our son-in-law's new drone flew too close to Joey and me. I got to listen while one granddaughter practiced reading. We admired another granddaughter in her "princess" dress complete with tiara and wand. The boys got toy trucks and a stunt set. All of the kids enjoyed their inflatable dinosaurs (which our princess decided to use as a club on her brothers and on me.) Then, on Sunday, we were with Linda's parents and our son and his family. Our granddaughter had asked for "Apples to Apples," a new card game designed to build one's vocabulary. I couldn't help thinking about the years I had to leave family gatherings early to go to work, to play records and do newscasts on a radio station or help get a newspaper ready for publication. I know there will be more years like that in the future (I doubt I ever retire) but most certainly time spent with family is best.