Cramming for a stress test

December musings and such. 

I have a stress test scheduled for this Monday.  Although I’d have to say that I’m not looking forward to it, I did go out and buy a dozen donuts from Donutland and am cramming for said test in a diligent and forthright way.  Mmmm….maple long john with coconut sprinkles you’re an A+ in my book.

I know many folks who’ve taken a stress test before, one of them had a heart attack while taking it and one other guy almost died too (they apologized later for almost killing them both….but I’m not going to settle for just an apology….I’ll settle for a 50” plasma TV).

How do you buy a gift for a terrific wife when you lack the sufficient cash (or imagination) to get her something great?  I’ve lucked out in the past and found stuff that she likes then run that right into the ground.  I mean it, right into the ground.  The last few years she’s come right out and told me “I’ve got enough of ________, so I don’t need anymore of those but thank you for the ones that I received.”  Right into the ground.  As it stands right now I had her buy two of the things that she wanted, they were on sale, and they’re sitting on my nightstand.  Maybe I’ll get her a puppy!  You’re so cute aren’t you!!

Christmas is somewhat of a melancholy time for me.  I tend to look back at all of the great Christmas’s that I’ve had through the years and miss relatives that are no longer with us, at the lost innocence of youth and simpler times.  My career (which is in retail) is a good job though Halloween through the first full week of the New Years is always such a rush.  It won’t be too long until Valentine candy starts to hit the loading dock while there are still candy canes and Christmas lights to sell.  It’s hard to live in the moment when you have your eyes set on the next sales event a couplea weeks or months down the line. 

Connie and the girls were decorating our tree last Sunday, which looks spectacular, when Connie pulled out “my” ornaments from when I was just a kid, for me to hang on the tree.  They’re from my Mom & Dad’s tree, some made by Mom, some made by my Aunt Gertrude in ’72, and some purchased and given to me as a kid.  Those ornaments take me back, back to the farm.  Back to sitting by the fireplace, looking at their Christmas tree with its lights on and the room lights off.  Back to when life was full of wonder.  A stress test for me holds no wonder, just the cold hard facts that I’m no longer bullet proof, but rather I’m on the plateau of life’s journey and shortly I’ll be on the downhill trek.  The wonder of my youth is greatly romanticized, but perhaps I can share it with my kids at some point, or with (gasp) grandchildren in the future….or maybe even someone else in the present who needs some assistance or a helping hand. 

Don’t fret over me; I’ll come around eventually.  I have a day off about two weeks before Christmas when I’ll drive down to a little Amish town.  I’ll walk their sidewalks, visit their shops, do a little shopping, and listen to a little Amy Grant. The smoke from their fireplaces will waft through the cold air, and I’ll drink it all in and I’ll be ready for Christmas. 

Stress test.  Stressful retail season.  Past, present and future. Christ is with me through it all, and for that….I’m confidently grateful.


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