The shoebox

I have two sides of my personality.  Side #1:

  1. The procrastinator“.  I’ll tackle any hard project head on and will literally fixate on it until its completed (satisfactorily or not) UNLESS its clean laundry that needs folding and put away that’s laying on top of our pool table…I can procrastinate that little chore for a long time, unless my dresser drawer is out of clean socks and underwear.  Even then I’ve been known to just grab a clean pair off of the pool table and scurry away prior to guilt seeping into my conscience. (that’s how Al Capone got his start in crime I understand…not folding his laundry)
  2. “The emotional guy“.  Dead serious, if I see a TV commercial that touches me I get a lump in my throat and might have to wipe away a tear.  A STUPID TV COMMERCIAL!!  It doesn’t happen very often, but you get the idea.

This time of year is always a mixed bag for me.  I work in the retail trade and have for over twenty-three years.  Christmas is a big deal, sales and profit-wise, for us….so much in fact that I really don’t care for Thanksgiving or Christmas anymore.  There’s just so much emphasis put on those two months for commercialism sake that I’m thinking in terms getting through the holidays verses remembering what those holidays are for me personally.  It’s just the way it is.

My lovely bride, Connie, decorates our home with the help of our daughters and they’ve done another outstanding job.  There’s three Christmas trees throughout our home, though only one “counts” in my book.  The tree in the living room.  It gets the good ornaments, it’s not themed around anything….it’s just pretty to look at.  Connie informed me that “my” ornaments were in their usual storage box, a shoebox, sitting beside the tree….waiting for me to put them up…like usual.  They’re my ornaments.  They mean something to meThey move me back to the Christmas’ of the early nineteen seventies and eighties. 

I had a terrific upbringing in a blessed and loving family.  Each Christmas morning was celebrated on our farm, then we were driven to Illinois to celebrate Christmas with each side of our family.  Cousins, aunts and uncles, grandparents and gifts.  A whole day filled from beginning to end with love, laughter and excitement.  I didn’t know how good I had it.  Those ornaments in the shoebox take me back to those times, if even for just a few moments.  There’s a couple from Aunt Gertrude that have her initials on them (as an eight year old I can honestly tell you that I didn’t like them as gifts in 1974 but now I cherish them).  There’s several from my Mom, a ceramic basketball player that she painted and gave to me in 1982, my first year and only year on the varsity squad complete with my home jersey number “10” on it; and the milk weed pod with three carolers in it ornament (you’ll never see it in a Martha Stewart catalog-but its MINE and it means something to me) and the “crocheted barn with silo” ornament that Mom did for me back in the 1980’s…..all mine….from folks who loved me then, and love me still.

My two personalities clash this time of year when it comes to opening that shoebox filled with old and worn ornaments that stir up melancholy feelings, a lump in my throat and a few tears that are just bubbling under the surface, especially since Dad passed.  I’ve avoided it this year as long as I can…it’s been sitting there for two weeks and I don’t understand why it’s as difficult as it is.  It was a great time, we’re so blessed and I thank God for His generosity and redeeming love.

I’ll put on some jazzy Christmas tunes, suck it up and get those ornaments hung…remembering loved ones passed and the Hope that is to come.


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