Sunday, November 27, 2011

Lesson 105: Deck the Halls

Eloise has survived Thanksgiving and is looking forward to another day and a half off.  You smart Slovenians are looking at the time of this posting, assuming Eloise has made an error, but I haven't.  Eloise is a Pennsylvanian and we typically extend our Thanksgiving holidays through Monday due to deer season.  Not reindeer, so don't panic.  The Lamp Post isn't that far north.  Deer as in white tailed deer, our state animal.  It is legal to shoot them come Monday.  The woods are full of hunters and malls and movie theaters are typically full of women and kids.  Schools are closed, so the Monday after Thanksgiving has become just another Christmas prep day for Eloise.  I think I am attacking the greeting cards tomorrow.

I can look back at Thanksgiving with no regrets.  Everything was great: food, family, friends, and the weather here in northern Pennsylvania.  It was unseasonably warm for Erie, which allowed old Eloise some long runs outside--her favorite thing.  On Thanksgiving morning I was almost feeling some regret that I didn't run the annual Turkey Trot race out on the Peninsula.  I am not a huge fan of organized races.  I run because my girls like them and only register under the names of dead US Presidents.  This year many urged me to come out and the weather was actually agreeable.  But the thought of 4,000 people and Port a Potties was not appealing to me on Thanksgiving morning, so the loner that I am headed out on the local roads solo.

What do you do out there all that time? someone once asked me.  I think, I plan, I reflect, I sing, I pray, and I flat out enjoy my time of solitude.   I got to thinking about a very vivid dream I had--something that was going to happen in the year 2021.  That gave me some hope because now that we are careening toward that fateful Mayan year of 2012, some of us are doubting whether we'll be here to see it.  Then I got to kind of feeling regretful that I didn't register for the race under James Madison, 40 year old female.  I got a peek at the shirt for this year and it was really cool---long sleeved purple tee with both front and back designs.  I loved it and was wishing I had one to show off this weekend.  I said to myself, Geez God, I should have run that race.   I'm a lousy mom.  I should have done it for the girls and we could have all worn our matching shirts this weekend.  Forgive me for being a selfish person and give me the strength and patience to run that race next year.  

CLUNK, TRIP, SKID, STOP.   That was what I did not 20 seconds after I had my little breathless conversation with The Lord.  I stepped on something and I had to back track to see what it was.

When I retraced my steps, I found that I had actually stepped upon a black t-shirt, crumpled up and wet, lying just outside of the community park entrance where the Legion Ball players have their games in the fall.  Cool!  I got me a t-shirt anyhow!  Thanks, God. This is the shirt:
On the back it even had a 21---like the year 2021, so I took that as some sort of sign that we are all going to be still around, probably trying to find the next time the planets will align or resurrect another ancient culture who predicted the world's impending doom.

When I got home, I rinsed the t-shirt out in the sink, and noticed that the jersey also had a front.  Cool--- a two sided shirt, just like the Turkey Trot one.  Wow, God, you really are awesome.  Thanks so much!  The shirt looked quite big, but I thought with a couple of washings in hot water with liquid Lysol, it may shrink up a bit.  I didn't recognize the logo on the front, but went down to the basement to toss the tee in the agitator, and decided to google the name.  This is the front of the shirt:
OK now Readers.  Let's test your read-between-the-lines comprehension skills.  Modern Adult superstore.  Both the male and female symbols inside the O. what could that be............................?    So now Old Eloise is thoroughly confused.  Sign or no sign? I guess we'll all just have to wait and see.

Sam found me upon my return up the basement steps from the t-shirt washing.  I left for my long run well before he was awake and he hadn't seen me yet.  The little guy has grown used to my long weekend runs, and he came running at me with a big smile and his arms outstretched to hug me.  "Oh Mommy!  I missed you!  How far did you go today?"  I told him that I went a long way and that he could ride along with me when we went out in the car to see how far it was.  Yes, I hear ya'.  I know about Map My but I think it is more rewarding for me to track my route in my car because sometimes I can't believe I went as far as I did.  Riding the route in a car makes it seem like a bigger accomplishment.

Sam hugged me around my waist as his head is just even with my abdomen now.  I patted his little head with his freshly buzzed holiday haircut.  Sam leaned back and looked up at me with his big blue eyes and one dimpled cheek.  He smiled and said, "Oh Mommy, I just love how the fat on your belly is so warm and squishy after you run.  It makes me love you."  And the little %$#@ turned and walked away.  Ellen was frozen, mid bite of her breakfast cereal waiting to see what I'd do.  After a long moment of breathless, frozen silence, I said to no one in particular, "Be glad it's Thanksgiving." 

Funny, yes.  But I read something even more comical on facebook about a week ago.  It was a snarky comment about people who put up Christmas decorations too early, as in prior to Thanksgiving.  This doesn't really bother old Eloise.  Some people with extended families living far away have to celebrate their Christmases on Thanksgiving and who can do that without a lit Christmas tree.  I get that, so this is no dig on my part.   But this saying; it's just too funny not to share: Every time a Christmas tree is lit before Thanksgiving, somewhere on the North Pole an elf drowns a baby reindeer.  A horrific thought for sure, but clever indeed.

Eloise won't flip her calendar page to December until Thursday, but I use Thanksgiving weekend for all of that Decembertime prep--you know, the decorating, shopping, wrapping, and list making.  Notice "baking" is not on that list.  I try to hold that off as long as possible because the longer the cookies are around, the longer I have to eat them.  But I am a working mother, and time is of the essence.  The more I can get done Thanksgiving weekend, the smoother the holiday goes for all of us.

The picture movie I put together is of my children decking the halls of the Lamp Post this weekend.  Ellen did the tree, Natalie brought up the boxes from the basement, and Sam---well, he did the nativity set again this year.  It's his favorite job.  Sam is four years old and really into action figures.  This year it is those little wrestling guys called Little Rumblers.  It seems that Herod ain't gettin' through the manger this year.  Jesus is safe again.  Sam's got Triple H and The Undertaker standing guard.  Take a look at the wise men he's stacked on top of one another.  I asked Sam why the one Wise Man was standing on top of the other.  Sam replied, "He couldn't see Jesus, so his friend helped him."  How prophetic, Sam!  Shouldn't we all give a leg up to help our friend see Jesus?

You'll get to see some of my favorite decorations from The Lamp Post.  I don't expect House Beautiful to call me to do a cover shoot because of them, either.  They are all sentimental, and Eloise is a sentimental soul.  You'll find my favorite picture of Ellen at a little over a year old crawling around underneath the Christmas tree.  That is on display every year along with the Charlie Brown Christmas tree, my card with the three angels (guess which one is Sam), and the ceramic tree that belonged to my mother in law.  She's gone now, but plugging in that tree makes it seem like she's still here with us.

My favorite decoration actually made the grab for the cover shot of the movie--it's kind of hard to make out, but it is a chain of paper clips.  I hook one to the tree every year in honor of a student in my very first class.  The boy didn't come from a family who had extra resources--enough to get by, but certainly none extra to buy teachers Christmas gifts.  On the last day before break this boy, whom I still see on occasion and now is in his later 20's, brought me a small box wrapped in aluminum foil, tied with a dirty, frayed shoelace.  When I opened the box, I found a chain of 8 paper clips.  I looked into his excited, skinny face, and the boy said to me, "They are for you!  They're paper clips!  I see that you used them all the time to hook our papers together.  You can hang this on your tree for a decoration, like tinsel, and after Christmas you can use them for our papers."  It takes a lot to make Eloise cry, but this time I couldn't stop the tears.  It was one of the sweetest, most heartfelt gifts I'd ever received.  I hang a chain of paper clips on my tree every year to remind myself that thoughtfulness is what it takes to make a gift priceless.

They say what you write reveals what is underneath.  If that is true Eloise has no secrets because you sure have read enough of my work.  Pay close attention to the letters to Santa my kids wrote this year.  Natalie, my girl of few words, speaks volumes.

Sam's was dictated, but he insisted in writing his name.  You can see he's a lefty because he writes everything backwards.  His requests say it all.

And then there is sweet Ellen's; my child who carries the weight of the world.  As a fifth grader she was not keen on writing a letter this year.  Too bad, I said, It's tradition.  Look closely at what her requests were.  Again--writing really does speak volumes about a person.

Enjoy the movie.  The song is Deck the Halls by Jim Brickman.  It's really pretty---just like my newly decorated house.

Let the holidays begin!

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