Okay, I’ve had it. Last Sunday evening, we were out of coffee and I headed off to the grocery store, the Fresh Market, up on 146th Street near our home. To be sure, I would not have gone out to get coffee if I didn’t also need to fill my car with fuel in anticipation of heading to the airport first thing Monday morning. After all, my monthly trip to Dallas was Monday and Tuesday; and I like things to be ready in advance, so I didn’t want to stop at the gas station on Monday.
Truth is, I was also a little tired from the week-end. Saturday, Pat and I worked in the yard getting the patio furniture into the garage in anticipation of winter. We also decided to throw out the hoses, as they are pretty old, and frankly, I think it will be easier to buy new ones than to try and repair the old ones again in the spring. I also worked on cleaning the various bird feeders we keep in the backyard; we like to see the cardinals, woodpeckers, chickadees, finches and all the other birds we attract during the winter months. In fact, and this is way off the topic, I remember one Christmas morning when we lived in our last home when we had 8 pairs of cardinals all on our feeders at one time – that’s right, 8 pairs, male and female – 16 birds in all, and it was glorious. I have never forgotten that sight!
But back to the story; we also worked on arranging things for winter, sweeping out the garage and putting things back to normal after having had our floors refinished while Janet and I went to San Diego for a conference several weeks ago. The smell of the fresh finish is still in the house, a little, and the the final pieces of furniture and knick-knacks are returning to their places – other than the parlor grand piano I told you about last week…. Admittedly, the house looks a whole lot bigger – in fact, it’s like we have moved – with all the light coming in the rear windows now, and more space for chairs and tables in our great room.
Saturday evening we headed downtown to a cabaret style show with the staff of one of my clients – it was awesome; and then Sunday morning we went to Woodland Country Club for the annual Halloween brunch for the kids. Of course, there were the costume contests, taffy apples, an inflatable house for the children to play in and even a rock climbing wall this year. I am more and more impressed with the things they come up with for families to do. It was nice to just enjoy the season.
By Sunday evening, Janet just couldn’t stand it any more and so she got out the fall decorations – you know, the stuff that kind of goes with Halloween but can also work all the way through Thanksgiving. That’s because, at first, with the house in upheaval, she thought she would pass this year, but she just couldn’t imagine the holidays without our various reminders of the harvest season. So, back to work.
Admittedly, we are big fans of the phrase, “when it’s over, it’s over,” and we never start to decorate for one holiday before the last one is behind us. So the real Thanksgiving stuff will go up this week, as the decidedly Halloween stuff gets put away for another year. Now Jill and her family are coming for Thanksgiving this year, so we will enjoy the time with them, and the week-end after it’s over, you guessed it, we’ll start with Christmas.
Pat, our neighbor, wants us to put up the BIG tree this year – the one from the old house. It is 10′ tall and takes something like 2700 lights. It used to be in our foyer when we owned our last home. It is still in great condition, but Janet and I both agree that it is tough to do without the kids – just too much work for what we get out of it. We do enjoy our 7-1/2′ “bottle brush” tree, the one from sometime in the late 70’s, for sentimental reasons. But it is also easier to put up and take down, so it may get the nod again this year.
But enough of this, it’s a month before we even have to make that decision. I just want to enjoy the pumpkins, gourds, turkeys and other things Janet brings up out of the basement each year – with our newly refinished floors. The mess is behind us – praise God – let’s just sit back and enjoy it a moment.
So while Janet was putting the finishing touches on the decorations, and also moving the clothes around the house in anticipation of needing warmer things for winter, I was in the garage changing out the floor mats in the cars and putting the finishing touches on the fall clean-up. I also had to put on the new license plates this week-end. Last item – the coffee run and the gas station.
The coffee run went great and so did the gas station. But then it happened – on the trip back home – at first, a mirage in the distance – then the unmistakable outline of an evergreen tree decked out in COLORED CHRISTMAS LIGHTS! And they were ON! No kidding…. I was livid…. It wasn’t even Halloween, and this guy was lighting up his backyard.
Now I understand that retailers do this – but most of them even wait for November 1st before they really inundate us with Christmas stuff – and I guess I can even see the business reason for putting this stuff early. But I like to pretend it isn’t there yet. I want Thanksgiving first….
And for a homeowner, there is just no excuse… There, I’ve said it.. No lights in October, unless they are orange and look like pumpkins….. So, the verse tonight is from Eccl. 3:1, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” It’s way too early for Christmas.
My encouragement tonight is to let you know that I love the holidays and hope that you do also. But there is a time for each of them and let’s not rush them. My prayer is that God will grant me, and you, the patience to deal with all these folks who don’t celebrate the timely and real reason for the season….. There, thanks for being there; I feel better now…. Grace and Peace this Thanksgiving season.