We are in the midst, of what I consider the most wonderful time of the year. Beginning the week of Thanksgiving, and maybe just a bit earlier, my mood reaches a pinnacle of joy and happiness. I have a hard time putting into words what the holiday season means to me. Perhaps it’s knowing the break from work is here and there is finally time to be with family and friends. Maybe the anticipation of sitting on a limb in one of my favorite haunts takes me places, both in body and spirit, that complete my being. The lighted city streets, poinsettias, and laughter from excited children up and down my quaint boulevard, re-emphasize that every day is special this time of year.
I am chuckled at by many of my friends and family, for this time of year Christmas music is playing both in my muddy truck and in my home. Whether my radio is tuned to one of our local stations that play continuous tunes of the season or “Alexa” shuffles what she prefers most, the sounds of Christmas are not far away. Burl Ives and his “Holly Jolly Christmas,” Dean Martin’s rendition of “Let It Snow,” and Freddy Fender’s “Feliz Navidad” are likely to be heard from my front lawn if you drop by to visit. It is hard for me to pick my favorite, but surely one that is appropriate this week begins with the line, “looking out the window of this Hollywood hotel, you’d never know that it was Christmas Eve.” Do you recognize it? The title, “Colorado Christmas,” by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, is one of my all time, favorites. Why this song is so fitting, is because I’m doing exactly what the first line says. Other than the city being different, Daytona Beach in this case, I’m stuck in an annual meeting the week of Christmas. I’m sure if you know me, you know how well this sits with me during December. Oh well, when the boss says be there, I book flights.
I suppose I should qualify that it’s not exactly Christmas Eve, but for literary sake, I’d say it is close enough. I mean who books an annual meeting when there are packages still to be wrapped and fudge to be made. Gatherings for egg nog and cheer abound, and the invitations are numerous. It’s kind of hard to attend these socials overlooking a beach dotted with pale, snowbirds from the north. Let’s not even think about what’s happening in the swamps. The bucks are on their feet and I’m not there. I suppose a saving grace is that there is a check direct deposited into my account every two weeks. I guess I could forgo the meeting, but the consequences would be dire. Alas though, all is not lost.
Before I flew out, I was able to enjoy a few days of the season, and not just the hunting season. Stacey and I attended “A Christmas Carol” at New Stage Theatre before I departed for the sunshine state. Remember when I said I truly love the “season?” No one can say I don’t broaden my horizons. Again, I was laughed at by some of my fellow companions at camp, but realize, it was my idea to get tickets. The play was fabulous. The cast did an amazing job and I can only imagine the work and time they put in to pull this off. Additionally, this experience added to my holiday mood. I hope you were able to enjoy this production as well. If you didn’t go, I would encourage you to put this at the top of your “to do” list next year. Back to the meeting though, I’m doing my best not to let ole Ebenezer’s attitude rub off on me.
I got caught up in the moment the Saturday before I flew out. I picked up a few goodies for friends and was even able to experience the shopping frenzy of the season. Parking places were scarce and checkout lines were long, but no one was in a panic. Smiles were abundant and I suppose everyone else was enjoying the moment as well. Maybe I am beginning to do some things in moderation. Maybe there is hope. I can remember the day that any day not spent in the woods was viewed as a lost day, never to be seen again. I couldn’t sleep at night and was in a bad mood thinking my buck of the year may be standing in front of my climber and it was unoccupied. Who knows, maybe he did make an appearance while I was elsewhere. Everyone else has been laughing at me for not being in camp, maybe he is as well. In reality, I know I still have time to take my rifle for a few walks before it all ends.
The box of items I have stowed away in hiding will be delivered before long. My time will end in Florida and what is in store for 2020 will be laid out in a formal plan to secure numbers for the coming year. I assure you, I can put aside the daunting tasks to come to visit with my friends for a while. We still have gumbos to make and there are fireside chats to be held. I have missed the Grinch and Charlie Brown, but they are recorded. “It’s a Wonderful Life” has been watched and Ralphie is still to come. I’ll be back in time to get caught up on what I have missed the past week. This will also put into perspective not to be greedy. Sure, sometimes I think I have been inconvenienced, but what about those who won’t be here at all during Christmas. Think of our service men and women protecting us so that we may enjoy our freedoms. I know many of them would change places with us to be in meetings and at home. Let’s keep them in our thoughts and prayers for sure.
By the time you read this, what’s left of the turkey may only be fit for a small sandwich or two. Your dens may be a shamble of wrapping paper and bows. Lab puppies may be new members of your family. Regardless, Christmas is special for we all know who was born on this day. Enjoy your family and friends. Make an effort to speak to a stranger or hold the door for someone. Above all, wish someone what I wish for you, and that is, a very Merry Christmas! Until next time enjoy our woods and waters and remember, let’s leave it better than we found it. Merry Christmas!