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Coming and Going
Coming and Going
By G. E. Shuman
So, today I was at an early morning weekend basketball game, watching my grandson Jackson and his team fighting it out in a very close and exciting competition. (Our team won the game with a buzzer-beater by future-star Dawson Terrill, so that made it even more exciting for me.) Kids’ basketball is a great pastime on such a cold winter morning as this one, and it’s always fun for me to chat with the other dads and granddads. Two long-time friends of mine, Paul and Carl, sat a few rows above me in the bleachers today, and I couldn’t help occasionally adding to their grandfatherly conversation, which ranged from current politics, to the weather, and the holidays.
At one point, in answer to a question from Paul, Carl just happened to make the comment: “Yes, I had a good Christmas. All Christmases are good. I love them, coming and going.” I actually then turned around and asked Carl if I could quote him this week. I thought that what he had said was a bit profound, and a nearly universal truth. I, as Carl, love looking forward to times like Christmas, but by the time they are over, they are over, and it’s good to move on.
To me, it’s a good thing that the massive and expensive holiday of Christmas comes just a week before the beginning of a new year. (Someone planned that very well.) I hate taking down Christmas decorations even more than I hate putting them up, but I do like vacuuming up the last of the tree needles, getting the house set for the rest of the winter and UN-set for anything having to do with the ‘old’ year. “Out with the old, in with the new,” as they say, whoever ‘they’ are. Although my wife does a pretty thorough and thoughtful job of packing away the remnants of Christmas, some parts of the routine that fall to me are often met with the silent sting of my own procrastination. Yes, our big Christmas star still shines down on Barre City from the peak of our roof, a very sad and dying Christmas tree is propped in a corner of the front porch, and the hand-sewn cloth manger scene our then-thirteen-year-old daughter Chrissy made for us in 1987 still sits atop my old Victrola. Sorry Chrissy... guess I just gave away your age. Oh well, it’s too late now.
In many ways, new years, themselves, are a lot like holidays. I remember looking forward to 2012... just twelve short months ago. And I do love the fresh start that a new year always seems to be. It’s just hard to believe how old and worn 2012 is already, with its tough economy and disappointing presidential election, (my point of view,) and how strange and novel it seems to be writing 2013 on checks already, and on columns like this one.
It may just be that we are never happy, but this same old and new, coming and going phenomenon is how we seem to think about most of our ‘things,’ including, but not exclusively, those special days and passing years. You know, there’s nothing like a new car, at least for a while, and nothing like getting rid of the one that was new those few short years ago. Some people, (but surely not you) even feel this way about their spouses. Truthfully, my dad did once say that when Mom reached forty he was going to trade her in for two twenties, but he was only kidding... I think. Well, at least he never actually did it. Also, someone I know (who had just sold his boat) told me that the two happiest men in the world are the man who has just bought a boat, and the man who has just sold a boat. Hummm. We humans really are a strange bunch. Some of us just can’t make up our minds, and others are like Christmas; good... coming and going.
“George’s World,” a new 740 page collection of George’s columns from The World, is available at xlibris.com, amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and your favorite bookstore. “The Smoke And Mirrors Effect,” George’s first novel, can be seen at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. Happy Reading!
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