In my opinion, there are few things in life better than the first day of vacation. All that wonderful time off stretching ahead of you, with untold adventures awaiting. Later today, I am getting on an airplane and heading North to visit friends in Minnesota. People think I’m nuts for going up there in the winter, but I absolutely love it. The snow, the cold, my nostril hairs freezing when I breathe in and thawing when I breathe out!! I plan to be stress free–I’m not making any of the decisions, I’m not doing any of the driving, I’m just gonna cook, eat, DRINK, and play board games. Oh, and there is a hot tub, even though I really don’t relish the thought of getting into a swimsuit right now. But I’ll be among friends, so I guess I can manage to stifle my embarrassment for the few seconds it takes me to dash from the door to the tub!! I’m hoping that we can work in a trip to the cheese factory in Wisconsin, one of my most favorite things in the world!! All those different delicious cheeses to be sampled, the warm, squeaky curds. Mmmmm…And then, I’ll blink and it’ll be time to come home and face reality again. But I refuse to contemplate that right now!!
So, another Christmas is almost gone. Seems I always get nostalgic late on Christmas Day. I remember the times when I was a kid, when it seemed like 10 years from one Christmas to the next, instead of 10 minutes! We always opened presents on Christmas Eve, after my mom had been cooking all day and the house smelled amazing. We’d gather in the living room with just the tree lights on and open the gifts that I had been eyeing and shaking and dreaming about for weeks. Then, off to bed early so Santa could come. Shortly, my dad would wake us with the announcement, “Santa Claus just left!” My brother, sister, and I would bound out of bed to see the haul. I was always curious about what Santa had had to say. My parents would just say he asked if we had all been good, or something lame like that. I wanted to hear about his adventures delivering toys and presents all over the world!! Soon, it was back to bed because we’d have to get up early the next morning to head to the grandparents’ houses over in East Mississippi. We could each take only one new toy with us–what a daunting decision for a little kid to have to make. Seems we’d hardly get out of the driveway before I was doubting the wisdom of my choice!! Once my brother got a little reel-to-reel tape recorder. He and my cousin Larry recorded creepy noises on it and then locked me in Larry’s closet with it. They took off for parts unknown while I pounded on the closet door, all the time knowing that my seriously hearing impaired Aunt Margaret would never open the door!!
These days Christmas is a quiet day. Just my brother, sister, brother-in-law, and I. Happy to be together and still able to open presents..