Random Brain Dumping

Musings and observations about life

My favorite Christmases

Oh, so many Christmas memories, my favorites being three: two as a child and one as an adult.

In my life, I’ve seen two white Christmases, separated by four decades.

My first white Christmas was in North Carolina, where my family was visiting my maternal grandmother. Grandmother’s porch was the type that kids could play under, so when the snow hit, that made the porch a great jumping off point.

I recall jump after jump into the snow, but what made that Christmas a favorite is that Santa visited us at Grandmother’s house … and our house.

Yes, I was that young and still believed in Santa Claus. I have no idea what Santa brought me that year, but I do remember getting home and having presents there, too.

Bass violin

The bass was a piece of art in my living room until my youngest son got his own place.

How did Santa know to leave presents at both houses?

Fast forward six or seven years to the summer, where I asked for a watch for my birthday. I’ve never been one to ask for much, but that year, I asked for what I wanted.

I didn’t get a watch for my birthday. I got what was probably my first dose of disappointment. For months, I struggled to swallow that disappointment. How could I hold on to disappointment with the two people who made sure I (and my nine siblings) had things I needed?

I didn’t dare ask for anything for Christmas. I don’t even know if I participating in “calling” the various possibilities in the Sears and Roebuck catalog that came just before Christmas.

Usually, the kids would get the catalog and go through it; if one person called a toy, no one else could claim it. Lots of wishful thinking, as I don’t think we ever got anything from the catalog.

On Christmas morning, though, we would wake up early and rush to the tree to see who got what, even keeping count of who got how many.

This Christmas after my first disappointment, I only recall getting one gift. Knowing my mother, I probably got more, but one stood out.

A small box with a tortoise-shell watch with square frame and brown band.

Somewhere among the stuff I will never throw away is that watch, missing half the watch band and long-since inoperable.

Running a close third of childhood favorites came the day after Christmas, the year my father called from the hospital to say my mother had had a girl. Finally, a baby sister after three younger brothers.

Finally, I’ve had a tough time deciding which Christmas was the best, but my favorites as an adult all were about other people.

I recall scraping up $2,500 to give my youngest son a bass violin in his third year of playing, a gift he still has but later told me he had wanted an Atari that year.

Then, was the year I gave each of my siblings custom-made dog tags as key chains, with “Margaret and Bill’s Top 10” on the front, the sibling’s childhood nickname and birth order on the back.

And the calendar with three generations of pictures corresponding with birth months, and the birthdays written on the respective dates. Oddly, that 2007 calendar mirrored 2012, so we got to use it again.

My favorite Christmas of all, though, was the first time I picked a name from the holiday tree at work. The names were of children in a shelter, with their Christmas wishes written on the back.

I chose several children, not wanting to leave anyone out.

That year was the first time I actually saw someone’s Christmas list. It’s amazing the simple things on the list.

Basic things. Backpack. Underwear. A few toys.

That year, I realized I’ve lived a blessed life.

I’ve always believed that simple things can have major rewards. I know now the simple act of giving is far better than receiving.

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December 24, 2012 Posted by | Random Brain Dumping | , , , , | 4 Comments

Time to face reality

I’m not a dog lover. Just to be clear, I’m not a cat lover either. I’m a horse lover.

Thus, my dilemma. I have dogs, and I know they deserve a better owner.

I got Taco, a blue Chihuahua, in 2004 when he was 2. I got Smirk, a Terrier/Chihuahua mix, in 2009 when she was 1.

Remember when you were in elementary school and learned the song about the old lady who swallowed the fly? It goes something like this: There was an old lady who swallowed a fly. I don’t know why she swallowed the fly; I guess she’ll die. She swallowed a spider to catch the fly; I don’t know why she swallowed the fly …

It goes on until she swallows several things, ultimately a horse, and ends, “She’s dead, of course.”

Well, I got Taco because I bought a horse. I then needed a horse trailer and found one at an auction. I bought the horse trailer from a man who had a dog.

The dog’s name was Blue. I jokingly asked if I could have this “vicious” dog in his front yard.

When he called me to say I could have the dog, he jokingly called the dog Taco.

The name stuck.

After I bought the horse and then the trailer, I bought a truck to haul the trailer. Then, the horse in the trailer and the dog and I in the truck, moved from North Carolina to Georgia.

Taco had been a hybrid dog. By that, I mean he stayed outside during the day and in the house at night. I maintained the schedule, as I’ve never been a dog-in-the-house person.

Remember, I’m not even a dog lover.

Taco hung “near” Animal, my Goldweiler (golden retriever/Rottweiler mix). Animal tolerated Taco but didn’t really like him.

When I moved north, Taco went with me and became an inside dog. Visiting friends showered him with the attention he craved but didn’t get from me. For the four years I lived near the nation’s capital, Taco got attention. I felt so bad that he had to stay at home alone while I went to work that I got him a companion.

Smirk. Initially, she ran away from him as he constantly tried to sniff her. Eventually, they settled down and got along.

Then, I moved back to Georgia, and all that attention the dogs had gotten stopped.

I like the concept of having dogs nearby, but I don’t like petting them. I like watching them run. I like that they greet me when they see me.

I don’t pick them up and rub them. I don’t brush them. I bathe them when they stink.

I do buy them really good dog food and treats they like. I bought them pocket-pillow beds that they can sleep in or on. I bought them heated water bowls and heated mats to lie on.

I keep their shots up to date. Of course, I make sure they have fresh water.

That’s it. That’s the extent of what I do for them.

For all of the warm and fuzzy feelings I get from having them around, I know I don’t return that feeling to them.

My dogs deserve better, so I’ve decided to start looking for a new owner for them.

It’s time to face reality. My dogs need a dog lover.

Any takers?

October 15, 2012 Posted by | Random Brain Dumping | , , , , | 1 Comment

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