‘Tis the Season

I’d been home from Haiti for about two days, it was 92 degrees when I departed Port-au-Prince and 17 degrees when I landed at my final destination in the States, actually the temperature was the least of the extremes I felt. The next day I was driving for the first time in months and repeatedly heard this jingle on the radio for a jewelry store advertising the fulfillment of the NEED for the perfect Christmas gift, a diamond. Even though it’s been a while since I’ve returned from Haiti every year at this time I try to recall how ridiculous that commercial sounded to my ears. It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season, the temptation that the perfect gift is just around the corner. THE thing to make someone happy is within our grasp. that we actually NEED stuff, beyond air, water, shelter, food and love.

How does a couple of verses of the right holiday tune transport me into a shopping machine, on a mission to purchase happiness in a store. It’s just so easy to get caught up, or to cave in, to be so tired I just grab anything because I must have something wrapped for that someone I’ll exchange a gift with that neither of us will ever NEED or probably use. Every year I feel the same way and every year I vow to not catch the bug that makes me feel like Scrooge if I don’t spend money on stuff. I left the community of Turgeau at dawn that December morning watching children carry five gallons of water on their heads and within 10 hours was nestled in the land of plenty with hot water endlessly flowing. Years later it pretty much only takes a Bing Crosby tune within ear shot to make me feel melancholy enough to open my wallet for the umpteenth time to buy something, anything to complete the list. My wish is that this year I’ll remember what is truly valuable when I’m a tired and desperate shopper. None of it, none of it is what it’s all about and once again I’m hoping this season to not forget that I have all that I’ll ever need.

I know friends still living in tents in Haiti months after the earthquake. Folks whose lives were devastated by the earthquake and that didn’t have many material possessions to start with. There is true need out there this Christmas and let me not confuse the difference.


Thanksgiving Traction

There is no holiday for traction and here we are on Turkey day. Thinking about all there is to do today and how much I need these fingers to keep working, hence, traction on Turkey day. I’ve come a long way with my attitude about this gizmo I’m sitting in and that alone is certainly something to be thankful for. I now accept it as part of my life and whether it’s Thanksgiving or the Easter bunny’s hopping down the bunny trail I’ll be working traction into my holiday schedules. I’ve often thought if I amount to nothing else in this life at least I want to be a person who has a sense of gratitude. Much of “my” life plans at this age and stage have been altered by the circumstances of my health but I have been given and received so much. I have such a good and wonderful life, I’ve been enormously blessed. I’ve experienced a truly miserable day as well as an extraordinarily wonderful one. I can appreciate the difference and respect both. I’m beyond a lucky girl and as I sit here today I certainly know it and if I could do a turkey dance I would. Have a happy, grateful day celebrating whatever circumstances you find yourself in today. Gobble, gobble!

Trick or Treat

I was at the pharmacy this morning and for the life of me couldn’t figure out why a cowgirl was waiting on me, oops, that’s right, it’s Halloween. So I have several options for a costume this year. I think it’s a bit redundant if I go as a person with a crappy spinal column who sits in traction….I mean this get up is scary looking enough but it’s a bit boring. I need something jazzier. I saw a man jogging as he pushed his child in a stroller the other day, when the signal turned just as he was about to cross, he pulled the stroller back and dropped to the ground doing push ups while waiting for the light to change. Even if I didn’t sit in traction I don’t see myself going as a jogger, not being able to run is one thing but push ups at a stop light, wow, impressive. I thought about going as something trendy but I’m not one ounce trendy so why try to be on Halloween. I’ve always been impressed with the low-key costume choices of the character Jim Halpert on The Office. One year he taped black circles on his dress shirt and was “three whole punch Jim.” Another year he wore a name tag that said, “Dave” and last year he wrote B O O K across his face. I like the understated costume.

I think there should be some unwritten rule that if one person dresses up everyone does or no one should. That’s what threw me off today, the other pharmacist was dressed like everyday, with a look of “why did I draw the short straw and have to work on Sunday morning.” So bright and perky cowgirl felt sort of out-of-place, a bit random. But hey she gave me good pharmaceutical advice and on this Halloween that’s all I need. Who knows, maybe she knows something from her years at the rodeo that will cure me and next year I can go as a jogger.