Published in the Rains County Leader on June 16, 2020:
With all the unrest and chaos that’s going on in the country, I felt like I should write something of a serious nature this week. However, many of the situations make little sense to me, so it’s impossible to write something sensible. In searching for ideas, I came across this piece that I wrote after the holidays. After weeks and months at home with plenty of time to clean and organize, many people are now finding themselves faced with those same post-Christmas problems. So read on and see if you recognize you or anyone you know.
When the weather begins to turn warm and the trees begin to sprout green buds, the phrase “spring cleaning” always pops up. Maybe it’s because, after several months of being cooped up inside with artificial warmth, we can throw open the windows and let the fresh air chase the stale air out though the screens. Or maybe it’s because it’s time to do some deep cleaning after several months of letting winter cooking odors and fireplace soot settle on the windows and baseboards. Whatever the reason, Mom did it so we do, too. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on December 17, 2019:
When I was a kid, December 26 was Granny Hagan’s birthday. Later on it became the day to return those what-were-you-thinking gifts and to stock up on Christmas supplies for next year. More recently I’ve heard it referred to by a specific name, especially on Facebook when greetings of “Happy Boxing Day” appear on the day after Christmas.
It turns out that Boxing Day began in Britain as a time when the rich boxed up gifts for the poor. I’m thinking it might have been a charitable way to get rid of the leftover turkey and those unsuitable gifts. It also became a day when servants were given the day off after receiving a Christmas box or gift from their employers. The servants in turn would go home and give Christmas boxes to their families.
Boxing Day isn’t widely celebrated in the U.S., but boxes certainly play a big part in the American Christmas season. Even though gift bags are probably more popular now than gift boxes, online shopping has resulted in an over-abundance of shipping cartons. And some traditionalists still like to wrap and tie bows on containers with square corners. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on December 19, 2017:
Many wedding ceremonies include words to the effect that “love is not a feeling, it’s a commitment.” The idea, of course, is that love is not simply the dizzying excitement of a new relationship or the warm, fuzzy feeling of a long established marriage. It’s a commitment to act in a loving manner even when you don’t feel like it. People who rely simply on loving feelings are often disillusioned when the honeymoon is over. The more Christmases I experience, the more I realize that Christmas is a lot like love –those who rely simply on the magical feelings of the season are destined for disappointment.
My husband David is a nostalgia kind of guy, and he often reminisces about the good old days, especially at this time of year. He recently lamented the fact that he can’t seem to recapture the excitement and anticipation he experienced during the Christmas season when he was younger. Unfortunately, some of the magic of those mysterious packages disappears when you know the bills will be waiting for you at the end of the month. And let’s face it, there’s not as much magic in a new sweater or even the latest book by your favorite author as there was in a shiny red bicycle or a Daisy Red Rider BB Gun. There’s still lots of magic to be found, though, if you know where to look. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on December 8, 2015:
Last week I wrote about Advent, the season celebrated by the Christian church that includes the four Sundays preceding Christmas. On the first Sunday, the Candle of Hope is lit. The second Sunday is celebrated with the Candle of Peace. (more…)