We drove to a nearby town for the midnight service last night. No traffic to speak of-we joked that when we were little, parents would be putting together bicycles. Now they look for the batteries to put in things. There were a smattering of lights on in living rooms to attest to activities in progress.
I do remember a Christmas when my sib and I got bikes. I’d been riding a huge steel monster that my grandpa had traded for. He’d painted it red. That thing was way too big for me, but I rode it anyway. It was heavy as it could be. I was so proud of being able to handle it. Then our parents got us matching 10 speeds-which didn’t particularly thrill me because A they matched and B. they were blue. But you say thank you and learn how to ride a 10 speed without killing yourself by braking with only the front brake. (The fact that they match really did turn into a problem-we never did really work out which one belonged to whom. Since we are both powerful personalities, it turned into some nasty fights.)
Bicycles were my freedom up until I got my first horse. For awhile after, too, because I had to ride to where he was boarded for a time. By the time I was fifteen, though, the bicycle sat forgotten. I was in a saddle and gone. Most kids nowadays-it’s computers then a car. Parents don’t realize until they’re gone that they really didn’t know them.
It dawned on me on the ride last night that there are benefits to being ‘elderly’ and, for lack of a better term, lower income. We simply don’t ‘do’ the Christmas thing anymore. Oh, we put up a tree, play the music, get out the nativity scene, and put out a few decorations, but nothing like we used to. No gift shopping-at all. No cards sent. (You also don’t get many cards when you don’t send them-which is something of a drawback, but postal rates are more than we can afford.) All of this irritated me years ago when it first became necessary, but now that I’ve relaxed into it, it’s really kinda nice. Seriously.
Christmas is down to what it really should be-just celebrating the birth of Christ, having family close, enjoying them, worship, and such. The commercialism is taken out of it. We don’t have to see family on a certain day-it can be any time as long as we see them. It brings the peace, joy, and love back in.
Now if I can just convince the dogs and cats that it is not animals abuse with all the wonderful smells and not giving them any of it-I’ll be in great shape. So far, they’re adamant that they’re reporting me.