Here come the holidays
Here come the holidays. We start picking people up at the airport this week and by the time Christmas gets here, three houses in Big Stone County will be full of my relatives. That may violate some sort of Olson-density zoning ordinance, but I hope we can sneak by.
My wife and our son have been planning the Christmas Day menu for about a month. I'm staying uninvolved. The deal weâ€™ve agreed upon over the years is that I wash dishes and she doesn't let me starve. It really works pretty well for all concerned.
People are starting to relax a little. Not everyone around here is a farmer, but everyone does realize how important the farmers are, and it looks like the harvest is almost done. There are still some fields of crops hither and yon, but considering that the whole month of October was one long monsoon, things look pretty good.
It seems like a good time to take a deep breath and look around. It's been a long year -- people losing jobs, our military in peril in any number of places, and it looks as though we just need to get used to living with a vast uncertainty, an ominous beast crouching in the corner that we cannot expel but must endure. Now is probably a good time for Christmas. Even though so much of our world does indeed involve vast uncertainty, Christmas is the time of year we can take notice of all of those things that we tend to believe are certain.
I've always said, "Who we are is who we were," and the connection through the generations that precede us is a big part of that, but as I grow older, I think we can add, "Who we are is who we are to become." It's easy to look backwards through nostalgic, rose-colored glasses. While that is a pleasure, it is a greater pleasure is to lean forward to see the future through the eyes of our children and grandchildren.
Our granddaughter is going to meet her cousin for the first time, another little girl about the same age. We're hoping they're going to get along, but that's not a sure thing. We have dreams of watching the two of them sit side by side at a tiny table as they color, but tears, screams, and shouts of "Mine, mine!" could just as easily be the reality.
No matter how it turns out, it should be interesting and educational for all of us.
Christmas is all about traditions. On Christmas Eve, weâ€™ll eat our traditional oyster stew, but Christmas day might include bulgogi from Korea and doro wat from Ethiopia. The time is gone when cultural diversity meant the Norwegians went to an Advent Service at the Swede church. Our children have taken us so far, going places and experiencing things we never even dreamed.
And that's okay. Traditions are fine, traditions help to make a holiday, but the best kind of tradition happens when we can hold onto what matters and let go of what doesn't. And Christmas is one time of year when we should spend a little time figuring out which is which.
My granddaughter has a favorite song that she often sings and dances to, by a singer named Michael Franti. A few lines go: