Things to do
I don't really have time to write a column this week; I have things to do.
Right now I'm sitting in the basement with my computer on my lap, trying to find 500 words that more or less make sense. Above my head, I can hear the pitter patter of little feet as my wife and granddaughter play some sort of running/screaming/laughing game.
Okay, it doesn't sound so much like pitter patter as much as it sounds like a herd of rampaging munchkins, but it certainly sounds fun. So far my wife is keeping up, but I think she could use some help.
Our son came home over the weekend with a couple of his buddies. Theoretically, the plan was to hunt pheasants, but with the snow and cold, they spent just enough time walking through the prairie and swamps to justify coming back in for manly meals. They ended their weekend playing video game golf, a somewhat odd version that involved relaxing in recliners, stocking feet in the air, and waving the game controllers with as little effort as possible.
This evening one of my sisters rolled into town with her family, bringing some familiar faces, plus one little blonde mop top who is fairly new. The mop top and my granddaughter are about the same age, two and a bit, and there was a little tension among the older folks as to whether or not they would get along. They didn't notice the tension and were soon racing about the house, laughing in at least two, possibly three, different languages.
The rest of the family will trickle in over the next three days, every arrival adding a little bit of flavor to the stew that is an extended family. We'll also be joined by a bunch of cousins, at least 3 extra dogs, and one new fiancÃ©.
I have to work this week, but it seems like a mistake. I want to just hang out, to spend some time doing nothing that matters with the people I care about most.
Okay, I realize I have to earn a living, that I have responsibilities. Everybody does. In this economy it's especially important to keep your eye on the ball, your feet on the ground, and your nose to the grindstone (which has always seemed very uncomfortable). But there are times when those concepts feel wrong.
This week seems like a good time for a marathon gin rummy contest or an extended game of Fox and Goose at midnight after two inches of fresh snow. It's okay to eat too much and stay up too late, to kill a couple of hours with a selection of Dr. Seuss books and a bushel or so of popcorn.
Forget the popcorn -- make that caramel corn, washed down with eggnog.
A few little items will make the week go better. Lose your cell phone, stop texting, tweeting or doing whatever else you use for high tech communication. This is the time of year that real people show up, when for better or worse we communicate up front and in person -- technology just gets in the way. A side note: If your granny is stranded in Buffalo and your nephew is in Iraq, use all the technology you can to stay in touch, but for the rest of us, go a little old school. Give hugs instead of tweets; tend the oven instead of your Facebook page.