I guess it was time to go
I don’t know how magic slowed down time. I spent hours watching the second hand on the old grandfather clock trying to think it faster. Instead, it almost got pulled backward.
As I got older, it actually happened, pulling me back to childhood years all but forgotten before this year unwrapped their memories. Now there are so many they get all jumbled together making it hard to know which to open first.
They smell of fresh cut pine trees, feel sticky with sap that glues everything I touch together into a yearning only childhood can describe adequately.
It is all there, the church carolers hovering outside our door, long lines of bobbing heads breathing out cold whispery ghosts of Christmas past and waiting to sit on Santa’s knee, shepherd crook candy canes sucked into pointed daggers dueling with my tongue.
Each moment exists forever decorating my thoughts, reflected in ornaments hanging on our tree. Ours is a freshly cut pine with a universe of twinkling star lights. Always the tree is the center of everything, draped with the promise of Santa’s coming. Gifts litter the ground beneath it, each wrapped in love you can touch but not open just yet.
They’re talking about canceling Christmas this year. I heard them outside my door. How can you cancel all those frenzied, sleep tossed nights waiting for Dad to say it’s time to get up. The cookies mom made are always gone but the plate is there. The cat is inside the tree drinking it’s water again. We, children, become magnets pulled to whatever Santa left, knowing instinctively which are our own.
Time speeds up becoming a coiled spring ringing its alarm. Everything happens so fast. Opening presents becomes a blur.
They say Christmas will be canceled this year. They are keeping the children away for fear it will scare them. Even some of my grownup children are missing, lost to other religions and faiths Christmas does not adorn. Lost in time, unable to find their way to my bedside.
When they were little our tree turned to plastic stuffed in a closet except for this time of year. Carolers sang from radios turned off when they became too noisy. It was my job to fit Christmas into stray moments when the TV wasn’t on. I guess it wasn’t enough.
Now they’re going to cancel Christmas. They say it won’t hurt. I feel time slowing down. My heart beats a little bit like the ‘Little Drummer Boy’s drum. It can’t decide whether to beat fast or slow. I think I”ll choose ‘Silent Night’ now to sing goodbye to all the Christmas’ past.
My wife is singing ‘Joy to the World’ in my head. She never could sing on key but she wore a heart of gold and knew how to grow a smile on other's faces.
She’s the only one I ever knew who could turn every day into Christmas. I guess she did it so often people, yes even family, got used to it that it got harder to notice for them. I did. All those years of living Christmas helped me see what the sparkle in her eye really was. They took her away last year about this time. No-one knows she found a way to visit with me a little bit yet.
Merry Christmas all you good years. They’re canceling Christmas this December for me but I don’t mind. My life is filled up with them to overflowing.
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