Posted in About me, Holidays, Home, Reflection

What happened to the magic?

A few weeks ago, I was excited about the upcoming holiday season.  With a new job in a company that is heavily focused on the holidays, I thought this year would be different.  The last few years, I have preferred for December to just skip by and leave me be.  Due to family issues, Christmas wasn’t joyous or even fun; it was simply uncomfortable.  This year, though, I decried my negativity of Christmas pasts and decided to jump in feet first.  I remembered the magic of the holiday season and I wanted it back.  I burned a CD of Bing Crosby Christmas music (because hello?  He OWNS Christmas) and happily tossed it into the player of my car.  I was greatly looking forward to the grand displays of lights that I would easily see since I drive home from work in the dark now.

About five days after my exuberant start to the Christmas season, it started to wane.  I realized that my heart wasn’t in it like I thought it would be.  I wasn’t listening to the Christmas music and paying attention to anything on my drive home besides watching out for drunk drivers.  Tonight, we watched A Christmas Story  (favorite holiday movie ever) and took Roxie for a walk at 2am and I noticed that there weren’t any Christmas lights twinkling in windows or lit trees glowing against the backdrop of gossamer curtains.  And then it made me wonder – where is Christmas this year?

I remember Christmases as a child. From the time I was 8 until age 13, the majority of my holiday seasons were spent inside my parents’ jewelry store.  I remember the Santa’s village that my dad built out of wood and decorated to put in the window.  I remember Mom playing Bing Crosby on the stereo and going to stand out in the street so that I could hear “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” blaring through the outside speakers as I watched the residents of the town bustle by on the sidewalk.  Mom’s big, gorgeous Christmas tree that stood in one corner of the store, beautifully decorated.  The scent of cinnamon candles.  The sound of the polisher as Dad finished sizing a ring that would end up on some lucky woman’s finger on Christmas morning. The sound of crisp wrapping paper being torn from the roll.  My brother and I watching the little mouse that peeked out of the pockets of the advent calendar that hung in our mom’s office, our eyes heavily focused on the number “24” because we knew that was when the magic really happened.

During that same time, we lived in the country outside a tiny town with nothing but a Revco and a grocery store for shopping.  Anytime we needed anything, we had to head to New Albany or Jeffersonville or even Louisville.  I distinctly remember bundling up in my winter coat and climbing into the backseat our Chevy Celebrity for a trip to Service Merchandise or Target or, if we were really lucky, a trip to the mall to go Christmas shopping.  Afterwards, we would wind our way up Floyds Knobs to look at all the Christmas lights and stare out over the twinkling lights of the Louisville metro area. My teeth would chatter with excitement.

And then, Christmas Eve would come and the jewelry store would close in time for us to pile into the car and head to Corydon, where we would gather with my Dad’s family.  “Santa” would always visit, wearing the same threadbare suit my father had originally purchased in the 1960s.  Every year, it was toted out by an uncle or a cousin and we all got a present from his bag.  Every year, the suit looked a little worse.  The material was starting to unravel, the beard nothing but a few spindly threads of white fuzz.  Then, once we’d had our fill of holiday cheer in the form of my dad’s odd family, we’d climb back into the car and make the hour drive home.  By then, it was late.  My brother and I usually slept on the way and went to bed as soon as we got home, but we rarely slept on Christmas Eve.  We always camped out in my bedroom and would force ourselves to get two or three hours of sleep at most, then wake up at 5am and stare at the clock until 6, which was the designated time that we were allowed to wake up Mom and Dad and then dive into the living room to see what Santa brought us.  There was always evidence of Santa, too.  Half-eaten cookies.  A sooty boot print left in front of the fireplace.

So many memories.  So much magic.  

I started this post wanting to know what happened to all that magic but I think, over the course of writing this, that I found it.  It’s not gone.  I haven’t lost it at all.  It’s simply not the same as it used to be, but it’s there.  And in my memories, I find that the magic is still as strong as ever.

Posted in Reflection, Writing

Nostalgia and whimsy and…. travel trailers?

Superman had Kryptonite; I have nostalgia and whimsy to bring me to my knees.  And it strikes in the oddest of ways.  I can’t predict when I’m going to be caught in the headwinds of fanciful dreaming – it just happens and sometimes it lasts for days on end.  I woke up this morning feeling moody and exhausted, but once I got to work, I settled into my new, much more private and quiet office (which I just moved into on Monday), popped in my earbuds, turned on my iPod, and called up the playlist of some old friends.  Okay, so I don’t actually know Jim and Marian Jordan, who played Fibber McGee and Molly on a radio show of the same name from the 30s-50s, but I feel like I know them.  Honestly, I’ve been listening to the 800+ episodes I have for so many years now that their voices are comforting to me.  When I can’t sleep at night, I listen to a few of their shows and they lull me to sleep.  When I’m stressed to my very limits, their voices help ease me into a quiet calmness.  They make me nostalgic for a time I never lived through and for things that I couldn’t possibly experience during my lifetime.

Today was one such day where, after listening to Fibber and Molly for most of the day (in between an endless stream of needy employees parading in and out of my office), that sentimental feeling stuck with me.  I came home, fixed supper, and then Tim and I got Roxie ready for her walk.  We went down my favorite little stretch of road in our neighborhood.  Lined with trees and horse pastures, it reminds me of the solitude that my country-girl soul misses since we live within the city limits.  I began telling Tim about my hopes to someday own and restore a vintage travel trailer to use as a writing office. I want to plop it right in the middle of a field, maybe near a big old oak tree. We actually owned one a few years ago but it was just too far damaged to be restored without costing us an arm and a leg, so we sold her (a 1971 New Paris Traveler that I named Gracie) to someone who could restore her.  Even though Gracie is gone, my dream for a travel trailer isn’t gone.  I can practically hear the plunking of the raindrops on the metal roof as I sit inside, sipping on tea and tapping away at my laptop.  This strong desire to get a travel trailer right this very nanosecond led me to tincantourists.com, where the classifieds, filled with pages and pages of adorable travel trailers for sale, invoke such strong stabs of whimsy and longing inside me that it almost hurts.  I mean, here are just a few samples from what is currently for sale on that site.

HOW CAN YOU NOT WANT ONE, TOO???

Anyway, as my Friday night wanes into a 3-day holiday weekend that’s supposed to be filled with rain and relaxation, I hope these gushy, dreamy-eyed notions continue.  They usually lead to creativity and a feeling of lightheartedness – both of which I need right now.