January is OK, too


2016-new-year-ss-1920I promised my wife Toni that I’d help take down the Christmas tree tomorrow.

Yes, I know it’s well into the new year, January 8 to be exact. I suppose a lot of people take down their tree and put away the ornaments and decorations the day after Christmas.

I’m glad to enjoy looking at the tree and the various collections of Santas and Christmas stockings for a few more days, even a week. What’s the rush?

We’re not the only family that spends a month getting ready for the holiday. Merchants at the mall aren’t featuring specials on Easter decorations. The sales are a bustling postscript to Christmas.

I made an appearance there just this morning. Mere rain doesn’t prevent me from hiking in nearby Foster Park. I just slip on my waterproof jacket and pants. But today it was cold enough to freeze in spots. I can get my walk in if it’s mostly ice. I just slip my spikes onto my New Balance shoes. Some ice on the walk sends me to the mall.

I suppose I’ve been saying for years that the Christmas holiday is over too fast. Well, if you’re just counting hours, you’ll see the holiday lasts just the same time as every other day of the year.

But I do enjoy the weeks of build-up, the shopping, the carols, the planning and the nice mood the holiday seems to have conferred on everybody.

For most people, it’s now back to the routine. Teachers and students have heard the bells and have joined everybody rushing down the hallways. The teachers’ lounge empties. Now from the front of the classroom, the she appeals for attention from students eager to share their holiday adventures.

Meantime, factories and stores fill with employees and customers. The newsroom where I spent a big chunk of my adult life settles back into a familiar routine. Even New Years’ hangovers have become just an unwelcome memory.

Well, nearly 12 months of a new day lie ahead. What will I make of this next year? In my student years, I could vow to study more, study harder. As a family featuring a spouse and children materialized around me, I could vow to listen better and help out more.

But at 77, I’ve probably exhausted the resolutions I could conjure. I wouldn’t say I’m as good as I’m going to get. Realistically, that’s probably the case, though I can hope for making minor course corrections.

I can think of two things to look forward to in 2016. First, I mean to do all the exercises the therapist has given me to cure my sore arm and shoulder. Second, I’m sure Toni and I will agree on our next travel adventure.

Of course, there’s that Christmas tree to take down and put away for next year. The season will be here before you know it. I can’t wait.

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