If you ride through our neighborhood and wonder who are the idiots with their Christmas decorations still up, that would be us. You see, the Arnold Free-For-All Christmas is this weekend and we have to look the part. It’ll all come down on Monday to be lovingly (Just cram it in over there, Darrell!) stored until next year leaving our house looking – well – bland til spring rolls around.
Did you ever wonder why some folks find winter so depressing? Personally, I love winter. Curling up with a cat or two in front of a crackling fire with flames dancing over logs strategically stacked in the fireplace just tickles my soul. It’s a far cry from the stifling heat of summers around here. You can only peel off so much and still be decent, y’ know. And you’ll still have rivers of sweat rolling down your face and unmentionables.
“Whirlwind” is the only way to describe what our Christmases have been like the past couple of years. With me not getting out of school until mid-December and the first part of the month being consumed with end-of-semester papers, projects and exams, pulling out three decades of Christmas decorations requires a strategic plan. Furniture has to be moved, plants relocated, and a lot of stuff hidden, thrown away, or otherwise dispatched until January requires we address it once more.
Thanksgiving with its brilliant colors and crisp fall temperatures offers us a last glimpse of the miracles of God’s autumn palette before we blanket the austerity of winter with holiday lights and activity. So for about six weeks, we revel in the joys of Christmas and then hit the proverbial brick wall of winter as soon as the attic door slams shut..
Once the last of the holiday linens has been packed away and the errant Santa figurine unearthed from the sofa cushions, we go about the business of dealing with the New Year and its associated resolutions. We vow to get in shape physically, mentally, financially, and spiritually — not necessarily in that order — and hope to get through January 2nd without breaking them all.
We greet the bleakness of winter filled with the residual excitement of having spent time with family and friends over Christmas. But as we resume the rut of routine the first week in January, the daily grind soon depletes our excitement. We sit at our desks and look out the window for a brief respite from the mundane and are greeted by naked trees grey in the winter light cutting jagged lines through the January sky. We yearn to take a walk, but we’re fighting off a sinus infection and just can’t take the time off work if we’re too sick to stay on the job.
We look around us and the doldrums of mediocrity drag us down. We see things that need to be changed, but don’t know what to do. We wait for something to happen, but no matter how hard we wish for a miracle, nothing happens. We think we cannot handle another year like the one before, but it looks to be no different. We pray for ideas, but the only ones the Lord sends require that we actually get involved.
Everywhere we turn, we’re told that money is tight. Well, guess what: Some things don’t require dollars. They demand a willing spirit, some ingenuity, and the drive to get something done.
What a novel idea for your 2010! Instead of waiting for the usual suspects to come to the rescue this winter, give your life a shot of excitement: See that group that needs help? Spearhead the effort yourself! Gather some like minds, brainstorm some solutions and make the winter of 2010 one of the warmest in memory. Get up. Get involved. Get something done. Make a valuable contribution no matter how small it may seem.
Don’t be afraid of rejection — nobody worth their salt turns down a pair of hands! There are good things on the horizon all around us, but it’s going to take willing volunteers with a boatload of enthusiasm and the will to succeed to make them happen right here at home.
Winter 2010 – what a great time to be in Barrow County! We ain’t got no money, but we’re rich in talent, caring folks who will pool their resources to make our home be the best it can be. And to heck with the naysayers and those who would tear us down.
Happy New Year, y’all.
Helen Person is a columnist for the Barrow Journal. E-mail comments about this column to firstname.lastname@example.org.