Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Although it's been said many times, many ways

Here we are in the midst of the fastest and--I do believe that old cliche--most wonderful week of the year. I threw a pork roast in the crock pot Monday. One thing doesn't have anything to do with the other. I just thought for historical record it should be noted that I cooked my first roast.

One of the highlights of my holiday season thus far has been having the opportunity to go caroling. I had either never been caroling or hadn't been since I was in school. It's hard to say as my memory gets foggy once you get past November.

Friday night, a group of ten of us loaded up in a rented church van. (Oh, the great tales that have started with that line.) We began by just going to houses of elderly people in the area that one person or another knew. But at the end of the night, we wound up at the nursing home.

Originally, we went there to sing for a specific person, but shortly after entering we found ourselves in an area where five or six residents in wheelchairs were sitting around. It just seemed like we should do something, so we sort of did an impromptu performance right there in the hall. After that, we wound up going to a couple of different rooms.

It was hard to see people who were in such bad shape. I wondered how frequently they had visitors. Or infrequently. I felt guilty when I thought about what my Christmas would be like compared to theirs. The image of a bedridden man mouthing the words to "Joy To The World" as we sang in his room--that will stay with me.

None of us said much as we left. It's hard to put the experience into words. But I think it's safe to say we were all affected. We were all glad we had decided to stop there, and I think to some degree, wished we would have gone there in the first place.

It was a re-centering of perspective, for sure. A reminder to be thankful for what I have. That time and good health are two things never to be taken for granted.

I'm off now to purchase a last-minute gift. I always like to go out to the stores a day or two before Christmas to soak up the atmosphere, be amongst the crowds, feel the cold, and hear Christmas music playing. You know, because I'm deranged like that. I dunno, that's a pure life moment for me. It only happens once a year, and the years--well I've learned to cherish them more as I go.

So Happy Festivus (today) and Merry Christmas from my humble abode to yours. I hope the season finds you in good health and good humor. But especially good health.

"Of all the gifts, love is the best..."


  1. feel the cold

    Funny, but the Weather Channel's map of temperatures nationwide doesn't list "cold" for Alabama :)

    I cracked up at the Church van line - that was hilarious.

    Your presents look great! I can't believe you wrap all your own presents yourself: that's very impressive!

    Hope you have a wonderful Festivus, and the merriest of Christmases.

    Stay healthy. And happy.

    PS: Is it too soon to ask you to please post pics of Nephew Bone celebrating Christmas this year? O:)

  2. Happy Festivus, Merry Christmas, my favorite Alabaman
    The first paragraph cracked me up. Most of the rest was beautiful. You know I was a nursing home social worker. Wasn't hard when I was working. Was hard after. You captured a lot of feelings and many people do get visitors but at the oddest times. Others forget that they do or sometimes, blessingly, forget that they don't.

    Then we get to you going shopping and honestly Bone that gave me a whole new perspective on Christmas shopping
    The gifts are too perfect. You can always get a part time job as a wrapper

  3. feel the cold?! it's 59 degrees in Birmingham. balmy.

  4. This is for TC - Aaaaarrrrrrrrrghhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!

    I can't get to your blog.. I know I know I know.. I lost ..can't find..don't know how to find your email so I can be invited to read it.. I MISS YOU!!!!

  5. Happy Festivus, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year. :-)

  6. Happy and Merry everything to you Bone.

  7. Wish you a very Merry Christmas !!

  8. TC - Well, it's breezy out. That makes a difference! :) Besides, I didn't want to mention that I wore shorts earlier this week to run.

    Thanks for the holiday wishes.

    Pia - Yeah, I thought about that as I was writing. Knew you would have a unique perspective.

    Well, thanks. Maybe I should have looked into that this year. That possibly could have paid for a trip to Pasadena.

    Shelby - Well, it's 49 here now. Wind chill of 40. Brrrr :) Besides, balmy just doesn't sound Christmasy.

    Xinh - Thank you. And I wish you and Sharky the same. Most of all, it's good to see you back around.

    Cooper - Well, Merry everything to you, Miss Cooper.

    Unseen Rajasthan - Thanks. I wish you the same.

  9. Cooking pork is a coming-of-age ritual for Southern men, welcome to the club!

    Good for you for going to the nursing home, that was nice. A few years ago, I took my daughter with me to visit someone in a nursing home who used to play the violin--so my daughter had her violin and it was the day they had their monthly birthday party (and their entertainment stood them up). The social worker hearing my daughter play in this woman's room asked if she would be the entertainment--she did great, playing the 4-5 songs she knew at the time over and over! The residents loved it.

  10. Merry Christmas, Bone. Did you ask Santa for a national championship this year?

  11. I got teary eyed as you wrote about the man mouthing words to Joy to the World. I think it's because I have memories from nursing homes that will stay with me forever as well. A high school friend and I used to go visit those in nursing homes. We seemed to always come away more blessed and aware of our good health. It's a wonderful feeling.

    Merry Christmas Bone!

  12. Sometimes the best gifts are the ones you can't wrap. I'm sure you brought more joy to those men and women in the nursing home than you really understand. I'm happy to know that you were able to bless and be blessed! I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas Bone! Festivus is the Bestivus!

  13. a Very Merry Christmas to you Bone! Sounds as if you're having a wonderful Holiday season.

    Happy Festivus too!

  14. J Adamthwaite - Merry Christmas to you.

    Sage - It's funny how things work out unexpectedly like that. Those are sometimes the best moments. I was worried about not singing well enough when the night started, but pretty quickly realized that perfect pitch did not matter to anyone we sang for.

    Any other coming of age rituals I should be looking forward to?

    Susan - Let's just say we put all our trust in the good St. Nick :)

    Merry Christmas!

    Charlotta - It was a moving experience. It left me thankful and at the same time feeling like I don't do nearly enough.

    Merry Christmas to you and the Char-Lettes.

    Small Town Girl - Festivus is the Bestivus!

    I haven't heard that one before. I like it! :) Merry Christmas to you, too.

    Renee - Merry Christmas and Happy Festivus to you, DH, DD, Lilly and the bunnies. (Am I forgetting anyone?)

  15. That was really sweet- the part about the bedridden man. On sort of a similiar vein I sometimes wonder how well I will fair as age. I don't worry about how I look of course, I just wonder if I will have my mind and be able to take care of myself for the most part on my own. Sometimes growing old- seems very scary, even though it is still a long way off for now. Merry Christmas to you!

  16. Good for you Bone. May you have a Merry Christmas!

  17. Merry Christmas Bone.

    Ther Christmas van and the crockpot cracked me up and then you do what you do best switch gears.

    The caroling in the nursing home brought a tear to my eye and I thought how wonderful the residents felt even if it was just for a moment. You reminded people without coming out and saying it; it is the quality of life that matter not the quantity.

    Again Merry Christmas to you and yours. Enjoy Nephew Bone.

  18. love that you ended up caroling at the nursing home. once i enjoyed a visit to the nursing home and ended up visiting an old lady there a few times before she passed away. i met her wonderful family even. it's definitely an experience you don't forget.

    Happy Festivus, Christmas and everything inbetween. Hope you've had a wonderful day.

  19. Merry Merry Bone! Looks like a lot of gifts under that tree! Hope you had a wonderful holiday!
    How did the roast turn out? Gotta watch out what cut of meat you use in a crock pot... usually not a tenderloin, more like a shoulder... I do love to make stew in a crockpot too.. get some beef - chuck roast... cube it... throw on some of the pot roast seasoning they sell in the seasoning isle of the grocery store... add veggies (usually not the spuds as they just take up too much room...) several hours later and with the magic of TV (errr or blog o vision) a picture perfect meal for you and several of your closest friends! (a date prehaps... ohhhhhh now THAT is sure to impress a lady... not that that pork roast wouldnt!!!) =]

    Stay safe!

  20. i am so moved that you went caroling at that nursing home Bone.I can visualize the sad setting your described.
    hoping your Christmas was as special as I think you are.
    xox much love and hugs

  21. Is one of those presents mine?

  22. I hope that you had a wonderful Christmas, Bone!

  23. Merry Christmas!

    Hope our next gift comes on Jan7th!

  24. What a lovely, touching post...I know the elderly folks appreciated your visit so much, Bone. It is hard to see their daughter dances in a community service dance group that performs at nursing homes, and I always feel a sadness for some of the people there who seem very alone.

    It sounds like you had a lovely Christmas...I'm glad. And congrats on the roast! :~)

  25. I have yet to ride in a church van, sing for old people OR do a roast in a crockpot. I think the latter I might try soon. Do you use dried onion soup mix? Why do I have a strange feeling that it's just a lump of meat with maybe salt and pepper on it. :-)

  26. Michelle Gartner - I wonder about that myself sometimes, especially if I never have kids. I suppose the onus would fall to my sister, though I'm not sure she's aware of that yet.

    Ed Abbey - Thanks. I hope you had a Merry Christmas as well.

    PennyCandy - it is the quality of life that matter not the quantity.

    Very well said.

    Thanks! Nephew Bone was definitely the center of attention this year.

    Michelle Johnson - Oh, that sounds like a wonderful thing that you did. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, too.

    Helene - Thanks. The roast turned out well, I thought. I just bought a small pork roast (that's how it was labeled--I think it may have been pre-seasoned with something) then chopped up some carrots, onions, and potatoes and put in. Added some garlic salt and lots and lots of black pepper.

    I would like to try the stew at some point, especially while it's cold outside.

    Lucy - Aww, thanks Miss Lucy. It was a moving experience. I was left feeling like I should visit more, not just during the holidays.

    OKChick - Um actually, no. I kept yours out separate. It's this silver elephant ashtray thingy :)

    MamaZen - Thank you. I hope you did as well, MamaZen.

    Cami - That would truly make it the best Christmas ever. Roll Tide!

    Sweetest In The Gale - That's a wonderful thing that your daughter does. I definitely need to do more community service, and not just at the holidays.

    Murf - It was pretty much a lump of meat. But I chopped up carrots, red potatoes and onions and put in, too.

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