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Reflections November 2012

Agelessly Yours

If I Was Alone

By Karen White-Walker

I met a man once who told me that during his entire childhood he never once had one birthday party or received a present, never celebrated a single Christmas. "My father was a big-time gambler, a high roller so all the money went on chips instead of on 'senseless treats,' he called them.”

If I want this to be an uplifting Thanksgiving column, we must get all the junk out of the way first. It's hard to be grateful with a hurting heart.

Let's not dwell on the fact that suicides soar during holiday time because those who have outlived loved ones are completely alone now. And let's not keep reminding ourselves how some peoples' poverty is magnified when they see shoppers' arms laden with turkeys and pumpkins. But how can you be truly alone or poor when you might reach deep down into the recesses of your memory and once again relive all the love and laughter?

"It's way too heart wrenching," sighed an elderly woman. "We were such a close clan, like two feet in one shoe, especially at Thanksgiving and Christmas."

"Be happy you fully celebrated the holidays," was my sage advice, as if I could do that if all my family was swept away.

I met a man once who told me that during his entire childhood he never once had one birthday party or received a present, never celebrated a single Christmas. "My father was a big-time gambler, a high roller so all the money went on chips instead of on 'senseless treats,' he called them.”

"You mean nothing was ever in your stocking?" I gasped.

"Yeah, my foot!" He was 80-something and he wore an expression of bitterness like he had just swallowed yams without a touch of brown sugar and nutmeg, cranberries without a spoonful of sugar.

We should be aware, but not sucked down into the doldrums when we see people without family, friends, enough food, fuel or medicine. The very least we can do then for our downtrodden brothers is to give them a smile, a warm gesture.

Come the holidays if I was alone without a coin in the cookie jar, I'd hum a happy tune and pretend I was singing for my supper. Boy, would I ever end up starving then because my singing voice is enough to make dogs cry.

If I was alone I'd cut a full bushy branch off an evergreen tree and swaddle it with cotton batten for the illusion of softness and snow. I'd spread colorful fall leaves around it and, for my festive feast, I'd spread a thick glob of peanut butter on my bread and dab jelly eyes, a nose, and a happy smile. If the face was a little too happy and in real contrast to mine, I'd smack a slice of bread right over his puss and smash that smirk right into the back side of the bread. But because that really isn't the true holiday spirit, and we must be charitable, I'd reconstruct his features, and in honor of the celebration, I'd place a candle in the middle of that sandwich.

If I was alone I'd light the candle and allow the flicker to dance in my eyes -- for bright eyes are a reflection of hope, you know. I'd allow the warmth from the melting wax to tease my aging, sagging face, threatening to burn the tip of my nose. And if that nose just happened to start dripping and extinguish the candle's flame, the realization would probably hit me hard. In a month it would be His birthday and I'd know His birthday wish because He's only been telling us for over 2,000 years, but it doesn't seem like a lot of us are “quick studies.” Talk about a Father having to repeat himself.

It's such a simple, comforting concept, but we're making it such an impossible feat. Maybe if we get all the junk out of the way first — hatred, greed, grudges, and trying to inflict our ill will onto others, we might help make God's wish come true. "Love one another as I have loved you."

In this we can't be alone, therefore, we should all be grateful!

 

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