Skip to main content

Traditions


Perhaps it's because the end of the year is coming? Or maybe it's to do with the shorter days forcing one inside and leading to solitude and contemplation? Regardless of the precise reasons, I find myself reflecting on times past around Christmas. This year is no different. Thoughts drift back to holidays that have come before, of locations that used to be filled with loving friends and families, of those who are no longer with us.

Decades ago, my dad's side of the family would gather close to Christmas, first at my aunt Charlease's place, in later years at uncle Paul and aunt Vilda's abode. Charlease lived in a grey-walled residence at Country Fair apartments. It was small and humble, but it was also warm and cozy.  I quite enjoyed the Christmas gatherings there. Paul & Vilda's house on Kirby Ave. was a spacious ranch. It made for better breathing space for our large family.

There were lovely holiday gatherings on my mom's side. We would often go to aunt Betty and uncle Robert's home in the small town of Weldon. The food was good, and after eating we kids would play while the adults would sit and talk or watch a football game and yell at the TV. I always enjoyed those times. There was a similar gathering this Thanksgiving that mom and I attended, at our cousins' home in Farmer City. Many of the family members from years past were there, along with some new ones!

In more recent years, there have been different Christmas occurrences. Since 2000, I have spent various Christmas occasions in Oklahoma with Ashley's grandparents, mom, cousin and aunt, and in Kansas with Ashley's dad, his partner and her family. Other Christmases have been spent at our home here in Champaign, often with my mom coming over. There was one Thanksgiving, when I stayed home while Ashley went to visit his parents, that our friends Pius & Sue graciously welcomed me into their home for food and fellowship.

Thinking back, it becomes rather obvious that the constant to the Christmas tradition is that there have been many traditions. I rather like that, actually. The ephemeral nature of the holiday gatherings I've known reinforces the nature of life, that it is transient and that every year is different and to be cherished for what it brings, good and bad.

I miss those who are no longer here, but that makes me appreciate those who are here, and the friends and family members I have yet to meet and get to know. That's the beauty of the holidays: it's nice to look back, but the fleeting nature of the past forces us to appreciate the present and to look forward to what lies ahead.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

3/4

Ok, we're now three-fourths of the way through this year's calendar, so I thought I'd rank the thirty-eight 2017 movies I've seen so far.

Here they are....


1. A Quiet Passion
2. Baby Driver
3. Dunkirk
4. Get Out
5. Kedi
6. A Ghost Story
7. Wonder Woman
8. Columbus
9. Brad's Status
10. Marjorie Prime
11. Maudie
12. Logan
13. Spider-Man: Homecoming
14. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
15. Brigsby Bear
16. Atomic Blonde
17. The Big Sick
18. Split
19. Kong: Skull Island
20. It
21. Wind River
22. A Cure for Wellness
23. The Hitman's Bodyguard
24. Norman
25. Kingsman: The Golden Circle
26. Logan Lucky
27. Alien Covenant
28. Ghost In the Shell
29. War for the Planet of the Apes
30. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
31. Life
32. Annabelle: Creation
33. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
34. My Cousin Rachel
35. Baywatch
36. The Bye Bye Man
37. mother!
38. It Comes at Night


It will be interesting to see what the last three months of the year brin…

The Best Superhero Movies of All-Time, Revisited

We are just a few days away from the North American release of Avengers:Infinity War. While I am dutifully going to see it opening night, it's not a film I'm looking forward to. It is (spoiler) part one of two, which means we can expect plenty of plot threads left dangling when the credits roll. In other words, part two will probably be better, and provide some actual resolution. Also, Thanos looks like a CGI yawn-fest. Hopefully, I'll be proved wrong.
Nevertheless, this is a good opportunity to rank (again) the major superhero movies (Marvel and otherwise) that we've had so far. As you know, I love making a list, and this one is going to be a definitive one! If you don't see a film on here, it's because I haven't seen it (the first two Thors, Iron Man 2, some of the X-Men features, etc.).   Alright, here we go.

Walk and Chew Gum

Yesterday marked a touchstone moment in the U.S., as students across the country participated in "walkouts." This was an occasion for students to express an array of thoughts and emotions, ranging from a desire for stricter gun control, to simply sorrow over the loss of so many of their peers to school shootings. They were peaceful protests, but protests nonetheless. Where you're at on the spectrum of agreeing or disagreeing with what they did may vary, though not wanting to get shot in your school seems pretty reasonable to me.
Some folks have taken to sharing a meme on social media platforms this week -- in direct anticipation and response to the walkouts -- that encourages students to "walk up, not out." Following are suggestions provided for the walk ups:

Walk UP to the kid who sits ALONE and ask him to join your groupWalk UP to the kid who never has a voluntary partner and offer to be hersWalk UP to your teachers and thank them!Walk UP to someone and JUST …