I Confess, I Just Don’t Get It…

It seems the thing now to share on social media is you will be saying Merry Christmas because you are putting Christ back in Christmas.  When was it ever determined that a person was not permitted to use that greeting at this time of the year?  And why is it deemed wrong to wish someone Happy Holidays?  Now before you get all ticked off at me, let me give you my feelings about this.

I was not brought up to believe Christmas started Thanksgiving afternoon.  Heck, there were radio stations playing all Christmas music right after Halloween this year!  In my family, the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve was preparation time for the Christmas Holidays.  Baking — lots of it.  All the traditional cookies, etc.  Tons of them. All boxed and wrapped well and placed in the freezer. Crafts of one sort or another were made.

The Christmas tree was put up and decorated on Christmas Eve.  Christmas carols were played while we marveled and reminisced at our favorite ornaments, as we hung them on the tree.  The final touch was the silver tinsel my mother hung on the tree.  This was her job.  No-one could do it.  She took each piece of silver and hung it just right so that it hung down in the perfect icicle formation. No matter how misshapen the tree was to begin with, it always ended up beautiful.

We would get together with our relatives and then go to midnight mass. Or at least we did that when we were older.  Prior to being old enough, we willingly went to bed early because morning would come so much sooner.  This was the beginning of the Holidays.

Christmas morning was gift opening and families gathering in one house or another. All the abundant food was set out and eating went on throughout the day.  Neighbors and friends stopped by to have a drink and pass on their Merry Christmases. I don’t ever remember any one giving gifts. That was not what it was about.  It was celebrating the birth of Jesus.

And the celebration didn’t end on Christmas afternoon.  The tree wasn’t put out at the curb.  The carols didn’t stop playing on the radio. Christmas season went on.  More people would stop by for a drink and some Christmas goodies days after.

And the tree never came down before Epiphany — January 6. Why?  Because it was Twelfth Night.  The Three Kings had arrived to welcome Baby Jesus! Three Kings Day! And it was the Baptism Day of Jesus by John the Baptist

So when I wish you a Happy Holiday, I’m not taking Christ out of Christmas, I’m remembering the entire holiday season. I find it so depressing to look out in my neighborhood and see all the trees out at the curb late Christmas afternoon.  To me it shouldn’t be over.  Wait for the Wise Men!

I mourn for the real holiday.  The one that meant something other than shopping and gifts. Just because the retail shopping season is over doesn’t mean Christmas should be over, as well. Why are we in such a rush to start Christmas on Thanksgiving and end it Christmas day? Why can’t we start it Christmas week and end it after the New Year?  Why can’t we wait for the Wise Men to get there?

I’m going to continue to wish you Happy Holidays and you can wish me Merry Christmas, but don’t mistake my greeting as not putting Christ in Christmas because if I see your tree at the curb before the Wise Men get there, I’ll know you’ve confused the Christmas shopping season with the Christmas Holiday season. Think of the shopping part as the baking and creating part of my Holiday past.

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They’re Wearing Me Out, Folks

My grandchildren go to year-round schools.  This means that they go for 10 weeks, then they are out for three.  This results in four 3 week vacations a year, called being tracked out. Next year my granddaughter (14) will go into high school and this will all change.  The high school in her area is a traditional calendar — summers off.  So my grandson (7) will transfer to a traditional elementary.  This is going to be a big change for us. I don’t know if I’m ready for this.

That being said, they tracked out last week, so I brought them down to my place in Murrells Inlet.  Since it’s no longer beach or pool weather, I had to find other ways to keep them busy and refrain from bugging each other until I’d lose my sanity.

First night, dinner at Nance’s Restaurant in Murrells Inlet.  My granddaughter loves this place for their oyster roasts. Well, we were in for a disappointment because they had no oysters. I hadn’t taken into account Hurricane Matthew and the damage that was inflicted here on the oysters.  But she happily chose the steampot.  My grandson chose his standard chicken strips, since they didn’t have mac ‘n cheese on the menu.

After cautioning her to not eat the potatoes and just concentrate on the “good stuff”, she surprised me by eating everything.  How does she fit all that food into that thin body? Then again, she is a teenager and all they do is eat.

My grandson, on the other hand, mostly consumes the french fries, ketchup, and hush puppies.  I oftentimes say that we should just order fries for him, but then I know no self-respecting grandmother would really do that.  Right?  You don’t do that, do you?

The consensus for the next day was a trip to the Aquarium at Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach.  The last time we went was during summer and it was crowded!  Can you picture a mob scene?  And how funny was it that we ran into my niece from Raleigh and her child?  Anyway, this time there was no crowd.  We practically ran through the exhibits. Because it was so pricey, I wanted them to go through two or three more times.  Okay, I got them to go through one more time. I wanted my money’s worth.

My grandson loved the people mover, the sharks and the interactive displays.  I loved the regular walkways, being afraid I’d hurt myself stepping on and off those darn moving things. So okay, I’m getting old and feeble. And insecure about my ability to stay upright.

Since I couldn’t get anymore of my money’s worth out of this place, we headed out to an early dinner.  We chose Margaritaville.  The only other time I tried to eat there it was a – wait.  No one should be eating dinner at 10:00 at night, in my opinion, so we passed.  This time we walked right in.

They loved the decor!  Next time we’ll try to get a table in one of the sailboats. The music wasn’t bad either. Hey. Hey. Hey. Mac ‘n cheese on the menu.  And Pyramid Nachos!  And cheese curds. It was a cheesy kind of dinner. And the nachos really were a pyramid! We all shared.

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Next day on to Charleston, SC, one of our favorites.  No matter how many times we go there, we always enjoy it. As we were passing through McClellanville, SC., we decided to stop and see the 1000 year old tree.

After a little swinging and climbing, we got back in the car for the rest of our journey. I have to admit, I did have to insist that no one was to touch anyone!  Everyone had to keep their hands on their own bodies! And I said that in my outdoor voice. That lasted for a little while, at least.

Arriving in Charleston, it was well after lunch and we were hungry.  We finally found a place to park the car, which wasn’t easy. We very quickly came upon a place with a menu posted outside.  Something had goat cheese!  Let’s eat here. And we were glad we did.  I had the best hamburger I believe I’ve ever eaten.  Lila had a grilled cheese with homemade potato salad which looked really good.  Shane had the pasta with butter and Parmesan cheese. Jim had breakfast.  We will definitely go back to Eli’s Table at 129 Meeting Street again.  We all highly recommend it.  Even though Shane ate every bit of macaroni in his bowl, on the way home he announced he didn’t like it.  Haha!  I did tell him one time that he was a picky eater.  His response?  “I’m not picky, my tongue is picky.”

Now that we all had full bellies, it was time to hit the town.  We shopped and we walked and then went to another favorite spot, the playground down by the Battery. So, while they got to run around and work of some energy, Jim and I took the opportunity to take a rest. There was a little boy, about 3, who was getting a tennis lesson.  Wow!  That little boy was good. How did his parent’s know he had that talent?

On our way back to the car, Lila mentioned that she wouldn’t want to live there.  Why?  “Well, there’d be too many people like us walking around all the time.”  She had a point!

As we came to Washington Park, it was time for another rest.  That park is so peaceful and serene.  I always feel the need to stop there for a bit.1025161712

The next day, it was time to take them back home.  I hope they had some fun stories to tell.  I know I needed a rest. How will I ever survive a whole summer?