Celestine Sibley, Lewis Grizzard, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain and Fannie Flagg are my favorite authors. Of all the books written by Sibley, my favorite is “Especially at Christmas.” A compilation of her experiences at Christmas through the years, the best chapter is, “There’s No Such Thing As A Poor Christmas.” In it she tells about a particular Christmas celebrated in rural Alabama during the Depression.
One dreary December morning, in 1930-something, Celestine’s father made the dismal observation that the lumber business was going badly. “It looks like a poor Christmas this year,” he said. Everyone knew he meant there wouldn’t be money for presents and such. Celestine’s mother, whom she called “Muv,” would have none of it. Horrified by the remark, Muv said, “A poor Christmas! Shame on you! There’s no such thing as a poor Christmas!” She continued, “Christmas stands by itself —glorious and unmatched by anything that happened in the history of the world. Jesus himself had come to dwell among men, and with a richness like that to celebrate, who could be so meaching and self-centered as to speak of a ‘poor’ Christmas?” Well said, Muv.
I trust all of you had fun celebrating Christmas with your friends and family. We didn’t get to go to Atlanta Saturday, as planned, to see my grandchildren. Saturday found us at Urgent Care where we were promptly diagnosed with a sinus infection. We also missed church Sunday because we were sick all weekend. Sickness notwithstanding, I do not consider that we had a “poor Christmas”! Not to be outdone, we rescheduled everything for this weekend.
Let’s talk about New Year’s resolutions
I’ve always enjoyed making New Year’s resolutions. In years past I honed in on a particular word and made it a theme in the new year. Sometimes I create an encouraging phrase for the new year as well. Many people have a lot of disdain for New Year’s resolutions. But we are all facing a fresh new year and we can set new goals.
I have not yet given much thought to New Year’s resolutions this year. More about that later.
Let’s talk about conversation
Through the years I have had delightful conversations with people from many different races and political affiliations. Conversations about countless issues. The reason is simple. I start the conversation.
Suppose I am having a conversation with “Sarah.” I look Sarah in the eye and say, “Sarah, I bet I won’t agree with you, but I want to hear what you have to say first.” Invariably a light goes off in Sarah’s eye. She enthusiastically starts talking, knowing that I am listening to her. She gets through having her say. I start talking and she listens. People are not used to being listened to. When people know they are being heard, they will listen to you all day long.
Now that I think about it, I have happened on a good resolution for all of us. I resolve that we have conversations about an array of subjects. That is very important. Conversation. One party talking. The other party listening.
We’re all so lucky,
Surrounded by family,
Friends all around
Happy New Year one and all!
Native Roman Pam Walker is a paralegal, and welcomes your email to her at email@example.com.