By Jim McCloskey
I’ve always been a Christmas junkie. I grew up with two brothers and three sisters (I was fifth in line), and with so many people involved, the activity level in our household started building with Thanksgiving and didn’t really calm down until sometime after January 1.
One of my fondest memories is of the first year in which I was allowed to help in tinseling the Christmas tree. All of five years old, I was handed a small clutch of silvery strands to hang on the bottom-most branches. I know now that I was given the assignment because nobody else liked the bending and contortions that were involved, but I felt so grown up and responsible that it didn’t matter one bit.
And the apprenticeship was short: The next year I was given free rein to work where I chose, so my range the second time around reached up to about the four-foot mark on the ten-foot trees we always set up in the front window of our living room.
Nowadays, I am mostly alone in the Zen-like exercise of tinseling. My brothers and sisters are scattered across the country with their own families — and with homes of their own to deck with holiday trimmings. My own family is grown, our nest is empty, and my wife Judy has never had much patience for the one-strand-at-a-time approach I insist on to achieve just the right appearance of shimmering glory.
If that seems a bit bittersweet, it truly isn’t: As I work my way slowly around the tree, I am constantly joined by memories of past holiday seasons — the giddy mornings, the joke gifts, the corn-pancake breakfasts that kept my father at the griddle for hours while a small army ate its fill. I remember tinseling with my own children, too, and look forward to collecting more holiday memories when we’re all together through the long weekend that starts this coming Friday.
It is indeed a special time of the year, and whatever your religious beliefs, I hope you enjoy a sense of renewal from recognizing that the days are getting longer once again, the New Year is near and we all have much to accomplish in 2012 and beyond.
From all of us in the WaterShapes family, please accept our best wishes for a happy holiday season and a prosperous New Year! We all should have big plans and high hopes for a bright future, one that will begin with a great 2012!
What do you see coming next year? Is some form of business recovery on its way, or are you thinking the difficult “new normal” is here to stay? Please let me know what you think below.