There almost was not going to be a column this week, unless my editor had time to pull an oldie out of the archives. There certainly are plenty to choose from, like the one about why and how we unplugged the Christmas Machine in 1980. I’d had it with all the commercialism and the resulting stress, which left me with an annual case of the flu. Some people were shocked, and one reader called me Scrooge, but there’s such a thing as self-preservation. There is also an old saying: “Even monkeys learn from experience.” I was simply sick and tired of getting sick and tired. I discovered the warm satisfaction of giving to the needy instead of buying stuff for people who already have plenty of stuff.
The main reason for “almost no column” has been my constant concern for loved ones affected by the California fires, but a few minutes ago I got word that everyone is safe, and they are all together (under one roof) making the best of a lousy situation, so you are getting an original column after all.
This is the fifth Christmas without my best friend Burt — and there must be some great truth to those words “time heals” because only recently has the painful grief let up (not entirely, but sort of), leaving me with the feeling of being OK and capable of standing alone on my own two legs. Well, that’s a joke because I’m still recovering from serious torn ligament surgery, but at least I’m getting out and about with only one hiking stick, which my friend Gina Nielsen decorated for the holidays.
Speaking of friends, I’d like to mention just a few of the folks who have given me unexpected holiday joy. I didn’t plan on going to the annual Festival of Trees gala this year until Nancy Stevens called and invited me to join her table of friends, including pickup and delivery since I don’t drive at night. I almost said no but ended up going and coming home with a happy glow instead of feeling like a fifth wheel.
I don’t usually mention a whole bunch of names in a column, but here’s just a few more who probably don’t even realize what their thoughtful gestures mean to me. For weeks, Chef Don Lindly, who loves to cook, has been sending his gourmet creations to my door, delivered by his wife, Lin. My neighbor, Jackie Stankey, knows I love macaroons, but her husband George does not, so I get his share, which he leaves on my porch along with their copy of The Oregonian and my mail. Last week, Wes Bullock made sure I got one of his famous fruit cakes. Those who have tasted these liquor-laden gems know you do not devour a piece and attempt to drive.
Here is a short bit of wisdom I spotted on Facebook: “To be happy, you must let go of what’s gone. Be grateful for what remains. Look forward to what is coming next.”
By the way, if you feel like a good giggle, look on the internet for “Nativity scene toddlers.” It’s a short video of six very young children on a church altar. They are trying to portray the nativity scene while a choir of kids sings “Away in the Manger.” Suddenly, a 2 year old (posing as a sheep) grabs Baby Jesus out of the manger and begins dancing with the baby. A slightly older Virgin Mary tries to rescue Baby Jesus without success until she puts the 2 year old in a headlock — all caught on camera while the congregation roars with laughter. That video has gone viral. See it if you can.
That’s it for this week, except for wishing you Merry Christmas or happy holidays. There are those who are all hung up on what’s PC or not, so just pick what works for you.
Bobbie Lippman is a professional writer who lives in Seal Rock. She is the author of “Good Grief: A Collection of Stories As One Woman Journeys From Heartbreak To Healing Through Honesty and Humor” (Dancing Moon Press). The book (with all proceeds going to Rotary International) is available at JC Market in Newport and directly from Bobbie, who can be contacted at [email protected]