Christmas 2009: Reflections

This year my wife, dog, and I spent Christmas in Durham, North Carolina at Tina’s mother’s house. Although this is my first time not being in the Northeast for the Christmas holiday, I always enjoy the drive down south. NC has this calming quiet about it, providing time for reflection, and peace. If I had a sleeping bag, I would have spent the night outside on the front lawn, in order to truly enjoy the southern stars during that clear evening night. There were many people happy to see us – both immediate and extended family. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen many of them in a while because of the distance. This was the first time Peanut was around a lot of people, so it was interesting watching how he adapted and interacted. He is really good with kids… loving and kind. But yet still most people, including the kids, have not been exposed to dogs as pets, so people sometimes tend to be nervous at first. But then most warm up to him over time.

I also had the opportunity to spend time with my brother Allen in Winston Salem. Its funny how no matter how long siblings are apart, no matter wherever and whenever you get together, it feels like home… like family. Reminiscing about the times growing up, reaffirming common interests, getting reacquainted with the nieces and nephew, just enjoying each other’s family. I remember when I was little he took me to the circus for my birthday. That was the first time I had been to a circus, so it was a really cool thing for me. He is also a brilliant musician and songwriter. He cut his first record at 19 years old. I remember it being a ’45’, one of those small records with the huge hole in the middle. I would play it over and over again… thinking to myself how cool it was to have a brother that is a music star. I remember going with him the studio where his band practiced. They told me to stay away from the drum set, but I was curious, so I refused to listen. In the end they understood my excitement, and allowed me to have my way for a little while. The drums are the coolest instrument to a kid, and to be exposed to that at such as early age was incredible to me.

On our way back up north we stopped over my Cousins house – Keith and Michael in Philadelphia and got fed Christmas dinner. We hung out, watched the Dallas vs. Washington football game, watched Peanut chase his tail, and talked mostly guy stuff. We are around the same age, so even though we did not grow up in the same household, we hung out from time to time (which reminds me… I never found out who let my skateboard roll down a sewer hole). Their mom and my mom used to make/sell chicken and fish dinners together, which meant that us kids we were guaranteed at least two plates per person. My oldest brother Maxie was under the weather and I wasn’t able to see him this go round, but we spoke over the phone. Like Allen, he is also a superstar in his own right, but I will go more into that in later posts. I do not take times like these for granted. Although family is never far from our hearts, sometimes we get so caught up in our day-to-day routines we don’t spend as much quality time as we could or should.

Jesus is the reason for the season. Yet, He doesn’t want us to be nice to each other just because we are honoring him during the holiday, but to be thoughtful and show the love of Christ that is in us on a regular basis. I generally don’t do resolutions, but one thing I will make a concerted effort to do is call people more often… not just at holidays. I have nieces, nephews, and cousins that are growing up, and I know little about them. It’s time for me to reconnect to what’s important – Family!!!

© 2009, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved

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