A Short Tale of Many Feelings

Last evening, Christmas Eve, was ‘groovy’.  I decorated my little black convertible with a big red bow on the front grill, evergreen trim in the back and battery-powered multi-colored blinking Christmas lights around the windshield.  A thermos was filled with hot chocolate and a snack of raisins secured in a baggie.  Then my lady and I bundled up layer upon layer to warm us on a 20-something degree evening’s long ride to see Christmas lights.

 The festively decorated car got more than a few waves and car horn honks along with lots of assorted smiles and looks of amusement.  I found myself wondering if some saw the red jacket I was wearing as a hint of Santa Claus.  My nearly all white facial hair and that on my head sticking out from my hat probably added to the suggestion.  While completely unintentional, I like the thought!  What a ‘funky’ Santa I must have looked like!

After about an hour’s sightseeing we stopped around 10pm in a church parking lot to warm up with hot chocolate and snack on a few raisins.  There were cars already in the parking lot and slowly more arrived.  While we never knew for certain it appeared these were early arrivals for some sort of late night/early morning service or pageant.  That thought added a little more to the special feeling of the night before Christmas.  

After our ten minute break we continued our tour of Christmas displays.  In total we spent about two and a half hours finding delightful do-it-yourself exhibits and having a great time.  Especially enjoyable were the neighborhoods where many families decorated their homes and we drove slowly savoring those particularly.  The highlight was two homes with thousands of Christmas lights synchronized to music that could be tuned in on my car radio.  As others did, I stopped the car and turned the headlights and smiled the entire time I watched the lights jump, jiggle and blink.  The displays were beautiful but not of the caliber of the millions of lights at a local bible college called Rhema does each year.  Tonight we plan to go there for the second look-see this season.  

After the exhilarating experience of being out in the cold for a few hours, we came home, warmed up and realized we were exhausted.  Sleep came soon after and the last I remember looking at clock it was twelve minutes after midnight.  The first I saw of the morning light was a little past 8am when my Sweetie brought me coffee in bed.  She had gotten up about a quarter-hour earlier which was just enough time to make the morning brew.  My first impressions of the day were the smell of fresh coffee, my lady in her robe that is “Santa red” and a warm smile on her face; a wonderful way to greet Christmas morning. 

After sipping coffee for a while soon we were handing out to each other the gifts that “Santa Claus” had left the night before.  Opening was a slow and fun process with her opening one and then me opening one, back and forth until all five presents were opened.  Ironically there were the same number of gifts for each of us.  

Two gifts from my Brother in Alabama arrived several days ago and I choose to wait until Christmas morning to open them.  Both were thoughtful and useful gifts.  One was a type of “emergency hammer” one keeps in the car to break a window in case of an accident.  The other was a cool, tiny “Leatherman utility tool”.  Remarking how much I liked it, I said years ago I received as a Christmas gift the tool’s ‘big brother’.  I was talking about the ultimate Swiss Army knife, the largest one made; so large it had to be carried in a scabbard on one’s belt.  

Wanting to show the comparison to my love, I went to my bedroom and started to look for the ‘big brother’ in my dresser.  First in the drawer I always kept it in and then a second one where it might be.  After going through all nine drawers a third time it became evident the Swiss Army knife was not there.  I have not used it in years. It’s possible I misplaced it, but doubtful. 

Some of my jewelry was stolen about a year ago. The culprit was either those who cleaned my house (although I don’t think it was them), some workman who had access to my bedroom when I was not home or else the movers when I relocated nine months ago.  I will never know where two weddings rings from previous marriages and a diamond pinky ring that belonged to my deceased father went.  The violation has bothered me a lot, but had settled.  Today finding the Swiss Army knife missing reawakened that discomfort and loss.  

Either the ultimate Swiss Army knife was taken with my jewelry or it was accidentally or intentionally mixed into my ex-wife’s things when she packed it all. I was served divorce papers at the airport returning from a business trip and summarily locked out of what had been our home.  She packed almost all my things, hence my suspicion.  I know there are other belongings that ended up with her.  In my mind it is a possibility she has the big knife, but in my heart I would rather blame the thief that took my other stuff.  There has been enough pain caused by the demise of my second marriage.  It is ongoing peace I want most of all for both of us.  In that spirit I will lean on my gratitude for the good times she and shared and thankfulness for the many other material blessings I have.   After all the Swiss Army knife is just a thing and at best I was only its temporary caretaker.  Eventually it was destined to someone else’s anyway.

Most of all this morning I am thankful the spirit of Christmas is acutely alive within me this year.  I am glad forgiveness for anyone who has wronged me is now easy to come by.  At the top of my gratitude list is my love for a special woman who I care about without the complication and dysfunction that troubled all my previous relationships.  In the spirit of the birth Christ-mas celebrates I give humble thanks. Merry Christmas!

Forgive all who have offended you, not for them, but for yourself.  Harriet Nelson

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