It’s been another hard news week. It seems like that’s becoming the norm in modern American society. No matter which news outlet you favor, there are a slew of heartbreaking or alarming stories. Even if you simply pop on your phone to get directions or check your bank account, it’s hard to avoid the headlines.
January is an annoying month for many people. The hoopla and excitement of the holidays has ended. The weather is cold and dreary and for most there is little to look forward to, but for me, January is special because it’s when both of my boys were born.
Working at a newspaper requires thick skin. I’m a columnist and lifestyle writer, so I don’t get nearly as much pushback or rebuttals as the reporters. Nonetheless, I’ll occasionally get a hateful or condescending message from someone who doesn’t agree with an opinion I stated in a column.
My grandfather once told me that on Christmas Eve his family would go find a tree in the woods and then spend the evening trimming the tree and adorning it with lit candles. The family enjoyed its glory for one night only. He mentioned this story on several occasions and each time, his eyes would alight. What made it so magical for him was the brevity. When we know we only have a few hours to embrace an experience, we do not take it for granted.
As they say, “What screws us up the most in life is the picture in our head of how it’s supposed to be.” We hold images in our minds and expectations in our hearts of how our existence should unfold and when it doesn’t go that way, we often feel we’ve failed ourselves and those we love.
The sound of falling leaves crunched under our feet as we searched for the white blazes along the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Our dog, Ringo, happily followed along, thrilled to be out of the house and into the woods.
The cool thing about elementary students is they still get excited about the events and activities going on at their school. Once they roll into junior high the hormonal indifference sets in and even if they are thrilled about something, it’s hidden behind a veil of adolescent angst.
Many moons ago, when I attended a seventh-grade sleepover, I met a new girl in town. Her name was Lana. She was from Natchez, Mississippi, and had wild curly blonde hair, a vibrant personality and was a huge New Orleans Saints fan.