“Christmas is right around the corner…..”
Since it’s only January, I thought this would be a very appropriate entry!
I know Rob and I have frequently mentioned the lovable idiosyncrasies that our dad had. One of our favorites was how he had the innate ability to reduce a year consisting of 12 months down to about 3 months.
Allow me to explain. Those of you who have been following for a while know that as a family, there were certain “highlights “of our year. Summer in Lake Hopatcong was definitely one of them. Most of the school year was spent looking forward to the last day of school in early June and our two months at the famous bungalow in Hopatcong. We have both written many entries associated with our summers at the lake and I’m sure there will be many more. The other big highlight for our family was Christmas. This was probably THE biggest highlight of the year for all of us. The anticipation, the weather, the decorations, our City “lit-up” in holiday cheer, family gatherings, all contributed to giving Christmas the number one position in our “looking forward to” hit parade. Now, I’m not saying there were no other fun times during the year, but these were by far, in my mind, the two highlights. I have to believe they were for our Dad as well. He worked himself to exhaustion at three different jobs to be able to afford the very small, but wonderful bungalow in Hopatcong to get his family out of the hot (and dangerous) city for the summer. He loved that place and loved spending time with Mom and us kids there. It was there, even if very infrequently, we would see him really relax and not think about all the things that he had to deal with in the “real world”. So, for Dad, and us, the year, in many ways revolved around two major holidays or events. Christmas and summer in Lake Hopatcong.
This led to Dad, being Dad, to view the year as looking forward to one of those two events. Again, I want to be really clear that there were other fun, important times we had as kids, but as far as looking forward to times of the year, these were the two big ones. Thus, the title of this post.
Very shortly after the Christmas Holiday season (if my memory serves me correctly, around February on the calendar) One would frequently hear Dad cheerfully saying, as he came home from a long day at work in ice and snow: “Well before you know it, It’s going to be summer!”
Rob and I would look at each other and shrug our shoulders. To us, two young kids, the time frame between February and summer vacation seemed like an eternity. Yet, here comes dad with icicles hanging off his jacket, declaring that “before we know it”, we would be playing ball in the hot summer sun. It seemed crazy to us, but that was Dad. Oddly, when alone, usually before sleep overtook me at night laying in my bed, I found myself thinking about the last day of school and the start of summer vacation.
Conversely, in the heat of the summer, usually around July when we had just finished watching the holiday fireworks (read the blog by that title if you find the time), dad would sigh deeply and declare; “Yep Christmas is right around the corner!” Of course, sitting in the back seat of Dads old Desoto sweating profusely, with no air conditioning in July, Rob and I would exchange “the look”, which basically said; Dad has lost his mind. However, if nothing else, our dad was consistent…. These statements took place every year, usually around the same time. As we grew older, as did dad, these statements became so familiar, they became “lore “to us… we expected them and looked forward to them.
Dad is no longer with us….. and whenever Rob and I talk about the past, no matter how hot and miserable the summer day may be… we always find an opportunity to throw in a “ Well, Christmas is right around the corner” statement. Then we laugh and laugh. Then we miss dad… then, we shed a few tears…..
We miss him….. We miss summer and Christmas, with him…. The joy and excitement he felt during these times… we miss his grad expectations, that no matter the month,
Christmas is right around the corner…..