By Guy Chapman – Navarro County Gazette

Yes We Can

There’s always such a weird feeling the day after Christmas. The constant and non-stop running. The music, and decorations, and food. The calls and texts for and from friends and family. And when December 26 hits, the month of build-up slows completely down to the point where one asks: “What now?”

It felt strange not driving around to look for my nightly Christmas image for the Gazette last night. I spent the better part of this last week collecting and organizing the holiday greetings for Thursday’s community piece (Thank you to all who got involved – I hope more people will share their own well-wishings next year). No more gifts to wrap. We watched Gremlins as our last main holiday special, an amusing contrast to the previous night’s It’s A Wonderful Life.

Not all of it was running for me. I did visit family – My parents and grandparents at the cemetery to lay down flowers. As a kid, I realize I never truly appreciated how much work my parents put into the holiday. Mom would decorate the house. Dad would always look for that one gift I couldn’t live without, and make the family dinner. I had a flush of memories from my growing up here: Christmas light looking on the 24th. The mornings of He-Man and Atari games, the year I got the sequels to Castlevania and Super Mario Bros. in the same year and thought it was the most amazing thing ever. I thought of my last Christmas with my mom, and the one with my dad, and how special and they were.

I mused how I’d like to feel as excited as I did way back when. Lighter, less complicated, less distracted.

The bulk of the family traditions are mine now, carried over as my responsibility to keep alive. I keep them going forward because of that feeling they gave me then, and as a way to honor those people who shaped my life. I have long accepted my annual full-time job.

To be honest, I felt a little “phoned in” this year. I decorated, but I’ve done better. I didn’t go all out, part of that changing climate we’re all dealing with. A lot of worry. A lot of concern. I paused to take stock and keep gratitude my little family is still here to celebrate this time together, one way or another, and I know not everyone will have that experience in 2020, which weighed heavily on me this year.

Friends came through. Family came through. A few last minute opportunities came though that rescued me from a much harder time I had already prepared for. Watching It’s A Wonderful Life felt different this year. There is a lot of need for goodwill and compassion in this world right now, but it’s always needed.

So that’s why I went so heavily on the “holiday thing” this month. People needed to see a little light and color each night. There’s a beauty to seeing people from all walks of life come together to share a unified message of hope and good intent. I hope that carries on in everything else we do for this next year.

I hope these last few weeks here kept you focused on something more positive and productive.

As for me, leftovers are calling my name.

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