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HARMON: Big show at the ‘Big House’

It’s that time of year, sometimes an upper, sometimes a downer, depending on how I look at it. I’ve been known to ruin a few holidays but, sometimes it can’t be helped.

You may be like me. We had the most wonderful holidays when I was growing up, spending most of them at the big house in Knoxville, Tennessee, with cousins, aunts and grandparents. They were all there for what seemed like years and years and in my immediate family, we felt like they were there just for us, and in fact may have been magically conjured up for us as a reward for being good throughout the year. Now they’re somewhere else in an eternal state of some sort and the holidays can be an upper or downer, like I said, depending on how I look at them.

Only the big house is left and strangers occupy both floors. If I walked in there now I’m pretty sure I’d be asked to leave or at least produce voter ID, which would seem like a reasonable request. It looks smaller than it did and must have been crowded when all seven of us slept there, but it seemed spacious back then, and I don’t remember ever sleeping on the floor or bumping into anybody. Perhaps this was due to the fact that we’d spend a good bit of time outside playing in the leaves during the day.

One of my aunts would make peanut butter and chocolate fudge (from scratch) and after eating all we could hold and just short of throwing up, the sugar high was too much for the inside of anything and we were encouraged to “get outta here, go play in the leaves.” Off we’d go to burn off some sugar.

My current holidays are spent thinking about those folks, mostly gone, and this crowd I’m living with now, who are always fired up about the holidays. Well, it’s up and down with me. Here are a few short conversations I’ll be hearing over the next few days. They all begin with the word, “Dear.”

“Dear, where should we put the tree?”

How bout where it went last year?

“Dear, can you help me get the tree stand straighter?”

Is there a chance that this $15 tree just might be crooked?

“Dear, you’ve got to get these pine needles out of here!”

Talk to the dogs, with three of them coming and going it’s a full-time job.

“Dear, can you climb the ladder to the storage room and get those things we should have given to Goodwill down?”

Can go up, it’s the coming down that seems to be a problem.

“Dear, get out of the eggnog.”

Just one more sip.

“Dear, where did I put those dadburned stockings?”

I have no idea.

“Dear, what day are we going for the annual gassing at the Callaway light show?”

Is that thing still free?

These are just a few things to think about and rejoice over as the holidays approach. Well, truth is, most of this family is just beside themselves because they get a few days off.

We just cannot compete with the old show at the big house. Oh, we do alright, but she can’t make fudge from scratch and besides, about all we’ve got on our minds during the holidays are how much not to eat so we don’t add to the existing problem of weighing too much. This line of thinking begins around Thanksgiving and concludes with the New Year’s resolution, “I will lose weight this year” or something equally ridiculous.

It almost makes me want to start smoking so I can be successful just once at giving something up. Well, the next time you hear from me it will be Christmas Eve. I promise to have something uplifting and heartfelt at that time. In the meantime, “Get out of the eggnog.”

Sonny Harmon is a professor emeritus at Georgia Military College. Visit his blog at http://sharmon09.blogspot.com.

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