Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Merry Madness

Sorry to be late today. I got a call yesterday that we might have company so we’ve been madly cleaning house. One of the great things about living out in the wilderness is that we have very few neighbors and no one ever sees the inside of our house. Maybe once or twice a year. We are the Thanksgiving House, the Fourth of July house--NOT the Christmas house. There's no Christmas Open House, no bible study or circle meetings. The only people from the outside world who see the insides of our house are mostly family and that’s only on national holidays. Oh, and our grandekids—but you can imagine how discerning they are. Consequently, we’ve fallen into the very same slovenly habits that our mothers warned us about. So today the chickens come home to roost and we have a bit of cleaning ahead of us.

But I am excited to see this old friend again. I can’t tell who she is because her trip through Texas is a surprise and there is the very miniscule chance her girlfriend is reading this. I will just say I met this chick in Mississippi doing Katrina recovery work. Every single resident of the Gulf Coast I met during this time was a character in their own right. This is no surprise if you just think about it for a minute. Nobody in their right mind would live in the path of a hurricane. And that’s exactly who I met: people who aren’t in the mind-set of the rest of the country. And I love each and every one of them for exactly that uniqueness.

There’s another reason to clean house. I have lost a whole box of Christmas presents.

I packed the box to hide when the whole family came for Thanksgiving and now I can’t find it anywhere. You would think a huge box would stand out like a sore thumb. I know the box exists because I remember what I put in it: Christmas presents that I can’t describe right now in public. I’ve looked all over the whole place. And, while our house is extremely small, the “place” consists of about four separate buildings, one of which is larger than our house. I’m about to give up and resign myself to the fact that they will show up eventually, of that I’m sure. Gravity will hold it to the face of the earth. My mother would always tell me in this situation, “Clean your house and you’ll find it.” Otherwise, we might have a mini-Christmas in July—or whenever the box surfaces.

However, I have one bit of great news to report: I finally got a Christmas card from Cheryl Brown. Thank God! We were best friends for a couple of years in junior high school until she moved to California. We’ve been exchanging cards every year since. Except I didn’t get a card last year and I thought to myself in a very small and worried voice, “Uh Oh.” I’m getting to the age now where you never know when friends are going to start croaking on you. And we were distant enough friends that her family never would have thought to tell me.

In the meantime, all the magazines are ready to wrap up the year and review the Best and Worst of 2009. Our family is just like most. Things could have been better in many respects but you didn’t come here today to hear me whine about things. We go with the year we get.

On the whole, though, it was an eventful year when I look back on it. The book is finally done. Our month in Guatemala learning Spanish was an adventure in itself and we have retained more of the language than we expected. We want to plan another month this spring.

When I look back on the year it seemed to be a year of leap-frog technology. We used the internet to connect better than ever with people all over the world. Facebook helped some but it wasn't the only technology helping us stay connected. I’ve got three different friends who are working for the church in three different countries: Colombia, Ireland and Peru; and I get regular emails and blog postings from them all the time. I’ve been able to better stay in touch with my old friends in Guatemala not just from the Spanish classes but also Babel fish software. Then there’s the friend who went to India to clear her head and posts to a blog almost every day. When I told all this to John King, who literally “commutes” to Kazakstan (three months here, three months there), he told me their family regularly does a Skype conference call between Texas, Peru and Kazakstan. And now, to top it all off, a friend from Mississippi may drop by tomorrow on her way across the US.

This is not the world my grandmother lived in. I have to wonder what it will be like when my granddaughters are my age?

Gotta go clean. Buy the book.

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