Roger’s view from the hills: Ghosts of Christmas

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” ‘A CHRISTMAS CAROL’ HAS BEEN DESCRIBED A THE MOST PERFECT OF DICKENS’S WORKS AND AS A QUINTESSENTIAL
HEART WARMING STORY, AND IT IS CERTAINLY THE MOST POPULAR.
                            Clair Tomlin 

       Christmas is a very unsettling time of year for me.  And it is true of many people.  Purely as a miracle it is the most joyous time because of the birth of Jesus who would go on to save mankind.  But the realities of life sometimes obscure the meaning to many people and it is a bittersweet time for many.
Our family had a custom of going to Grandma and Grandpa Becker’s house on Christmas Eve.  Since our family never was scattered across the country like many others all the cousins were more like brothers and sisters.  We saw a lot of each other.  I spent as much time on the home place with Grampa and my Uncle Charles as I could.
I was complimented once on how straight I drove a tractor and my reply was you did not leave any crooked rows in Carl Becker’s field.  My first job was shoveling the catching pen clean and spreading the manure on the pasture every Saturday morning.  I learned about what today they would call ‘sustainable’ farming from there.  Seems things go full circle since a lot of agriculture is seeing the benefits of diversification again rather than one crop.
Until they moved to town after ‘retiring’ grandma had this terrible aluminum tree with the revolving colored light lamp on it.  In a house that had a lot of allergies a real Christmas tree was not an option.  Whether there or in town the families came for Christmas Eve and we thought it would always be that way.
My first time to miss Christmas Eve was when my shift at the Fire Dept. fell on that day.  I was a probie at County Station 3.  But the family did not forget about me or the guys that night.  They took a pair of nylon panty hose and fill them with popcorn and brought it in for us.
Even though the tradition is gone with Grandma and Grampa we do our own gift exchange on Christmas Eve.  The cousins had families and created their own traditions.  Since I never married the day is very quiet.
I love the old classic Christmas movies and can’t help feeling the message of a Christmas Carol personally.  I love ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ because it was such a failure in Hollywood and yet is a classic with real people.  And no Christmas season is complete without ‘White Christmas’ and Bing Crosby.
Those busy with family are not aware many times of the loneliness of the season and the depression and spike in suicide that goes with it.  There is always someone who needs your prayer or maybe just a smile.
There are so many blessings at this time of year but whenever there is blessing the devil makes a double attack.  You can fight the ghosts of Christmas with a little gesture sometimes or let them haunt those who feel the loss of something Christmas Past, Present, and Future.

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