by R.T. Fitch
Well, (never start a sentence with well as you might fall in), here it is; that magical day that we wait all year for. A day of laughing, sharing, giving and glee. A day with family and friends where we reaffirm our love and unity. It is, of course, Christmas.
But to all of us, Christmas is a very personal and intimate thing. To one it may bring back a shower of happy childhood memories while to another it may be a torrent of doom, gloom and sadness. It is not the meaning of the holiday that brings the mixture of feelings but instead the footnote in time and years that the date brings to mind.
“10 years ago today….”, or, “I remember when Grandpa used to…”, or, “It was Mom’s last Christmas…”, so much emotion, so much love, maybe so much loss.
So how is your Christmas of 2018 progressing, I surely hope that it is going well.
Ours, on the other hand, is somewhat overshadowed by the Grinch and a bit of bad luck but we will slug our way through it, as horsey people normally do, you see;
- I was lucky enough to be able to fly home to see Terry and her folks this year, I arrived on Friday.
- Once home I found out that Terry’s Jeep was at the dealership for some warranty work.
- Terry was also afflicted with a very bad chest cold which, with the cough, pushed me out to the couch which was still not far enough away from the night long coughing.
- We were forced to use the Mega Mercury Marauder as a backup vehicle only to have it’s big Shelby engine overheat at Tractor Supply and leave me stranded for several hours; AAA and an understanding mother-in-law came to my rescue and the deer would have to wait for their corn.
- Went to pull a stored collector car from storage, for use, only to find that the one of choice had four flat tires.
- Terry’s condition worsened over the weekend meaning that I would have to step in and take care of all the animals she had promised to feed while local friends went off to visit loved ones which translates into me feeding, twice a day:
- Terry had bought all sorts of goodies for me to prepare while home and I have freeze sealed them all and am living on Chicken Soup along with Terry.
- Our Christmas Dinner with Terry’s folks is canceled as at their age they don’t want to catch the creeping crude that she is infected with.
- I am flying back to our Northern home, this evening, as tomorrow is a work day and it is predicted that we will have two days of freezing rain and snow to look forward to.
- Am I depressed? Heck no.
The beauty of being the captain of your own ship and master of your destiny is that you have complete and total control of your thoughts, emotion and future so today I am not gloomy over what the Christmas of 2018 might be but instead I revel in the joy of Christmas’s past and what may be excitedly awaiting us in our future. We are truly blessed and have so much to be thankful for, the list is endless.
But today, I will settle on celebrating the Christmas of 2015, just three short years ago when I was overseas in China for the holiday and spent it in a most unusual and memorable way.
You see, when you rotate your schedule of 28 days on and 28 days off it shifts due to the uneven number of days in the year. One year you are home for Christmas, the next you are not so you can actually plan ahead with relative assurance as to where you will be during the upcoming holidays.
My second year in China I played Santa for all of the children of the employees who worked in the old hotel where myself and co-workers stayed. It was fantastic and touched my heart as I learned so much about the children who lived in the little rural town where we worked. (below)
It was so much fun and the children enjoyed it so much I intended to repeat the party two years later but the company was no longer interested in sponsoring it and all of my singular plans fell through so my brand-new full Santa costume when unused in 2013.
But in 2015 I was not taking no for an answer so Terry and I began to stock up on candy canes and months in advance, my friends in China began to collect temporary tattoos and little clip on barrettes for the children. I, likewise, collected a large number of reflective wristbands for the children as I feared for their safety coming and going from school. We had a plan, at least.
On Christmas day we only worked half a day so after lunch I donned my Santa suit, gathered up my two lovely helpers/elves and began to make our trek from our compound on the east side of the town to the west side where I planned to pick up my good buddy, Rudolph, who had offered to help pass out gifts, we didn’t make it far. We were stopped at our gate by a fellow expat from the Philippines who wanted to accompany us and supply Christmas music as he kept us awake at night playing, or trying to play, his Saxophone. We agreed, even though I knew he could only, kinda, play one song which was Twinkle, Twinkle little star…sigh. That’s sort of Christmasy isn’t it.
And then, another co-worker wanted to follow us and document the trek with pictures as the children of Nanba had never seen a real live Santa Claus, before. We relented and little band of misfits began their Christmas day trek across the river and through the little town of Nanba, located in Sichuan province in Communist China. It was a trek I will never forget.
I will let the pictures do the talking but our photographer was publishing our journey live on We Chat and the location of Santa and his escapades was enjoyed online by thousands as we drew crowds of hundreds on the crowded streets of Nanba.
Without a doubt one of the most fantastic experiences of my life and I bask in those memories this day with the full knowledge that I am blessed and so thankful to have so many friends both here and around the world. Life is good and every moment is so special.
Live each day as if it is your last and appreciate the good memories that you are creating as you help others and give to the greater good. May God Bless you, each and every one.
Keep the faith and be safe.