News From Terre Haute, Indiana

December 4, 2012

LIZ CIANCONE: Christmas season puts time back into focus

Liz Ciancone
Special to the Tribune-Star

---- — It’s a funny thing about time. It can speed along so that you cannot believe that your kids can possibly be old enough to have good sense, or it can drag its heels while you wait for that first grandchild or while you are saving up for something really special.

When I was a kid, I could define "eternity" as that time between one Christmas and the next. Now that I am an adult and at least partly responsible for Christmas, it seems as if I did this whole thing only a month or so ago.

I looked at the calendar the other day and discovered — horrors! — that I have a scant three weeks until Santa is due to unload his bag of goodies.

I like to start early, but that lulls me into a false sense of accomplishment. I begin to feel superior and ahead of the game. I even feel a little bit smug about it. Then, suddenly, the merchants hit me with Black Friday and it’s like being hit with a bag full of wet sand. I started counting up and am now looking at what I have NOT done rather than what I HAVE done. It’s not a pretty picture.

Christmas was so much easier, not to mention a lot more fun, when Mom and Dad were in charge of the festivities and all I had to do was write to Santa enclosing my wish list. I needed no prodding and always had a lot of suggestions for the old guy. I liked to end my letters by requesting “and some surprises.”

I think back now and realize that I have forgotten most of my wish lists, but remember with special joy some of those surprises. There was the Christmas I received a camera. I can’t remember expressing any interest whatsoever in photography, but I do recall how much pleasure I got from that surprise gift.

Another Christmas surprise was a pair of ice skates. Dad went down to Blackberry Creek and shoveled the snow off the ice so that I could give them a test ride.

My biggest surprise, and the most successful from Mom’s and Dad’s viewpoint, was the Christmas that my surprise was a canary. I don’t remember desiring a bird, and Mr. Watson lived only a brief life, but he was cherished and was given a child’s idea of a state funeral.

Alas, this week I emerge from my daydreams and must hit the stores. I wish I had done it in August.

Time does get away from me.



Liz Ciancone is a retired Tribune-Star reporter. Send email to opinion@tribstar.com.