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Musings About Family, Travel And Gardening With Allen Martinson.


Time to Get Serious

IT SEEMS LIKE THIS is the week that things get kind of serious. We know all year long that Christmas is coming every year. This is when the calendar starts singing loudly, time to get serious. We gotta get the tree purchased, put in its stand and placed in its final resting place so it can be decorated. We have to get in the attic and find all that stuff and drag it down to be spread all over the house and yard.

I can usually tell what kind of mood I was in last year when it was all over by the way everything is packed and put back into their respective plastic totes. Some years everything is haphazardly thrown back in there with no rhyme or reason. I had probably had enough of it those years. Some years everything is put away so nicely that it makes me wonder what had me so chilled out or if it was even me that did it!

So much to do. The shopping has to get done and everything has to get wrapped. The list has to be checked in case there are new people in your world, new babies, our children’s girlfriends, boyfriends, new neighbors or anyone else who helps us through the year. The mail deliverer, the yard guy, we don’t want to leave anyone out. It’s so much fun to surprise someone this week with a gift to someone who doesn’t expect it. It doesn’t take much to make someone’s day by remembering them for their loyalty all year long. Cookies, produce, deer meat or a nice note goes a long way towards letting someone know you appreciate what they do for you.

In the early years we would have to separate the regular Christmas gifts from the Santa Claus gifts. The Santa gifts had to be hidden very well because someone in the house was trying to crack the code as to whether Santa is real or not. No matter how hard we would try someone always came across one of the packages causing some fancy footwork to explain our way out of how that got there.

For a few years Max knew he was supposed to get us all gifts with zero income. It was tricky. He used to shop for our Christmas gifts in our attic. We would unwrap some very interesting things. I started getting things that I brought home from my travels. One year I was the lucky recipient of a roof vent. You know those things that used to be on rooftops that spin that were designed to help to get some of the heat out of the attic? Max found the vent in our attic and wrapped it up with the comics from a Sunday newspaper. I really didn’t know how to thank him for his generosity, but I will say that it was a gift that was designed to create some long lasting memories. That was 15 years ago and here I am remembering it today, so it worked.

I will have to say as the kids have gotten older and are out on their own making it in this world, they have evolved into great gift givers. Mia puts a lot of thought into each gift she buys. She always seems to know just what a person has been pining for but won’t buy for themselves. Those always make the best gifts. They don’t need to be expensive but thoughtful is nice. Max and Mimi think a lot alike. It’s always fun to see what dead on the head thing he will give his mother. Max and Mimi love wacky shoes. Next time you see Mimi just check out her shoes. More often than not they will probably surprise you. Max’s shoes will certainly surprise you. They might even offend you. I can’t fathom where they come from. We are proud of his unique fashion statement Max makes. That’s what makes Max Max.

THIS IS THE WEEK WE have to decide if this will be a yard decoration year or not. Some years we get in the mood to add Christmas lights and some years we will only do up the inside of the house. We probably have two cars a day past our house so I have to know that if I do it it will be for our eyes only. Sometimes it just doesn’t seem worth it. I don’t mind putting all that stuff out, I just can’t stand taking it all down and dealing with it afterwards. Sometimes you feel like a nut and sometimes you don’t.

The extra rooms have to be outfitted for guests, new bedding, good towels and all that. Mostly over the course of the year I tend to turn extra rooms into all kinds of things that aren’t guest friendly. My hunting and running stuff take over one room. My workout stuff might be in another. Sometimes a room will become a makeshift office. It just depends on what we get into from year to year.

This year we got into something new and different. Mimi and I bought each other Segway scooters for our anniversary. They are the kind you see when you visit another city like in Atlanta, Denver or San Francisco. These scooters are laying around everywhere for people to rent. We had been tempted to rent some in Tulsa and never got around to it. We celebrated our anniversary in Tulsa with our new scooters. We scootered to our celebration meal then scooted all around town on a warm night in October. We went for miles along the Arkansas River which runs right through the middle of town with a paved path.

We like to break out the scooters at night after dinner and on the weekends we take them down the Natchez Trace Trail. The scooters have headlights and reflectors and colorful under glow lights and brake lights. We are as lit up as we can be on those scooters but it’s still a little scary on the roads knowing that someone is texting and might not see us. The scooters stay parked in one of our extra rooms so they can be charging while we are not using them.

This is the time of year we have lots of guests coming and going. I do like to have my yard in tip top shape when my family is coming over. On my side of the family there are 12 people who are, in one way or another, involved in the nursery business. From Mimi’s side of the family most everyone is involved with farming. We will have a lot of agricultural people swinging by the house in the next couple weeks who could lay some heavy judgement on me if they were the type. I finally got my Ryegrass seed out but I don’t think it will be very green for the holidays. I can explain my way out of that one by using the same excuse that is used for everything else these days. Supply line issues. I’m keeping up with leaves as they are falling. I keep thinking there can’t be anymore leaves on the trees when I come home in the evening to see my driveway covered again. The never-ending gobstoppers.

As I write this article Mimi and her mother are in the kitchen cooking all kinds of things for our annual Christmas Eve brunch we host. We have around 30 people that morning so we can eat and drink and be merry together. Most everyone brings a dish of something good. This year we will be playing Dirty Santa, again, another gift that we don’t need to forget, I guess I could go check out the attic for some gifting ideas.

We will have three company parties this week that I know of and no telling who will pop in on us for a visit so I will stick to my words, it is time to get serious…

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