Tag Archives: Christmas Break

Being There

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay.

These small words elicit king-sized effects.

My first cranky thought, another songwriter has run out of originality, as in:

Being there (ooh, baby)
Being there (ooh, baby)
Being there is like … 
Being there (ooooh, BABY!)

Okay, I need a second cup of coffee today. With double cream.

Much better.

Now I recall that being there when airline personnel solicit volunteers to take a different flight, I might land a free future trip.

Image by Andy Leung from Pixabay.

Being in the right checkout line can mean the difference between three Tylenol® and only one.

Fifty years ago, my being there to observe this cute boy from a library’s balcony changed our lives.

Being there at a library during a 1970 Christmas break placed me near the railing of a second-story atrium, eyeing my future husband below. Thus, I ensured he wasn’t with a girl and could “accidentally” run into him. (He still calls this stalking, but that’s because he hasn’t yet drunk his morning tea.)

Being there at a gas station when someone, perched on a ladder, is changing prices can mean a savings of 11 whole cents per gallon. Although, if the price is upped 11 whole cents, you’ve picked the perfect time and place to ruin your morning.

Though that timing isn’t as bad as certain shoplifters’ when, according to Reader’s Digest, they attempted major heists on Shop-with-a-Cop Day.

Being there can get complicated. Still, we want others to be there for us.

My mother refined this into an art form. One joyful day, when I learned I was ranked 10th in my high school class, I arrived home to the fragrance of muffins fresh from the oven. She’d baked them either to celebrate or console. Whatever happened, they were there for me.

Image by Robert Owen-Wahl from Pixabay.

So was Mom.

However, she also was there to enslave me with chores, require church attendance, and stare through my dates and me with righteous black eyes.

Years later, I appreciated her when I, too, baked after-school treats, mini-vanned my kids everywhere, and wandered into the den to “get stamps” from my desk while they were entertaining dates.

Being there can be threatening, wonderful, scary, tedious, triumphant, smelly, or comforting, but rarely boring. And lots better than not being there.

The ice cream being there is good too.

Sometimes, it’s just plain cuddly.

Tonight, Hubby and I are watching a Cubs game. We don’t make brilliant conversation. We don’t have to make conversation at all.

We simply savor being there.

Ooooh, baby.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Who’s been there for you?

College Christmas Break

Once upon a time, colleges didn’t evict students from dormitories three minutes after final exams. Back in the Dark Ages, Hubby and I stayed until the following Monday.

Eventually, some grinch discovered that supplying extra days’ heat for 30,000 students spoiled the university’s merry Christmas. College officials also realized that multitudes of sleep-deprived, de-brained students + 24-hour blocks of free time equaled … excitement.

In the early ’70s, though, they assumed we couldn’t wait to go home.

Right.

Sure, we’d missed our dogs.

If we’d hacked with colds, cough syrup and aspirin were blocks away instead of steps. We anticipated parents smearing us with love and Vicks® VapoRub®.

We’d languished without Mom’s cooking. Meals with fewer than 500 people might be nice. Plus, a refrigerator of free food would be at our disposal.

Free laundry, too! Mom might reintroduce us to clean clothes, as opposed to those sanctified by optimum time at the bottom of the hamper.

Add Christmas magic, and most students wanted to share the holidays with family.

Just not quite yet.

Having been chained to books, typewriters and labs, we needed to celebrate. Even our nondrinking Bible study required a two-day party.

We snarfed Christmas cookies by the bucket and played Monopoly all night. Only one guy owned a car, but 13 of us jammed into it, rolled down windows, and sang Christmas carols at the top of our flattened lungs. At stoplights, we emptied the car with Chinese fire drills.

Who needed sleep?

Besides, we comrades in the trenches of academia soon would part. For couples, December and January stretched like a forever, empty tundra.

Hubby’s long-haired college days, before the Christmas Break haircut.

During that long-hair era, guys dreaded welcome-home haircuts. We girls combed bangs out of our eyes to please our moms.

We loved our parents. But they would expect us to talk to them. To hundreds of relatives. We’d repeat our majors and future plans a gazillion times. If we didn’t have any, we’d have to make them up, quick.

Worse, our families went to bed early. At the crack of dawn, they took showers and slammed doors so a normal person couldn’t get proper rest.

Parents would expect help with the dishes. Why not summon the fairies who had done that all semester?

Ditto for putting gas in the car. Whatever happened to “free”?

Sigh. How had we lived at home so long?

After a 48-hour party, though, a 10 o’clock bedtime didn’t sound so bad. Eating a nutrient or two might be nice.

With the arrival of a station wagon loaded with delighted smiles and hugs found nowhere else on earth — well, Christmas break might be worth the sacrifice, after all.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: How did (do) you celebrate Christmas break?