Saturday, November 6, 2010


“I need help getting my head on,” Joey said into the phone.  I laughed as I replied, “It’s about time you got your head on straight.”  As I put down the receiver I chuckled again as I envisioned my sister-in-law getting help with her “head.”  You see, we were talking about her latest Halloween costume which was a huge paper mache affair representing a bobble head of Dwight K. Schrute from a television program called “The Office.” 
Now, I’ve never watched this show, but I’m pretty sure her costume was a fair representation of this Dwight character because everything Joey does, she does with enthusiastic precision.  I knew that she would have researched it down to the last detail and then put her creative mind to work.  When I saw this contraption I was not disappointed.  The whole affair was made of chicken wire, a basket, a punching bag on an adjustable pole, a backpack frame, five pounds of flour and a Pendleton wool suit she bought for a dollar at the Goodwill. The end product was impressive and a sure winner in the Whitefish Halloween costume contest. 
I loved tagging along with her on Halloween night, holding doors as she negotiated her way between judging stations.  She would make the head bobble by pulling on a length of fishing line, distribute her business cards and patiently explain to those who didn’t know, just what her costume represented.  The surprised expressions of those who encountered this giant, nodding head was worth the price of admission.  Then there was the lady on the street who ran headlong into her.  Goodness, she was shocked.  Joey simply said as she stepped up onto the curb, “I’m not sure how that happened.  I guess she didn’t see me.”  And later, to watch her on the dance floor, well….you can just imagine.
As I watched her, I was struck by the total enthusiasm she has for holidays.  She anticipates, plans and prepares for each event with gleeful intensity.  And those who are fortunate enough to be around her during these times of celebration can’t help being swept along on the tide of festivities.  Joey knows how to throw a party.  Indeed, she seemingly considers her entire life a party and will take any excuse to celebrate.
We have some neighbors who also take up this spirit of celebration.  A few years ago we were invited to Sunday brunch to welcome the installation of a new toilet in their downstairs bathroom.  When Noel and I arrived, we were handed a glass of champagne and led down the stairs to the bathroom where a wide yellow ribbon stretched across the door.  After the required ribbon cutting, we toasted the new porcelain bowl.  Each, in turn, solemnly flushed in order to fully admire its powerful suction and rapid refill. 
Why not?  Why not celebrate our lives?  Why not welcome all days, whether they be a holiday or a mundane day?  Celebrations give punctuation to the stories we call our lives.     And I, for one, am all for liberal punctuation. 
I have also known a few folks throughout my life who seem to take their disinterest in holidays as a badge of honor.  “Oh, my birthday is just like any other day,” they will say.  Or, “You know, I never get into Christmas.  It’s too much trouble and just too commercial.”  Or my personal favorite, “Now that my kids are grown I don’t do the holidays.  They’re just for children.”  Who says?  And who says that I can’t be a kid at Christmas or any other time of the year?  Maybe Christmas is too commercial, but that doesn't mean that you have to buy into it.  I recognize the entire month of November as my birthday month.  I have always maintained that celebrating my birth into this world should not be restricted to only one day.  Birth is a wondrous and miraculous event and I figure it deserves at least a month to properly honor it.  I like to celebrate being me. 
Noel and I have a bottle of Courvoisier that sits in our dining room.  Attached to the neck is a tag that reads “For Life’s Celebrations.”  It’s empty.  That’s because we toast the completion of chores around the house, births of grandchildren, the successful wiring of an electrical outlet (without burning the house down) and the acquisition of a new sofa with gusto.  There are endless events to honor.
I smile when I think of the coming days.  There will be baking and wrapping and shopping and decorating.  And as every year, I will feel certain that I won’t get it all done.  You bet, I get stressed this time of year.  But, if the holidays do nothing else, they knock us out of our routine.  They are an excuse (as if we needed one) to be with family and friends, to give gifts of love, to indulge in our senses and to pause in remembrance of those who are no longer here to celebrate with us.  And before life gets really hectic, I’m going to break out the good china, light a couple of candles, put a favorite CD in the player and rejoice that I woke up this morning in a warm, cozy bed in the arms of the one that I love.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Shelley! I do love celebrations and good times and they are always more special with family and friends! Thanks for being a part of our family and now off to have a toast for your birthday month!