The happy house with the plastic Santa fetish is a few blocks from my house. It stands out in a one mile radius for number and variety of lights that some will attribute to joy, others to humor, and still others to tackiness. When I saw it I thought a few examples of holiday decorations would be entertaining and fun to write about. I wanted pleasure by noticing others’ efforts when mine are limited this year since we are in the midst of organizing a move.
Then the events of Newtown CT at Sandy Hook Elementary hit the news with twenty-six victims of a shooter who then took his own life. I’m not typing the details. If you don’t know about it, you don’t want to. But here in the U.S. this scenario is happening too often. The only other article on the front page of today’s Salt Lake Tribune is titled: Parents Hope Son’s Death Buries Bullying. Last week a fourteen-year-old took his own life here in Salt Lake in front of schoolmates, allegedly after being teased many times.
But my sheltered life continues. See the skinny Santa in the
refrigerator? Sam’s sister gave that gumby toy on a Christmas gift over thirty years ago when our son was a child. Skinny Santa became a holiday game of hiding him from one another in surprising places. Whoever found Santa under their pillow or nestled in socks then hid him for another to find. I placed Santa in the fridge for Sam to find Friday.
I didn’t listen to the news Friday that was pouring out of Connecticut. Or watch it. Instead I thought about the mass killing in Oregon the week before, the dead in Syria, those who died in Iraq, spouses gunned down by those they promised to love, my lost and lonely brother who took his life over thirty years ago.
Last night I went to a party. It was held by good friends in their
more than beautiful home that could be a spread in Architectural Digest. Beautiful people were engaging in pleasant conversation in good cheer. The food and drink was ample and generously served.
This morning I listened to George Stephanopoulos and then Bill Moyer talk shows about Connecticut. I hope this country has reached a “tipping point” a few guests talked about. I want us to change our country’s view of an adolescent macho attachment to assault weapons, mental health attitudes, and fascination with slaughter movies.
Then I went to the backyard and took this picture of my private corner of peace, my backyard that is so beautiful draped in Friday’s snow, the same morning children and teachers were dying in Connecticut. My life has had tragedy, though now it is peaceful and happy. But I am aching at this moment for the changed lives and broken hearts I know will never truly heal in Connecticut.
Beautifully written with much sadness and respect for those murdered and those whose lives will never be the same, as you have written. I can only say – my sentiments exactly. Thank you for such a respectful post.
I think everyone feels sad for the families and town. It’s too awful.
It’s good you have a private corner of peace. We all need that, especially after events like this. Lovely post. I enjoyed reading it.
I think everyone needs a little space to be alone, and thanks. I’ve enjoyed your posts.
Well written post with so much compassion heard.
I agree, well written, compassionate, another voice of goodness in this world.
Thanks for writing that, but so are you. I’ve been to your blog and enjoy it every time.
That is very kind of you to say.
Despite the terrible incoming news, it’s good to see that you were in a place where you could weather the mental storm.
I really hope we take the extra steps to treat mental illnesses and think a little more objectively on who is responsible enough and emotionally equipped to have access to weapons.
I couldn’t agree more. There’s so much to these issues. There just isn’t an easy answer.
I love your skinny Santa holiday tradition. And that Christmas santa house is amazing. Thank you for weaving in bits of the tragic stuff happening to remind us that there is more to consider around the holidays than presents.
A time or two I’ve been startled to really consider how everything really does happen at once in this world. Yet, it is only our own corner we can do something about.
This was one of the most beautifully written posts I have read. I am right there with you. Once upon a time, my life was pretty koosh…I grew up quite privileged as a child. My dad was a Mattel VP… I mean, your dad being an executive as pretty nice but of a toy company was over the top. Silly child that I was… I wonder now why I was so embarrassed of having “too much.” But even back then, I realized I was one of the blessed ones and kind of felt uncomfortable… always wanting to share it all from an early age. But regardless, I was a toy tester kid!
Maybe, I was worried that the other shoe would eventually have to drop. I mean it is inevitable isn’t it? And it has… more than once. I have also like you, had my share of tragedy. I remember when my dad died, how could anyone laugh today? I remember thinking… as I drove by some strangers talking. Or… when we lost our store in an earthquake over 9 years ago…same thing… people outside of our surrounding area of devestation also still Christmas shopped. I mean seriously? How could they… sigh….
Of course the same but a thousand times over the top of all of my pain… is what those parents must be feeling… I can’t even fathom. As well, as the others you mentioned. We don’t forget… but life does go on and to the ones it has stopped for… they must be thiinking how fair is that?
You put it all into perspective. Wonderfully. Thank you for the reminder.
Glad I found you.
I’m glad you’ve come by and I try not to be so slow getting caught up with things, but we were out of town. Life is interesting and everyone’s is so different. I’ve learned it’s never smart of me to judge whether someone’s life looks easy or hard. You never know what others have experienced and losing loved ones is hard no matter the circumstance. But I have lived long enough to start seeing that even the hardest parts have their stupid, corny “silver lining.” Hate to admit it. Sounds like you have a good and loving family and something else I’ll even stick my neck out on is that it’s great to be comfortable and have much. It means one more person taken care of, it’s only when it’s based on selfishness or greed that I think it turns on itself. Love and happy holidays to you, Rebecca
At school I was taught how to use a chisel and a plane, in metalwork a drill and 20 years later built all the fittings for my home. But without the tools I can’t build anything. Why is any weapon other than a farmers shotgun for vermin perhaps, available to anyone!
I don’t know. Good question.
I could not believe how the gun lobby jumped on this incident and immediately suggested that guns should heave been present in the school in the first place in the form of security gaurds, suggesting crossfire would have been safer.
It’s unbelievable. I’m with you.