We had tree special birthdays this year. In January I turned 80 and my oldest son turned 60, my second-to-youngest son is 50. Amazing ages! We are all in excellent health! We celebrated these milestones with wonderful dinners. And we are grateful to various businesses, and for our many family members. Chisholm Vineyard and wine tasting venue is serving their wonderful wine and welcoming those who wish to taste their prize winning wine in their scenic localle. My family is also involved with The Lodge at Old Trail. It is a tranquil place for those who are ready to pare down their living space and let others do the upkeep for them. The Scout Guide is the place to advertise high-end businesses and services. And Frank Hardy Real Estate -Sotheby’s International rates 100% endorsement. Keswick Hunt Club is now at the top of my list for fun events, both on and off a horse. All of these are our favorites.
Some of my grandchildren are working in New York, some are married and living in Virginia, while quite a few are in college or will be next year. Only a couple are in elementary school. Those who are out of college keep me guessing about their future plans. It will be exciting for me when they make some. And then there are the dogs! What a huge population!! We are definitely dog lovers. Also, horses, seem to be multiplying on family properties, as some of my family develop deeper ties with hunting and riding.
Fall arrived along with turning leaves, cooler air, races, and hunt club parties, and one of my sons got a dog who he named after the hero of a series on TV about Saxons and Danes. A standard black and tan male dachshund, he has turned out to be the BEST dog ever.
Who has the next birthday? Two of my children and three of my grandchildren all have birthdays during the month of December. It is important that they get special attention on their special days. That means birthday presents that do not “double” as Christmas presents I always feel as if I cannot possibly make it through this month, but so far I always have.
Sadly I have noticed a lack of Christmas decorations around Charlottesville. This reminds me of the old saying; “Be careful what you wish for, because you may get your wish.”
For years I have been complaining about how early some stores begin to decorate for Christmas. Way before Thanksgiving some stores and restaurants put up lights, wreaths, and garlands. Each time they appear after Halloween, I say to myself “No! It is too early!”
But this year I have noticed in some big stores NO decorations at all. A shopping center parking lot with no hint of Christmas on its light poles. Wow! How our culture is changing! I am very sorry to see our customs removed in some sort of effort to appease those with different customs. I miss the melting pot attitude which permeated this country until recently.
Our beautiful country has been made great by all the people who came here from other countries where they had little chance of success. Saying Merry Christmas is not offensive and even if it is not your holiday, it is a cheerful phrase. Colored lights and fresh cut greens are certainly not offensive (unless someone full of malice tells you they are). In the dark of winter these bright decorations lighten the mood along with the night. I say Merry Chistmas to everyone. This should not offend anyone any more than my saying “Good Morning” on a cold rainy day. It may not be true for everyone, but it is said joyfully and with good will toward men!(i. e. men means everyone, male and female, for those of you who are beginning to “sputter”.)
This has been such a great year for me and my family. I hope that you can all say the same. We have bonded perhaps a bit more than usual after the craziness of covid. We clung to each other because so many other people were scared of going out or breathing the air. We never acted that way, except for those who were forced to mask for schools. And we continued to see each other and entertain nearly every week. I loved it.
After all, what we truly desire is not “things,” it is a feeling of fulfillment. It is this feeling that we strive for. It is not something based on material objects. We may think those will make us happy but the pleasure is fleeting. Instead, fulfillment and the warm feelings it brings comes to us as we embrace what we love whether a person, a sport, an organization, a talent, or a loved animal. Some people are frantically trying to prove they can do it all. I recommend, instead, learning to just relax and sit by the fire. (Preferably with dogs)
I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Copyright©. 2022 Bonnie B. Matheson