Like many of you, I am asking myself, how the heck did we get to December already?
To go along with that, we have Christmas rapidly approaching, New Year right behind and then, 2024.
How long ago it seems – well, actually it was – when many were concerned about what ‘Y2K’ would mean. I was not caught up in all that and was on the phone with a longtime friend from high school shortly before New Year’s back then and she asked me if I was worried. For those unaware, there was widespread speculation that everything would crash and burn when 1999 turned in to 2000. Banking institutions, air traffic control systems, basically anything that relied heavily on computers was thought to be at risk since 2000 was a whole new set of numbers not including ‘19.’
Well, that never happened but everyone did the best they could to prepare for the possibility. Or at least those who thought it would be the start of a worldwide collapse.
Now, nearly a quarter century later, we have cars driving themselves, AI writing stories and threatening to fill in for actors and actresses and a plan for air taxis filling the skies within a few years.
For now, I will continue to write my own stories and drive my own car.
I also will try to get the Christmas shopping done – perhaps a robot would be helpful in that regard as a timesaving measure but really, I like to pick out the gifts myself.
Part of the fun for me is finding something special, even just a small token, for those on my list. And even more than that, taking time to celebrate the season with family and friends, whether it’s in person or via phone call or FaceTime, makes me smile the most.
My happiest Christmases were centered around Christmas Eve at the home of my paternal grandmother. My dad was her oldest child, followed by a daughter, another son and another daughter. So with her four kids, all grown and with families of their own, we made for quite a full house. My grandmother and step-grandfather would often welcome in a variety of other extended family members and there was never a shortage of good food, laughter, wrapping paper flying, and some oohs and aahs throughout the evening, with a backdrop of a fire crackling in the fireplace.
The best years were when snow had already blanketed our little slice of rural upstate New York and we would be settled in for the celebration with some light snow still falling. After dinner, gifts and dessert, we attended the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at church and gave thanks for not only our many blessings but the reason for the season.
Traditions readily spring to mind also, things that were just part of the annual celebration of the holidays. Things like my grandmother’s freshly baked Slovenian nut bread, potica, a tradition now carried on by my cousin Natalie and my sister-in-law Becky. Also, our own family tradition of being allowed to pick one gift – from those that had arrived in the mail from faraway relatives – to open up on Christmas Eve after church. Our whole family opened our stockings at the Christmas morning breakfast table before getting to the gifts under the tree, and my sister, brother and I had to wait (usually impatiently) while mom and dad savored a cup of coffee before we adjourned to the living room. As an adult, I sure understand that cup of coffee now.
At the end of the day, it’s really about sharing the season with those you love, never taking a moment for granted.
Marg Jackson is editor of The Oakdale Leader, The Escalon Times and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 209-847-3021.