My little town has been enduring a triple whammy since Thanksgiving. It consists of whatever the latest variant of the China-virus is called, plus the common cold, plus this year’s ‘flu, (which this year’s ‘flu-shot seemingly failed to make people immune to.) Along with a double whammy of a heavy snowstorm followed by a heavy rainstorm and floods, it created a Grinch which tried but failed to keep Christmas from coming. Christmas came.

I was so exhausted I didn’t much feel like going out on Christmas eve. I just wanted to just sit by the fire and remember. Yet I was very glad I allowed myself to get dragged out to a candlelight concert on Christmas Eve. It wiped the grumpy look right off my face. Music has a magic greater even than a warm fire’s.

This is not to say we do not have our limits. My wife is a gifted giver, especially around Christmas, and it was like pulling teeth to get her to admit she had the ‘flu and belonged in bed. Actually I didn’t persuade her. Her own body did. Nausea makes it difficult to be a good hostess.

We had lots of grandchildren visiting and every bedroom filled, and then the kids began keeling over like dominoes. However dominoes don’t bounce back, and the kids seemed to recover in roughly twelve to eighteen hours, so we tended to only have one wailing as the other five (all six of the smaller ones are under five-years-old) joyously bounced off the walls. Also fortunate was that there were always several adults hale enough to take the little crew outdoors, and enough snow left to sled upon. Some were from places where it hasn’t snowed yet, and I had a sense “Grampa’s House” will someday have a mythical quality in their memory’s, simply because the hills of New Hampshire had snow.

In any case, the Grinch couldn’t stop Christmas from coming. It came. And then, it went. This always brings down silence like thunder. My house is never so quiet as it is just after the kids leave.

And then? Well, in my opinion then it is then time to sit by the fire and soak up some well deserved rest. Nibble an eraser, get dreamy, and write a sonnet. However in my wife’s opinion it is time to face the New Year, and make some resolutions. This does tend to result in some disagreement. My plan to be lazy poetic doesn’t always go over well, but this year, somewhat to my surprise, my wife saw some sense in it.

I suppose it is helpful when a certain element of absurdity is added in, and the very ones, whom one would ordinarily gladly give to, ask for a little too much, at exactly the wrong time: The drama-queen daughter wants her dishes washed because her children are sick and she hasn’t recovered, when you yourself have just managed an entire holiday household at far less than fifty percent; or an elderly mother with poor eyesight calls up at nine at night all a-tither because she can’t find her wallet (which is under a newspaper on her table) and she wants all her credit cards cancelled; or the employees you hire to help you all call in sick and all need help, just after receiving their Christmas bonus. One wants to get grumpy and say, “Wait a cotton picking minute here! If we’re the ones helping, shouldn’t we be the ones getting paid?”

Or at least I think that way, because I can be a Scrooge even around Christmas. However, it doesn’t even seem to occur to my wife to think that way. She could be in the middle of a shower, and if her cellphone jingles with a text asking (or hinting) for help, she seems likely to rush off with soap in her eyes. I can’t really be angry at her for being such a saint, but sometimes I confess I’d like to shoot her cellphone. Instead I tend to point out the absurdity, and laugh.

And this year she sat by the fire with me and laughed. Enough’s enough. After excessive go-go-go there comes a time to stop. One needs to resolve to be irresolute.

You can't step on the gas when the pedal
Is already floored. Sometimes a "can-do"
Attitude's absurd. One wins no medal
For collapsing exhausted. Yes, it's true
That God wants us to smile and put aside
All greediness, and to cheerfully give,
But we must also put aside our pride
And confess we're mortal. Mortals cannot live 
Without water. We face limits. God can
Raise the dead, but we mortals shouldn't brag
We can do such things, for that's the will of man
And not God's will. If we try it, we'll sag.
It's best to sit silent, for then you may hear
The Will that makes weariness disappear.

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