I have some holiday advice for Lorefans everywhere this Christmas season. Advice you probably don't want to hear. Now before you click the mouse and run away, give me a second to explain. The old guy you see at the conventions running around taking photos is not the way I've always been. Yes, at one time I was the impatient teenager at Christmas, having to put up with relatives that could be jerks
While I've always loved Christmas, I didn't always love dealing with the kinfolks that visited me or that I was forced to visit. How cool could you be trying to listen to your favorite tunes on the radio
while surrounded by old fogies and screaming kids? Who wants to get beat up by older cousins? Who likes being embarrassed by uncles, aunts or siblings? Siblings, I might add, with all the dirt on you? My, my how times change.
I realize now that I should have paid more attention to the tales my grandmother spun about the old days. You know, ancient history. I should have written down the names of long dead ancestors and even lines of distant living relatives I never knew. Who knew there was going to be an ancestry.com some day and these things would be important?
I should have written down recipes my mother used from memory and instinct. That's why I spend holiday time in the kitchen trying to remember or duplicate her apple butter stack cake recipe so I can pass it down to my own kids and grandkids. Don't bother sending your recipe, I've found dozens online. So far, they are all incorrect. I'm trying to replace Mom's recipe I remember by taste if not by heart. I want to feel like I used to when Mom cut me a big piece of that cake and I washed it down with a glass of cold milk. Content, maybe even happy, if only for a while.
I should have paid more attention to the guitar chords my father's calloused hands found so easily that elude me still to this very day. I accept that I will never play Wildwood Flower like he did. Though I hated many of the songs he sang and played, sometimes I find myself humming them. Maybe that's why he drummed them into my head, singing all hours of the night. Knowing my Dad, he could have pulled off a trick like that.
I should have been a little less concerned with me. Looking back, I was a pretty selfish kid at times.
I could have been more of a help to my parents. I know I could have worked better in the garden and at cutting firewood. I could have carried water when I didn't know which plants were good and which plants were weeds. Though I was pretty good at keeping my mouth shut, there were times even I was surprised by the cruelty of things I said. I will regret some words that passed my lips until the day I die.
Angry words, no matter how just and fit they may seem at the time, are seldom wise words. Cool down before you speak.
What I'm trying to say, dear Lorefans, is that we live in an imperfect world filled with imperfect people, including me. Try to give your family and friends a second chance this Christmas. Let the jerks pony up to the table, fill their bellies and tell the same boring stories you hear at every family gathering. Use your cellphone to record some of the events, tales, recipes, old family names and even boring stories. Soon enough, time will empty some of those chairs at the table. Doors will close that will never be open to you again. You may lose a little time or miss out on some fun, but you will live a life with far fewer regrets. When you get old, having fewer regrets means a lot. Take it from me.