It was a scene right out of a Norman Rockwell painting, well almost. Jennifer and I were sitting in the living room, Christmas tree in full light, Christmas decorations strategically displayed, outside Christmas lights on and the smell of sugar cookies wafting through the living room. I say almost like old Norm’s paintings because we were both on our laptops and the TV was on. Lap tops and TVs two details that I don’t remember in any of his scenes and maybe that ought to tell us something.
In any case, Jennifer and I were discussing our Christmas shopping lists. We went through our kids, nieces and nephew, siblings and parents carefully deciding what gifts we should purchase. Finally, Jennifer said, “and what do you want for Christmas?” I am not sure when it happened, I said I would never be like my parents, but it happened. I honestly could not think of anything I wanted for Christmas.
However, I was informed that I had to come up with a list, so I put my thinking cap on and compiled a list. “Tell us what you really want,” my dear, sweet bride said. After a moment, I replied, “What I really want is a few more hours in the day. Things seem to have gotten so hectic around here; I never seem to get anything done.”
“OK,” replied my better half. “I will tell the kids to get you a book on how to be more organized, maybe we could buy you a day planner and a new wall calendar so you can plan your days and hours better, then it would seem like there were more of them.”
“Well, that wasn’t what I really meant, so let’s try something else. This will be a little less abstract and a little more concrete. You know how bitter cold it has gotten and how I spend a great deal of time chopping ice and carrying water, how about a new frost free livestock watering system?” I said with a hopeful tone in my voice.
Jennifer thought for a second, “We could buy you a top of the line automatic, frost free water system. One that would assure that you wouldn’t have to chop ice or carry water again, but I worry about you. You know you have put on quite a bit of weight and you really need to be working out more. I tell you what the kids and I will buy you two new water buckets and a new ax. How would that be?”
“Wow, do you guys really love me,” I said dripping with sarcasm, knowing she was right. “OK, I have had trouble starting the feed pickup the past couple of mornings. How about a new feed pickup? I want one with remote start, a cd player, heated seats and automatic four wheel drive.”
“You know what happened last time I bought you a nice feed truck.” My darling wife said sweetly, “that nice new, top of the line pick up is now parked in our yard, dripping oil, bumper sagging, and not wanting to start in cold weather. And do I need to remind you what the interior looks like? I buy you nice things but you and the cows just tear them up!”
Yes, dear, you are right, dear was all I could manage on that one. So there I was my Christmas list now in shambles. What was I going to do? Then it came to me like a brilliant light. “You know dear, sweetie pie, honey bunch; all I really need for Christmas is you and some mistle toe.” I said in my most endearing tone.
“Good try, but that only worked once, and that was 18 years ago and look where that got me. How about we just get you underwear and socks and forget the rest of this nonsense. Does that work for you.” The love of my life said with just a hint of sarcasm.
The truth of the matter is that you know you are old when everything you need is either impossible to buy or way outside Santa’s budget. Really, you know you have matured when what you give becomes more important to you than what you get and you enjoy watching others unwrap presents more than unwrapping them yourself. But I really would have liked more hours in the day.