A cousin of mine shared one of those great conversations this Thanksgiving that seems so easy after turkey and several pieces of dessert. While we were talking about the economy, and the future of American workers, the chat morphed into other areas, such as the almost necessity, due to the recession, of simpler Christmases and more traditional ways of having fun.
I had heard from another cousin that day about how his kids could not fathom any delight over creating a parachute like device from a small piece of fabric, which was tied to a small weightier object, and hurled into the air only to watch fall. I can recall one summer when I was a boy that such a homemade toy tossed over and over from my Grandpa’s haymow was really a kick. But times change of course, and in the high-tech world of constant motion, where a button pushing world of gadgets and noise makers is the only ‘fun’ so many kids know, it is probably impossible to go back intime to simpler pursuits.
You might be surprised (or pleased) to know how easy it is to take a step back and slow down and still have a most delightful time. Such was the case last night when we were invited to a neighbor’s home for dinner. Our hosts were in their mid-60s, and after finishing eating we all retired to the living room. Ellie gathered up some papers of her writing efforts, and read us her short children’s story. It was really quite good, and after some feedback, her husband Robert got up and took a book from one of their many book-laden shelves and told us that he and his wife often read to each other. The book he selected was the famous and well-written “A Christmas Memory” by Truman Capote. For the next half hour they each took turns reading the book, and as my readers might know it is a touching, moving, and real work from a most gifted writer. Many years ago I had read the book, but the feeling and warmth that our hosts provided to the text was a real delight.
We talked and talked as the evening wore on, and at some point James and I thought it time to leave. We thanked our neighbors for a fantastic evening and walked back home. Once inside I asked what time it was as I stopped wearing (or even owning watches) many years back. It was after 11:00 P.M., and I was shocked. Hours of continuous talking, laughing, and pure fun had just been had without any electronic device other than a stove for cooking, and lights to read by.
The lesson here is to just take the time and slow down. It costs nothing, and everyone can do it. Take the classic read from Christmas that fills your heart with cheer, and pull those around you and open the cover.
I think at times we needlessly complicate our lives with the ‘needs’ that mass marketers promote through slick PR blitzes. But in the end, the true long time tested ways of connecting with others, and being content and relaxed are right in front of us.
Now go and start a Happy Holiday!