It’s always been hard, it seems, to get “back in the swing” once I’ve been away for a while, and the week just past has been no exception. It’s hard enough returning to work, but it’s especially hard when that work is writing and one’s office is in his own home, as mine is.
I’ve returned from my Thanksgiving hiatus of visiting three of my four daughters, three of my four sons-in-law, and four of my seven grandchildren. I played with the grandkids a lot. They pulled me hither and yon to show me various toys and to take me into rooms that were otherwise off limits to them. (I assume they thought that if Pappaw was with them, they wouldn’t get into trouble with Mommy.) They cajoled me into pushing them on the swing. And they insisted on scattering toys all over the floor to test my agility. But they also gave me so many smiles and laughs and hugs and kisses that it was hard to leave them when it was time to return home.
I also ate too much, and lot of what I ate was the wrong things. There was the traditional turkey and cranberry sauce, Daddy’s hot sausage dressing (I guess the Yankees call it “stuffing,” but it never was stuffed into anything but me!), and my wife’s special cheese mashed potatoes. And melted marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole. And a lot more dishes that I couldn’t find room for on my plate.
And the pies. Oh! The pies! Pecan, apple, and pumpkin. And assorted cookies and dessert bars. None of which are on my diet plan.
But overall, I was good. Well, as good as I could expect to be considering the circumstances. I never had seconds on anything. At least while I was at the table during the regular meals. I limited myself to one roll per meal. I took small slices of pie when I desired more and bigger slices. I tried hard not to eat between meals, but boy! That’s hard when foods are lying everywhere and the aroma of dishes in preparation fill the air!
I tried to work off the extra calories by installing running boards on my pickup, thereby making it easier for my four-foot, ten-inch wife to climb aboard. But I must confess that my son-in-law actually did all the work. I merely handed him the tools and parts as he needed them and tried to make sense of the confusing how-to instructions. What else can a mechanically and technologically challenged father-in-law do? It certainly gave me another reason to be thankful.
I got a lot of laughs watching as the kids helped (or did I merely help them?) put up the Christmas tree. The highlight was watching the shortest walker among the kids putting the ornaments on the tree all by herself. And they were all in one spot right at the very bottom!
And while other members of the family braved the madding crowds of Black Friday eve and early morning, I bravely kept the home fires burning and didn’t spend a cent in the process.
During this hiatus from writing, however, I was not void of work. Rather, my writer’s mind and eye and ear were hard at work, recording in my memory bank the assorted ideas and sights and sounds of family members of all ages at play and work and of the smells of the assorted foods being prepared. Who knows, some day in the future I might find a piece of writing that needs just those very sights and sounds and smells to convey my message. As the mug, a gift from a daughter years ago, says, “I’m a writer. Anything you say or do may be used in a story.” My loved ones have been forewarned!
So, now that this hiatus is over, I must “make hay while the sun shines,” as the saying goes. Time waits for no man. A glance at my calendar tells me that Christmas is fast approaching. My wife will be out of school soon, and the “honey-do list” will grow exponentially, meaning that no writing will get done during yet another hiatus. Already I’m reminded that recent heavy rains and a stiff fall breeze have loosened the leaves’ lockhold on their branches and are accumulating on the lawn, demanding that I deal with them.
But it’s so warm and relaxing sitting here in the sun on the front porch. Watching those leaves blow by. Listening to the birds and the traffic. Oh, the noise! noise! noise! noise! (This rural oasis surely has gotten busy since we first moved here!) Thinking. Meditating. Ruminating. It’s so easy to get lazy and extend that Thanksgiving hiatus.
But all good things must end. I sigh again and try to convince myself that the best is yet to be. If only I could get up and force myself to restart!