by Skip Cohen
It's Sunday, and as I sit down to share my thoughts, I've already done the morning run to the market. I go at 7:00 am because it's the safest time to dodge the idiots who still won't put on a mask. Plus, the Publix market staff near our home is terrific, and I can run through the family shopping list in half the time.
This morning though, I had a specific item on my list I really wanted - firewood! Unlike the days up north when I'd order a cord or more of seasoned firewood in the summer for the following winter, this is Florida. You pay $5-6 for a bag of wood, and on a cold night, a bag is good for an evening of enhanced ambiance.
But with Christmas and temperatures down into the 30s at night, the bags of firewood at all the usual locations were sold out - gone. As the kid at the market exclaimed, "We had one guy buy 16 bags just before Christmas!" Shame on me for the lack of foresight!
As I bought a box-o-logs, Pine Mountain's "as good as" I felt like the old SNL routine with Dan Akroyd as the less than ethical toy manufacturer with "Bag-o-Glass" for kids. It's not a real fire, but these even crackle, so it's almost as good. Well, that took me to today's post - thinking about what an insane year it's been and especially this holiday season.
The pandemic has changed everything in our lives, but not our ability to still appreciate what we all have, a certain strange sense of peace, and the ability to simply laugh it off. I'm not suggesting it's been a completely joyous holiday season or negating the horrible pain so many families have been through. Still, there's a certain amount of resilience built into our DNA. We change paths, modify our expectations, and most often move on.
Nothing replaces family and friends, but Zoom, Facetime, and Skype have all filled in the gap, as we substitute hugs with screen shares. There were fewer places set around the table at the holiday dinner, but that didn't slow us down from appreciating merely being human. And as stupid and basic as that sounds, we know we can survive just about anything because we've got each other.
Two of my favorite Zig Ziglar lines are: "Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude," and "If you can dream it, you can achieve it." Sappy, trite these days, maybe even hokey, but they're so true.
We've had plenty of down days being physically isolated for nine months, but as my good buddy, Bob Coates, keeps arguing, "It shouldn't be called social distancing, but physical distancing. Nothing is limiting our ability to still be social!"
So, don't give up on your dreams - we just got side-tracked. Don't look at what was missing this holiday season; look at what was there. And at the risk of sounding like the old-fart, I am - the trick is to look with your heart and not your eyes.
Right now, I've got a house full of music and a fire in the fireplace - throw in a spiced pumpkin candle burning on a cold day, and all those feelings of holiday time when I was a kid come flowing back. It takes work, a little practice, and a decent bloody mary, but it works!
Happy Holidays everybody - thanks for hanging out with me this morning.
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