My Best Friend

Beach

Tuesday, July 4th, 2017 is the day I lost my oldest and dearest friend. Edwin A. Dorsey, my father passed away and my world has been a little darker ever since. I do take great joy and comfort in the fact that exactly at 12:15 pm, he was instantly reunited with my mother who recently passed, just 73 days earlier.

Edwin, Edd, Dad, Papa were the most common names that he answered too. Anyone who knew him, liked him. He just had that personality, that was warm and inviting. He enjoyed meeting new people but along with my mom, they were always most content just being around the friends and family they loved so dear. Dad was also one of the most non-judgemental people I’ve ever known. You always started with a clean slate as far as dad was concerned. Now what you chose to put on that slate would determine how he felt about you going forward.

There is no way I could cover everything about my dad in a blog post but I at least hope to give you a picture of how great he really was as a husband, father, papa, brother, uncle, coach and friend. Charlotte and Edd Dorsey were married on August 24th, 1963 and obviously, would have celebrated another anniversary next month. Dad loved mom unconditionally, no matter the circumstance or anything else. He just simplied loved her everyday to the best of his abilities. For that alone, I will be forever grateful!

As a dad, his loved carried over to my sister Audra and me. I can recall so many times, where I know he put his own needs and wants to the side to provide everything we needed growing up. I know he and mom did without a lot of times to make sure Audra and me did not. Dad was a dedicated and hard worker. He showed me that there was nothing wrong with doing hard work and that, sometimes, sacrifices would need to be made to get what you want. I am so thankful that he taught me the value of having a strong work ethic.

Dad was never too tired to go out in the front yard and throw the baseball or football around until mom called us in for dinner. He always supported me in anything I wanted to try and I tried as many things as I could. Dad from the time I started playing baseball at 5 years of age until I made the HS team was always either a team dad or coach for whatever team I played on. Dad truly loved coaching, baseball and softball in particular. He loved seeing kids learn the game and improve their skills. He coached Little League for nearly a decade after I left Sewell Park. This love of coaching he passed onto me and I hope to continue coaching until my last days.

I said this with mom and its true for dad as well but no kids anywhere at anytime had a Papa that loved them more than dad loved his grandkids. Although a strict discplinary when I was growing up, he became an ol’ softy with his grandkids. He didn’t necessarily agree with this assessment, but I can tell you from first hand experience, that he definitely lightened up on disciplinary actions with his grandkids versus those he performed on my sister and me. Brandi, Aaron, Felicia, Hailey, Kymberly, Andrea, Kyle and Ben all know how fortunate they were to have Mom and Dad as their Mimi and Papa. The love that Dad gave them will sustain them a lifetime and for that alone, it makes him a great man!

As an uncle, for most of my cousins, he was their favorite. It has been such a blessing over the years to have them tell me just that. And I get it, he was one of those people that you simply felt better as soon as you were around them. Some people even lovingly called him Easy Edd for a time. Dad wanted to do what he could to make people feel better or have a good time. His humor was an incredible gift and he spent his whole life sharing it with all of us but not at the expense of anyone, a rare talent indeed. Again, for teaching me the art of humor and laughter, I thank him!

Dad also taught me that there are times in our lives, where it is OK to cry. It seems to me that we only cry when we are physically hurt or we cry, out of love for another person. Maybe their hurting or their leaving so were sad but we cry sometimes because we love. Yes, dad was man enough to show me that sometimes, to cry is a needed release of love. Another incredible gift.

My dearest friend is gone and he will never be replaced. But the gifts he has left behind are impossible to measure. A husband, a father, a papa, a brother, an uncle, a coach, a friend. In any and all of these, Edd Dorsey leaves a legacy of love! He loved us all and that my friend is the greatest gift of all.

Peace!

Here and Now

costa ricaAll we really have, is that moment that’s happening now. Right here, right now. The promise of growing old and having a lifetime of memories to look back on, for some, is an empty, unrelentingly cruel lie. A systematic elimination of memory after memory slowly erodes into a great void for that person who desperately WANTS to remember but simply can’t. For friends and family of those searching for remnants of a past life, it can be just as cruel if not crueller as you slowly watch as a lifetime of memories is simply erased from a person’s data base.

So again, what we have is that which is right in front of us, here and now. It’s so easy, to get caught up in the busyness of life and forget to enjoy the moments of life as they happen. How great a gift is each of our lives, that we should so easily forget how precious it really is – with all its ups and downs – the ebb and flow of emotions as we travel this journey, that is our life.

I can tell you now, that I would have taken a greater risk and asked Suzy to attend the 8th grade dance with me. At the time, I thought she hung the moon. I did get to have one dance with her, which, I obviously still remember today. I would look to enjoy more of the moments that at the time, I too easily let escape by for being fearful of failure. That truly is my only regret – that I let fear of failing dictate, way too often, how I pursued life. I would love to go back and fail often in so many grand and wonderful ways! I realize now that those and any failures too come only help to make the successes that much greater when I experience them!

I would’ve love to spend more time taking in those incredible moments with family. The family gatherings at Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas truly hold special memories I will hopefully, always be able to treasure. Vacations taken from Myrtle Beach to Cherokee to Daytona Beach and Gatlinburg, TN. Moments in life that were great but I didn’t take them fully in, enjoying that moment for all it was worth. It was only has cousins, uncles and aunts begin to pass away that I fully begin to treasure those fleeting moments that had passed way too fast.

I definitely would have taken more time to enjoy my wife and kids in the early days of our marriage. I would make sure that I set and kept my priorities in order to ensure that I never missed any of their special here and now moments! I know that at the time, I really did make an effort to be there and to enjoy all the moments of raising a family had to offer. But even so, I know there are so many times I wasn’t able to fully engage in the moment, taking it all in and simply living in that here and now. Distractions in our life can rob us of so many moments if we allow them too.

Enjoy the here and now and all the different emotions it can bring. To be sad, to cry, to laugh, to be filled with joy or pride, the experience of a great failure or the exhilaration of great triumph. All of these are to be experienced – the life, our journey we travel is to be lived moment by moment. Enjoy it all, taking it all in. We are each promised nothing but what we have right in front of us – this moment – here and now. Don’t waste it! Life is a precious gift so my prayer for all of us is that we would live each and every moment – HERE AND NOW!

Peace and thanks for reading!

Scott

Life Lesson Series – Laugh Often

Christmas 2011Laughter truly is the greatest remedy – it cures almost anything, even if it’s only for a short time. I heard someone say “laughter bounces away all the dirt”. If you think about it, that genuinely describes what happens when you laugh. Everything that is pent up inside of you emotionally is released when you experience the physical act of laughing. It’s an instant release of stress that’s bottled up inside of you. Even if it’s nothing more than an instant  of unbridled relief, laughter can release a mountain of built up stress.

By my nature I’m pretty laid back which I count as a huge blessing. Not that I’m not intense or have moments where I feel like I may explode but for the most part, I’m able to keep a pretty even temperament about things. Right or wrong the only time I really tend to get keyed up is when I am competing at something. I hate to lose…at anything. Sports and the like as always been the one area where I know I tend to take myself too seriously. And I must admit I’m not looking to change this character fault or strength, depending on how you look at it.

I think that in general though, we tend to take ourselves to seriously which prohibits us from laughing more. A quick example of this would be – you’re heading down 85 south to the Falcons game and you are running behind so you feel your anxiety rising. As you make it off the exit to turn right you find yourself behind someone who has suddenly decided that maybe they should turn left, there just not sure yet which way to go. Now be honest, at this point, we all know that person has no right to be driving an operated vehicle, especially with us being late for kickoff.

So what’s our response when we happen to be the other driver. My kids and wife have always taken great pleasure in letting me know when I’m the other driver. They’ll laugh or snicker but not too much as to upset me. Those are the moments you just have to laugh at yourself and move on. Come to think of it, some of the best times we have had as a family has been in our cars, driving to or from somewhere. Music and laughing has always been a staple of any trip taken by the Dorsey clan.

If you are ever fortunate enough to partake of dinner at our house (and your all welcome to do so), with all six of us there, just know that everything is fair game. Say something that doesn’t sound right or try to embellish a story a little and you will get called on it. My absolute favorite memories and what I miss most with the kids being gone now, are those dinners and family game night. We always allowed everyone the opportunity to speak and tell their story of the day. We would have nights where you would have to make up a story on the fly.

As the kids got older we took this game on the road, especially at Christmas time. As the kids and I would be waiting on Lisa to peruse through the mall stores, we would sit outside in the commons area and tell stories about the other people in the mall. “See that older couple over there? His name is Bill and that’s his wife Gladys, they just arrived in town to celebrate Christmas with their son’s family and realized they needed one more gift for their grandson”. The kids would come up with some great stories.

Now that they’re adults we will still revert back to our “make believe” sessions from time to time and it’s still just as much fun as it was back when. They have also refined the art of keeping each other, along with their mom and me, humble. I count it a great blessing that even now as they’re each making their own way in this world, that our kids not only still like to hang with us old folks but schedule time to do just that. We all love hanging out and doing things with other people but we are just as content when it’s only us.

Life is serious business. With the ebb and flow of getting through the daily grind, it’s easy to forget the joys and happiness of life. My prayer is that you refuse to let that happen. To always remember your blessings in the midst of the trials and tribulations. Reflect on the good times and let memories wash away the grime and always, always look forward to how you can make some new ones.

Peace and thanks for reading!!

Scott

A Celebration – My Family

For those who know my family, you are already aware that we celebrated my son’s graduation from Auburn University this past weekend. The weekend was absolutely perfect as once again we were all able to be together and join Kyle as he celebrated a huge milestone in his young life!! It was the first time that we have all been together since Christmas. So for three days at least, life was perfect!!

Thanks to our wonderful daughter, Andrea, we were able to start the weekend in grand style by spending Friday night hanging out at the Ritz Carlton, downtown. There is nothing quite like the Ritz when it comes to first class service, simple elegance and attention to details!! As we waited on everyone’s arrival, it was so nice to be able to simply relax, take a breath and just be. Once everyone had arrived, we made our way over to Jalepeno Charlies to partake of a little mexican food. Charlies is a cool place and I highly recommend it if you ever find yourself downtown at supper time.

Just like any family, we spent dinner time catching up on the details of everyone’s life and sharing stories of this and that. I can’t remember all the stories off hand but I do remember laughing, laughing a lot actually. One thing about the Dorsey’s, we are funny, and if to no one else, at least to ourselves so we usually have a good time. As a parent, I think it’s natural during these moments to kind of drift off in a lot of different directions as we look and listen to our kids. Remembering them as they use to be, thinking of where they are now and wondering about the path they are currently pursuing. Praying and hoping they are truly happy and if not, at least knowing they will be soon.

Saturday morning started off great. We left the hotel only 4o minutes after I really wanted to but I planned for that so all was good. Car rides are a lot of fun no matter the distance when you are heading to a joyous event. And this one was fun as well until, we came to a sudden and prolonged stop of 45 minutes. Not so fun anymore. I try not to get stressed, convincing myself it will all be good. There’s still time to get there, get some snap shots for mom, get a little starbucks and then make our way into the arena for graduation. It’s just hard when you don’t move for almost an hour.

We did arrive just in time to get a few pictures, some were able to get coffee and we were in our seats with plenty of time to spare. One of my favorite things to do is people watch and especially on these types of occasions as everyone is in a relatively good mood, with lots of smiles and laughter. The ceremony itself was fine but let’s face it, it’s rare you ever hear anyone say “Listen, I have to tell you what I heard at this graduation last week.” Actually, I wonder if that’s ever been said. You listen at graduations but only to make sure you don’t miss the name of the person you are there to see.

From graduation we made our way over to Columbus to have a late lunch at Houlihan’s before making our way back home. The drive home was great for all of my passengers as they got the chance to catch a short nap before starting the evening festivities we had planned for when we got home. It was simply a great night as we gathered as a family once more to celebrate Kyle’s accomplishment. I must tell ya, that what made the evening so great was that we were able to have our closest friends (extended family), share the moment with us.

So as I sat in my chair in the living room listening to what seemed like 10 different conversations and all of the laughter taking place around my home, I was overwhelmed with joy, contentment, peace, sadness and love; all in the same moment!! Sadness only because I knew come Sunday night, this celebration would end as the kids would begin making their way back to their homes. One of the best parts of the weekend is that we were all able to attend church together on Sunday.

Although sad that we may not be able to be together as often as we once were, I’m extremely happy and greatly blessed in knowing that like me, all of them can’t wait for when we have the opportunity to get together again and celebrate our family. It is only by God’s grace, mercy and love for me that I am able to have and enjoy the family that I have! And I am so thankful!!

In my last series, Life Lessons, my initial posting was titled – Share the Journey. My prayer for all of you is that each of you have/find people that you can share your journey with. For me, I truly am thankful, that I am able to share my journey with my family!

May you be blessed with Hope, Joy and Peace!! Thanks for reading.

Life Lesson Series – Music and Dancing

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This may be the most personal post I have in this series of Life Lessons and I probably won’t do justice to how important these two things have been to our family over the years. I’m sure most of my kids will weigh in on this post and I really hope they do.

The little side slow above is just a slight representation of what it was like growing up in the Dorsey household over the years. A tradition that was gratefully handed down from my parents to me. I have always loved music and dancing. My parents grew up during the hay day of Rock n Roll, so conversely, I grew up with Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, Fats Domino, Little Richard, Buddy Holly, MOTOWN and countless others as the soundtrack to my childhood.

During middle and high school, their preference shifted more to easy listening and country music. Meanwhile, I started to discover everything from Funk, Disco, Heavy Metal and my favorite, Southern Rock. Through the early 80’s Pop Music was an eclectic array of varying styles and sounds. I contend that the late 70’s through the mid 80’s was the single greatest time for music.

In high school, I had everything imaginable in my room to play music through my state of the art – Atlanta Falcons headphones. I had a Pioneer Home Stereo with cd player, turntable, cassette deck and 8-track player. If your under the age of 30, just ask you’re parents what those things were – also ask them about the Commodore 64. For music on the go, I had one of the biggest boom-boxes around but sadly that was stolen on graduation trip to Panama City in 84. Anyway, I digress.

Lisa and I married young, 19 for her and 22 for me. Kids came early and often for us as we had 4 over the next 5 years. Over the years, as the kids have grown and are each now living their separate lives. There are a handful of things that were and continue make up the fabric our family. These are books, board games, movies, charades, music and dancing!! We all have a love for each of these things as they have been a source; at different times; of inspiration, comfort, escape, challenge, knowledge, and great fun!! Really, great fun!!

The fondest and most memories I have of our time together as a family revolves around music and dancing. The kids and I over the years put on a countless number of shows and all of us are renowned for our ability to play any Air instrument, broom or mop you can find! And singing, let’s just say we sounded every bit as good as Taylor Swift on her best day.

Typically, the concerts would ultimately give way to an in-home edition of American Bandstand or Soul Train dance party. As a dad, I always took great pleasure watching my kids participate in their various sporting events and such, but honestly, my absolute favorite memories with my kids are those nights where as a family, we would simply play games, talk about books, watch a movie or put on one of our concert/dance parties.

Nowadays, we don’t get the opportunity, to take part in concerts or play many games but we do make time to play charades when given the chance, take in a movie or two. Books and music however, are still very much a part of our daily lives as we constantly compare notes on the latest authors, books we are reading or the latest artists and their music we’ve discovered.

Music, out of all these things is one thing that really binds us together. Not too many conversations will pass by where music doesn’t come up – whether we are sharing stories about the latest concert, latest trip or just the latest album we bought. I really am thankful for music and the part it has played in our family’s history over the years. Early on we use to travel quite a bit, taking various trips to see Grandparents, Siblings and cousins all across the southeast and midwest.

During these trips we would listen to all types of music from different genres. As a result the kids were exposed to everything from bluegrass, rock, metal, jazz, big band, orchestra, pop and of course, country music. They have all developed their own favorite genres and preferences. The cool thing about this for me, is that they are now exposing me to all types of music…most of which, I really enjoy.

After reading this I realized I have not really expressed a direct “life lesson” so here it is – especially for those of you with young kids. Whatever it is, find something that allows you the opportunity to make a connection with your kids. And dads, I encourage you to not be wallflowers, but rather, be active participants in all the activities in and around your house. I promise you, you will not find anything more rewarding than creating memories with your children!!

Peace and thanks for reading!!

Why bother?

question-mark

The longer I live the more I find myself asking the question…Why? Why do Cub fans get excited every spring and think that yes, finally, this is their year? Why is it that the things that taste the best are the worst for you and vice versa? Why is Taylor Swift nominated for best female artist year after year? Why do the police insist being on the highway whenever I am late to get somewhere? Why can we name the starting lineup for all the sports team we root for but can’t remember that guys name that lives next door? If family is the most important thing, why is it so easy for us to let other things keep us from them?

Why don’t more parents actually parent their kids instead of trying to be friends with them? Why did you just get upset while reading that last sentence? Why do we insist on “adjusting” the standards of what’s acceptable downward? Why do weather forecasters get to keep their job when they are so often wrong? But then again, why do we celebrate all-star hitters who actually fail 70% of the time at their job? Why did striving to be the best you can be become such a negative thing to pursue?

Why did we allow ourselves to become so disconnected with our communities? Why do we not hold ourselves to the standards that we hold others to? Why do atlanta sport fans show up late to games and leave well before they are over? Why do I insist on spending more than I actually make? Why don’t we take time to get to know one another? Why did Garth Brooks quit making music? Why doesn’t Taylor Swift quit making music? (I KNOW, THAT”S TWO SHOTS I’VE TAKEN AT TAYLOR)

Why? I think it’s time each of us started asking ourselves, why? I think we have allowed ourselves to go through the motions of living life and not ACTUALLY, LIVING our lives. Have we become complacent with the world around us and quit asking the hard questions and most importantly, taking action when needed. Why do we so willingly accept mediocrity? No, I am not angry with anyone or anything. Just being reflective this afternoon and asking myself what do I want the rest of my life to look like?

I listened to a message this past Sunday where the question was – what if you have 1 month to live? what changes would you make? how would you live the next 30 days? So, anyway, as I was thinking about that, I found myself asking – why don’t I live every day like  it’s my last? My intention is to start doing just that, living each day the best that I can so that 30 years or 3o days from now, I won’t be asking myself, why didn’t I change?

Peace and thanks for reading!!

A Study of Joseph – Follow Up to Meant for Evil

In looking again at my post Meant for Evil, I felt compelled to make a couple more observations. Again, this passage of scripture is Genesis 37:12-36.

Principles
1. It’s important to be in touch with our children’s feelings.
2. We must not allow self-obsession to cause us to put our children on a performance standard.
3. Passive parents can create insecurity and anger in their children.
4. We reap what we sow, but self-punishment is not the answer to our problems.
Especially in today’s climate it seems easy for fathers to be out of touch with their children. Obviously, Jacob was severely out of touch with his children. I can’t imagine that he would knowingly send Joseph into harm’s way. That should be our main concern today as dad’s – too stay in touch with and understand exactly where our kids stand. This takes commitment to invest in the lives of our kids.
I think principle 2 listed above is huge and is the most common mistake I see parents make, especially dads. Kids want to be loved for who they are and not what they do!!
Jacob ignored or refused to deal with things as they occurred in his life. Choosing instead to ignore them for the most part and was definitely more concerned with his reputation (see Genesis 34:30) than the well-being of his family.
Jacob refused to be comforted after what happened to Joseph and basically continued to mourn Joseph and punish himself for the mistakes he had made. All of us will make mistakes and yes, those mistakes will have consequences that may affect the rest of our lives and/or our children’s lives. That does not give us the right to dwell in those mistakes and live with the attitude of “woe is me”.
Especially for us, who have the promise of Christ!! There is forgiveness in Christ and if we have sinned against our children, then we must seek their forgiveness with Godly sorrow. It is important that we demonstrate Christ’s love by moving past our mistakes.
Peace and thanks for reading!

A Study of Joseph – History Repeated

Joseph becomes the main character of Genesis beginning in Chapter 37:2This is the account of Jacob’s family line. Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them. At this point, we know Joseph is 17 and is the 2nd youngest of 12 brothers. And at the end of the verse listed above we see that he has no problem with letting his father, Jacob, know what is going on with his brothers.

In the next verses we see how the history of favoritism is carried on to yet another generation of Abraham’s family. Genesis 37:3-4 – 3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate[a] robe for him. 4 When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to himObviously we now have some serious conflict going on within this family. Imagine hating someone to the point that you couldn’t even talk to them peaceably and then imagine living in the same house with that person, day after day, year after year.

Thinking back on when I was a young parent I don’t remember anybody talking about or warning Lisa and I to be careful about showing favoritism where our children were concerned. It is something that we talked about and were always careful to guard against. I do however, think this is something we need to talk about, especially with young parents. Nothing can disrupt or cause animosity quicker within a family than favoritism.

My simple advise is this, your kids are individuals, each created with unique gifts, skills, quirks and personalities. Learn your kids and celebrate their individuality while working with them to overcome any obstacles they have in their character. Additionally, I would also say that I think some parents do a disservice to their children when they try and treat all of their kids the same way – equally. Instead, I would say you should treat your kids justly according to who they are.

An example of this would be: one of my daughters absolutely hated the idea of getting a spanking, to the point that she would cry a bucket of tears before the actual punishment was ever administered. My other daughter thought, ha, that’s no big deal, lasts for a minute and it’s over. With the one, we would give spankings and with the other, we found that taking things or privileges away from her would make a much stronger point. Was that fair? Would they say they were treated equally?  With both, we tried to be just and as a result, we didn’t have to spank a lot nor did we take away a lot of things.

Next Chapter will look at the dreamer and start looking at some parallels between lives of Joseph and Jesus.

Peace and Thanks for Reading

Blessed

Sitting in Kyle’s apartment at 10:45 pm on the campus of Auburn University. It’s a Thursday night after what has been a long but great day!!  I was able to actually sleep in a little this morning till 7:30 and get a good 5 1/2 hours of sleep in. I worked in the office today until 2pm and headed over to Lanier HS to pick up Ryan before heading home and finish packing for our little weekend away from home.

Ryan is interviewing tonight and tomorrow with IMPACT 360, which is a 1 year Gap program, giving kids an opportunity to immerse themselves into Biblical Studies and cement their faith while building a strong Christ based worldview. Praying for God’s direction for Ryan and already feel that this would be an incredible opportunity for him if that is the path he is to follow.

So while driving down to Pine Mtn. where Impact is located, I was able to have time to just reflect on each of the kids, Lisa and myself on where we are individually and collectively as a family. I am humbled at how blessed we truly are! It is awesome to see God working in each of their lives and in such different ways. And as I was thinking of this I began reflecting on the countless number of people who have played a part in helping my kids, Lisa and myself become the people we are today.

I won’t even begin to try and name everyone who has blessed our family over the years but Lisa and I are forever grateful for each and everyone of you!! Thinking back on all the different places we have lived and all of the different people God has placed in our paths, I am simply amazed and humbled at how God as used everyone to impact our family. From preschool till today I am so thankful for all of the teachers who have given of themselves to teach our children God’s word. For all of the people who encouraged my children to be who they are and challenge them; whether it be academically, artistically or just taking time to talk them, I am so thankful for you.

I could carry on this post for pages and pages and still not do justice in thanking you all. People ask Lisa and I all the time what our secret is for having 4 great children. Obviously, we have always tried to be Godly parents and teach, train our children but honestly, I will let you in our secret – and that secret is you!

Peace and THANKS AGAIN!!

It’s Christmas Time!!

I love this time of year because it always takes me back to when I was a kid. Growing up in Marietta, Georgia was so much fun, especially around Christmas. Marietta was not the biggest town on the map but it played big every Christmas or that’s at least how I remember it! Outside of seeing what Santa brought for my sister and me on Christmas, I think the most fun I had at Christmas was going shopping with my mom. As I got older, not so much, but for several years there, shopping was extremely fun!!

My favorite store back then was the Sears and Roebuck (if you remember the Roebuck, you’re dating yourself). They would go all out in decorating their store each year. From the parking lot all throughout the building and even in the garage where they fixed the cars, they would decorate any and everything!! It was like Santa’s workshop had been relocated to Marietta for the Christmas season! I can still remember the days of walking through the double, front doors trying hard to not sprint down that center aisle and around the corner to where I knew the toys, games, and Santa would be waiting. Magical times I tell you, for in that instance, everything else disappeared!! Incredibly, Santa always seemed to know exactly what to bring me on Christmas morning!!

Cumberland Mall back then was the place to go!! At the time, it was the most massive size building I had ever been in and to see it all decorated for Christmas was simply overwhelming to a young kid. I remember the smell of the mall at Christmas time. I know that’s probably odd but I do, I remember, smelling all of the different fragrances as you walked in and out of the different stores. And the Christmas music was great as it was the only time of year we got to hear it and no matter where you were in the mall, you could hear it – I thought that was just amazing. I remember people being happy and almost overflowing with joy. Sure, I remember some people that seemed really stressed out and ill at the world but I just figured they knew they were on Santa’s naughty list already and were just bummed because they weren’t getting presents that year.

I remember the lights as we would drive around in all the neighborhoods. So bright, festive and full of life were the houses that were decked out for Christmas, especially the ones that had an undecorated house next to them. We usually would take our tour two or three days in advance of Christmas and that was my beacon of hope to know I just had to wait a couple of more days. And I will admit, I was terrible about waiting for the rest of the family to see what was under the Christmas tree!! One year my parents even hung a sheet in the hallway to try to keep me from sneaking a peek at what laid just beyond it. I will not divulge whether or not this attempt was successful for them or not. I remember the year of the pinball machine because I know I heard Santa, my dad and whoever else was there playing it as I was trying to sleep in my room.

Finally, Christmas Days were just the best!! And not because of whatever I may have received that morning but just because the whole day was filled with joy, love, laughter and food!! As my sister and I got older, mom and dad didn’t seem as eager to get right to the tree. Which was fine with me because mom always had her sausage cheese balls ready for us to eat. When we finally did get to the tree I was always amazed at how my parents seemed just as happy as Audra and me were, at the presents we had received even though they didn’t have near as many. In the early afternoon we would head over to Aunt Saralene’s house. Now this was always a truly magical time as we would one by one open all the presents that were collected under the tree. This took hours to do and the only way to get through it was to make sure you kept yourself fed and there was always great food to fill the need!!

Sitting around their big family room opening presents was simply amazing!! Everyone laughing, then crying from laughing, then laughing again and the competition….man it could get intense. I’m not talking about who got the best or most presents, no, it was who could get who the best present, as everybody really tried to get everyone the perfect gift! Incredibly fun times, and I hope that my kids are able to look back at their childhood Christmas’ experiences with the same fondness that I have for mine.

Merry Christmas to you all!!

Peace and thanks for reading!