I thought about taking Christmas off from writing this blog. After all, it is a legal holiday. But how can I disappoint my millions of fans (don’t check the site meter) who read me every week?
Deb and I are pleased because both of our children are home for Christmas. Our daughter, Tara and our son Tad have come home from Minneapolis. Our daughter-in-law Lisa and our “grand dog” Winston are also here. As I write, Winston is curled up on the carpet, Tara is watching television, and the others have gone out shopping.
I don’t know what it is like to be a grandpa, but my friends who have grandchildren tell me it is absolutely fabulous. I’m in no hurry to be a grandpa. First, it will add to the mounting body of empirical evidence that proves I’m getting old. Second, I figure that our remaining family disposable income will fall at least 20 percent due to the fact that my wife will be buying everything under the sun for that spoiled grandkid. It has also occurred to me that I don’t have any control over when or if I’ll be a grandpa. You don’t choose to become a grandparent; you just get a phone call and you are one.
Meanwhile, I’ve got my grand dog, Winston. Winston is a three-year-old Springer
Spaniel. He is a housedog, but has also become a pretty good bird-hunting dog. Tad and Winston are inseparable. They go on a couple of hunting trips to Lisa’s native North Dakota each year. Hunting is something that Tad learned from the in-laws, who are all North Dakota farmers. Even though Tad is Winston’s best buddy, Winston appreciates our early morning walks. With the kids sleeping in, it is “gramps” that gets up early to exercise the dog. Winston is always dying to come along. He has matured a lot over the past three years. He doesn’t pull me along anymore but he still suffers from the illusion that he can catch a squirrel. He even thinks he can climb trees!
Tad never learned to hunt from me because I never owned a gun. I figured the only reason to own a gun would be in case marginal income tax brackets got too high. Then we would probably need a gun to defend ourselves from government agents who were trying to take food out of our mouths. When the Democrats controlled the White House and Congress I figured I’d need to buy a 45-caliber pistol because of their reputation for excessive spending, but I never did. Then, when the Republicans came to power in the 90’s I figured I was safe from excessive federal spending. Boy was I wrong. Yesterday I got on the Internet and ordered an AK-47 with a thirty round clip! (Just kidding).
I’ve got to apologize. Here it is, Christmas Eve, and I’m talking about AK-47’s. That’s a long way from “turning the other cheek.” On the other hand, there are American soldiers in Iraq right now that are facing fire from the dreaded AK’s. They are doing it to protect the peace, for which I am extremely grateful. The Prince of Peace probably didn’t envision the world this way. But he also didn’t envision New York’s falling world trade towers, a bombed train in Madrid, or a blown-up bus in Haifa.
On Christmas Day 2005 it is very easy to dwell on hunger, war, terrorism, poverty, and all of the world’s many seemingly insurmountable problems. But for one day, let us indulge ourselves by remembering and repeating the message of Peace on Earth. May you and yours have a Merry Christmas and a Joyous Hanukah!