Getting Excited!

Last week you may have seen me, rather ungracefully (me, not you), on Facebook. We were at our grandboys’ combined annual ‘slip and slide’ birthday party.  Every year I keep saying, “I’ll go down the hill … next year”; and I realize next year is not going to get any better. So this year, before the teeming hoards arrived, I just “Did It”.  I have to say, it was a glorious experience (except maybe for the painful dish soap that knew no boundaries whatsoever).

I think in our old age we start to focus on the aches and pains and forget about hope and ridiculousness. Tony’s booked in for his big splash next year! (Editor’s note: Tony here. “It ain’t gonna happen”).

The entire kid community, comprised of neighbors, school and church chums is beginning to realize this is a major event of the season.  What started as a small strip of plastic and a garden hose has now taken on a “NASA Level” annual project. Son Nathan just keeps making it grander and grander, explaining that he now has a reputation to think about.

This year, he expanded the run to a double-wide construction grade roll of plastic, generously fed by a dozen irrigation sprinklers and liberally soaped up by volunteers using heavy duty squeeze bottles all the way down. Surrounding the entire slide were a string of 78 “pool noodles” providing bumper protection as well as a focal point for any passing space station.

Now we’re actually starting to worry about the 10-foot high retaining wall drop off at the bottom of the run. Until this year, no one thought a slider would ever get that far, but the goal is now within reach, given enough mass and momentum. A temporary stopgap was hastily assembled this year by heaping up plastic at the bottom and filling it with water. Next year we’re going to need a pond… or maybe a bungee cord.

So if there’s a word to take home from all this, it might be the word, ‘Anticipation’. For Tony, as well as myself, growing up, the day after Thanksgiving wasn’t set aside for Black Friday sales (we didn’t have them back then anyway), but for decorating the house for Christmas.

I’ve been reading through all the Gospel stories about Mary and the angel today, and what better word for describing this story is there? Anticipation!

It’s with anticipatory hearts that we jump into this year’s Christmas Season.  It was an acquired taste, and it’s taken many years, but I can honestly say now that we love the idea of a HOT Christmas with all the trimmings, like cold prawns and ham decorated with mango slices, followed by a big “Pavlova” dessert. Icy drinks and long bright daylight evening Christmas Carols in the park, reminiscent of childhood 4th of July celebrations back in the Northern Hemisphere. For the hardy, there will be plenty of time with friends at the beach …. and of course, more food than can be imagined, carefully packed in the old Eski (ice chest).

But what makes it really joyful is the knowledge that the reason for the season goes all the way back to the message of Christmas, and the anticipation that has been generated for the last couple of thousand years.
“For unto us a Child is born, a Son is given”

Happy Beginnings!


P.S. Next week I’ll get back to the Japanese stories till I run out, which, unless you give me some more, you can anticipate sooner than later.  In the New Year, we’re anticipating some pretty exciting travel/vocation related stuff, so stay tuned!

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