By RALPH HARDIN
Evening Times Editor
There are two kinds of people in this world… ones who read the title of this column and immediately got excited about the run-up until Christmas, and ones who read it and got a sinking feeling in the pit of their stomachs.
And I get it — for both kinds.
This is, indeed, the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be stressful and even depressing time for many. I love the Christmas season. I love the songs and the parties and the decorations and yes, even the shopping. But I also get pretty anxious about all the money being spent and that’s no good. I also lost my sister in a car crash just about a week before Christmas about 25 years ago, and that memory can still put a shadow over the joys of the holidays.
I know that Christmas time can be just as much about missing loved ones who are no longer with us. Family and friends who have moved away, relationships that have been broken for one reason or another, and yes, those who have passed on. You get that first reminder at Thanksgiving and it just builds between then and Christmas.
I still have my parents. I’m going to be 50 next year and I
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know a lot of folks my age or younger who can’t say the same. Just a couple of days ago I read on the Marion High School Class of 1991 Facebook page (of which I am a member) that another of our classmates, Deshone Skinner, had passed away. I hadn’t seen Deshone Skinner in years, but I remember him well going all the way back to class together at Avondale Elementary.
I’ve lost track of how many of the 108 of us who graduated together 31 years ago have died. A couple never made it to our 10-year reunion. More have passed in the last few years through various illnesses and tragedies.
Looking at Deshone’s peronal Facebook page, I see he had a wife and at least one daughter. That had to be a tough Thanksgiving last Thursday and it’s not going to get any easier as the calendar flips over to December this Thursday.
December can be wonderful but it can also be tough. The weather moves closer to the bleak mid-winter and the days get shorter. There is also a bit of wistful, mostly unspoken sadness about another year coming to an end.
We’ve had some tough Decembers lately, thanks largely to COVID-19 and political unrest, both of which still linger as 2022 enters its final month.
The band Counting Crows has a song called “A Long December” and the opening line is, “A long December, and there’s reason to believe, maybe this year will be better than the last.” It’s a hopeful line in an otherwise dreary song but one that I think we can hold on to this December.