Christmas is a learning experience-TL

By Tammy Keith Originally Published December 30, 2012 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated December 28, 2012 at 4:14 p.m.
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Editor’s Note: This column originally ran on Jan. 3, 2010. Tammy Keith is on vacation and likely snowbound as many Arkansans are at press time.

I learn something new every Christmas.

Here are a few things I learned this year from my experience and those of friends and family members:

• Sometimes when it rains, it pours. Our plan to go to Malvern on Christmas Eve didn’t work out after the interstate closed. After weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, we decided to stay home. That meant a mad dash to the grocery store for my husband, the cook.

• It takes a loooong time to get just a small sack of items at the grocery store on Christmas Eve. My husband saw at least a dozen other people he knew there, too.

• Chicken with pasta, toasted pecans and pumpkin pie for Christmas Eve dinner can taste pretty good, even if you’re missing traditional Christmas Eve stew with the in-laws.

• It might be less stressful not to take a sick puppy with you to visit relatives. My brother and sister-in-law took Delta Dawn, their new puppy, who threw up five or six times on the way to her parents’ house, a trip that took twice as long because of the flooding.

• Don’t kid your 110-year-old grandmother about putting money in her card when you didn’t. A friend of mine asked her grandmother (OK, the woman’s only in her 90s) whether she’d gotten the Christmas card my friend had sent. My friend jokingly told her grandmother, “I put $300 in there.” That brought about some angst (”How much money? But, you did put SOME money in the card?”) that just wasn’t funny on second thought, my friend said.

• Pay attention to everything that is delivered when you order online. It occurred to me the day before Christmas that I hadn’t seen one of my son’s gifts I’d ordered — a holder for his waders. My husband and I looked high and low. We had false memories about it. I told my husband I thought he’d made a mad dash with both boxes when my son arrived home just after they were delivered. Finally, after Christmas, he found the item inside the shipping box another gift from that store had been delivered in. We’d never laid eyes on this thing.

• Pay attention to where you stash things when you decorate for Christmas. My husband was taking down his Santa collection fom the fireplace mantel, and he asked me where we put the pottery plate I have on a stand that was moved for Christmas. I thought he put it in his closet. He says it isn’t there. I remember him saying, “I’ll deal with it.” We have no idea. Right now, there is a lovely empty plate holder on the mantel.

• We say we do, but it’s hard to stop in the middle of present opening and stuffing ourselves to really reflect on the day. I got the chance to go to a free community dinner in Malvern on Christmas Day, and I talked with some people who probably would have had nowhere else to go and not much else to eat. I hugged one man who probably doesn’t have $2

to his name, but he was happy. As I walked around, my eyes kept filling up with tears, because it really hit home how blessed I am.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

Niche Publications Senior Writer Tammy Keith can be reached at 501-327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

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