Enjoy the holiday season

Published 4:59 am Saturday, December 24, 2016

By the time you’re reading this column, I will be up in Branson, Mo., visiting my parents and brother and also re-uniting with my sister and other extended family relatives. I am thankful that my family has always kept Christmas special, and it is a time I always look forward to each year.

Christmas is also a nonstop slideshow of memories — some funny, some sad, but all memorable.

I remember being in a school pageant in third grade, which included some “re-workings” of popular songs to a more Christian theme. One such song was “Joy To The World” — no, not the traditional Christmas hymn, but the 1970s hit by Three Dog Night. I still remember the amusement I felt the first time I heard the original song and discovered that the line is “Jeremiah was a bullfrog,” and not “Jeremiah was a prophet!” Another pageant was the first time I ever heard of the drug Geritol — it was mistaken for the location of a traveling wise man who was going to Jericho!

One Christmas memory that will stand out for me is the reaction of my brother when he first opened our (the present was for both him and me) Nintendo 64 video game system. I will remember him screaming, dancing, and jumping up and down after getting the beloved gift. My only regret is that we didn’t record it and put it online; he could have been the kid who went viral!

Finally, I remember spending Christmases at my dad’s parents’ farmhouse in rural Iowa. While the food, presents and fellowship were great, I think what I most enjoyed was when Grandpa would pull out his guitar and lead everyone in singing a few songs. I have no doubt that I got my own love of the six-stringed instrument from watching Grandpa Walt make beautiful music with his fingers.

My grandpa died in May 2014, but Grandma kept his guitar. I am truly humbled that my family has asked me to play a few songs on it when we get together this year. I only hope I can do it justice.

Here’s hoping I’ll continue to make wonderful memories like these in my life, and I hope you have the opportunity to do so with your families as well. Merry Christmas!