Saturday December 1, 2012

DALTON

Before the poultry carcasses hit the garbage can, the Christmas lights were switched on all over town. The stores didn’t even wait that long to start amping up holiday sales and extending sale hours. Even if the economic recovery depends on our gifting largess, I’d like to consume the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers before I draw up the Christmas gift list.

I can’t share my family list with you on the outside chance some will read this and fail to be surprised, so here are my planned holiday gifts to outsiders. I’m sending the gifts of patience and vision to all the short-tempered, short-sighted drivers who turn the orderly Coltsville intersection into a roulette wheel every day of the week. I didn’t realize color blindness was such a national epidemic. Why else would drivers breeze through the red lights from every direction? If we could all just slow down and enjoy the ride, there would be less need for fixing fender benders and swallowing antacid tablets upon arrival home.

I’m ordering a giant supply of humility for the folks who park in the fire lanes at most shopping malls and grocery stores, so they will take their rightful places in the rows of lined parking spaces which proliferate around them. I sincerely hope they are never in need of fire or ambulance services at a location where the emergency routes are blocked. Someday they might realize that parking in the farthest space from the door allows them to get a bit of fresh air and exercise before entering a stuffy store. Personally, I enjoy browsing through the rows of parked vehicles -- it’s a great way to check out every make and model of foreign and domestic products without running from dealer to dealer.

To all public school teachers, I am sending a most practical gift -- a giant carton of facial tissue, hand sanitizer, and paper towels. They say an army runs on its stomach, but from personal experience I know that schools run on their supply of hygiene products, and the more the merrier. When I was on the receiving end of warm and well-intentioned student giving, I was thankful for the bounty of food, mugs, and holiday ornaments that came my way, but I was always wishing for a dozen boxes of nose-friendly tissue which we all desperately needed when the winter germs made their onslaught immediately after Christmas vacation.

To the unsung heroes of all our communities, the first responders and community volunteers, I am sending gratitude and prayers for your health and safety especially during this holiday season. We have all seen so many examples this year of your bravery and determination in fighting fires, rescuing victims of accidents and floods, maintaining order, and giving comfort and hope to survivors of all manner of crises. I am constantly in awe of people who live to serve and do it constantly and consistently with such strength of purpose and such positive energy.

Finally, I’m sending all my love and affection to the grade school children of our communities. You are the heart and soul of our world and you deserve the best we can provide in material goods as well as our best wishes, commitment, and support. I hope you understand how important you are to all our lives. You make us all smile and you make us all proud when you share your enthusiasm and energy with those of us who can no longer climb to the top of the monkey bars or achieve gold-star status on our weekly quizzes. I enjoy watching your acts of kindness and your academic achievement, and for the future I wish you every good thing.

Anne Horrigan Geary is a regular Eagle contributor.