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The Sounds of Silence

2000

What's different this Christmas morning?

It's the silence!

We're not waking to the loudspeaker from the Captain's bridge telling us that Santa has prepared a special Christmas breakfast aboard the Mississippi Queen. Or awakened by country music as we experience "Christmastime in Branson."

The empty nest does not produce the sound of children's feet in the family room above our bedroom ceiling. We used to tell the Grands when they stayed over that they sounded like a herd of turtles when they woke up in the morning! Would we welcome the chatter and clatter of little feet before dawn? It's a pleasant memory, but I don't think so!

There's no storm surf to wake us up. The winter drought has settled in and the rain storms haven't made their appointed rounds. Restaurant Row on the waterfront is safe this holiday season.

This year we stayed home where we belong. We're not out on the road making our appointed rounds from family to family or flying off to some exotic place hoping to experience something special …some hyped up idea of what we thought Christmas would be like anywhere but here.

This year our house smells of traditional holiday baking and Wassail simmering on the back burner of the stove. We even put up a small tree.

Erma Bombeck once said there is a time when our kids cross over and they become the parent and we become the child they look after.

I think we've arrived. We got a telephone call this morning that began with "Just checking up on you…" like we were some old, frail people who need looking after. It gave us pause because we don't think of ourselves that way but we are gradually approaching so we might as well get used to it!

We'll probably sleep in Christmas morning and then take a walk on the beach after breakfast. That's what people do here in Cardiff by the Sea. The ones that stay home, that is. The rest will be fighting traffic on the freeways or bustling through the Christmas crowds in airline terminals across our land.

It brought to mind the words of King Solomon:

There is a right time for everything:
A time to be born; a time to die;
A time to plant; a time to harvest;
A time to kill; a time to heal;
A time to destroy; a time to rebuild;
A time to cry; a time to laugh;
A time to grieve; a time to dance;
A time for scattering stones; a time for gathering stones;
A time to hug; a time not to hug;
A time to find; a time to lose;
A time for keeping; a time for throwing away;
A time to tear, a time to repair;
A time to be quiet, a time to speak up;
A time for loving; a time for hating;
A time for war; a time for peace
I'll just add to King Solomon's wisdom: A time for traveling; a time for staying home.

I'm glad we stayed home for Christmas this year. I rather like the sounds of silence.

But the silence broken by a ringing telephone is always a pleasant sound. Even if the kids are 'just checking up on us' ... it's always nice to know that they care.

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