Back in Time to Leave Again

Our Christmas trip was good, and I’m about to make my final sabbatical trip to NY. It will be nice to stay in one place for longer than a few weeks once I get back!

Meanwhile, since my 17-year-old son doesn’t read my blog, I can share that the only thing more tension-provoking than driving a car to Florida with two teenagers is riding in that car when one of them is driving.

Actually, he’s quite a good driver. So good that I fell asleep and woke up 30 miles after he didn’t spot the exit we needed for the next road. Every other parent I’ve told this story has been amazed that I was able to fall asleep!

My project of making videos on cello playing has turned out so nicely. I amazed by how many people I’m hearing from, and from how far away. Switzerland and England today!

Following up on the Christmas wars, my daughter’s best friend’s mother is our mayor. I was sitting next to Nancy at a swim meet Saturday (nothing is more boring than watching other people’s children, especially one’s you don’t know, swim) and we had plenty of time to chat. I asked her if it had come up in the discussion that the Pilgrims, for example, did not observe Christmas and that it used to be illegal in Massachusetts to celebrate it. She didn’t and didn’t even want to think about what she had been through.

So I thought of going up to one of our more conservative pastors, who was also looking bored during the long periods when his son was not swimming, either, and asking him about it. Christmas (which I love) is the absolutely least Biblical of Christian holidays; there’s nothing in the Christian (or Hebrew) scriptures, I understand, about holding ceremonies to celebrate the birth of important figures. It’s an important tradition, of course. I have nothing against it–my Christmas tree is still up. But pretty clearly Christmas was started as a way to Christianize the late-December “pagan” festivites. (No, Jesus is not “the reason for the season.”) And it’s this history, and the secular celebrating which surrounded Christmas even back then that had the Pilgrims so disgusted with it.

But I decided not to ask Alan where in the Bible it suggests we celebrate Christmas or why the original Christians didn’t themselves or why our Puritan forebearers used to put people in jail for celebrating it. But I just didn’t have the energy to pick a fight, I guess.

Splish, splash. Who are these kids in the pool? Everyone looks the same in the water; it’s hard to recognize even the kids I know. A neighbor and I chat about our cars. He says I should sell my 97 Town and Country, which I love because it is so comfortable, because at over 100K miles the transmission should die any minute now. Well, everything else has, so he’s probably right.

Vaugely familar kids are in the pool. Is that Gus in lane 3? No he’s in lane 5. Are you sure? It could be Nathan. We have to look at the program.

How can anyone do the breast stroke? Well, how can anyone play the double stop passages in the Dvorak concerto? I can do it, but it still beats me. The breast stroke looks worse. Or is it the butterfly? I get them confused. All tortures look alike.

My son came running up to the stands. His next event is going to start sooner than he had thought; his girlfriend is planning to come what may be 15 minutes too late, on her lunch break from the library. Can I go get her? Or call her? He’s panicked! The hold this girl has on him!

What’s her cell number? He doesn’t know–it’s programmed into his cell phone which is at home. I can’t drive to get her, because I’ve walked to the meet, and it would take too long to walk home and get the car.

So I call the library. We get the whole linrary staff, it seems, trying to find the girlfriend so she can get to the meet in time (some things about small-town life are great, such as the library staff recognizing this for the emergency it was). She has already left, it turns out, and materializes next to me while I’m on the phone. My son beats his previous best times by a considerable amount. He triumphs, she is there to watch.

It doesn’t bother me that all of a sudden this teenaged girl looms larger in his life than do I. It sure is a problem for his mother, though! What will it be like for me when my daughter gets her first serious boyfriend? Probably not pretty.

I think the swim meet may still be going on. The 500-meter events last for an eternity. Well, it is Tuesday morning and the thing started Saturday. Must be done by now.

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