Dad always told me I could get barnacles on my behind by sitting around too much.
What he knew of barnacles, I'll never know, but that's what he said. Since barnacles neither harm nor help their host, it really didn't matter.
Still, a few nights ago when I just had to get up during the Christmas movie marathons on two separate TV channels, there was something stuck to my bottom, and I laughed out loud. Laughter at 2 a.m. can actually startle you, but there you have it. I laughed as I reached around and sloughed off a small stone, thinking of Dad and those barnacles as I did so.
He doesn't jump into my mind often, but those Christmas shows are definitely memory makers, even when they don't mean to be. Some of them just want to save Christmas from the dangers of disbelief using the magic of the season.
And how the small stone came to be in my chair, I'll also never know. I keep a bunch of small stones in a basket but I've never seen one of them jump out of it. Must have been that seasonal magic.
Whether you enjoy those sappy, happy movies or wish they'd just go away, they're an indelible part of the holidays, and, like everything else, they start way before Thanksgiving. This I don't mind. I love watching those movies. And I'm usually movie hungry by then because I refuse to watch television during the onslaught of scary movies that build up to Halloween. I don't do scary movies.
When it gets to mid-November and the Christmas rush starts, I can rationalize watching so many because I've gone without for a month. That's what I tell myself.
I should, however, buy stock in Kimberly-Clark, the company that makes the tissues I go through so quickly during the holidays. I cry. I don't mean to cry, but before I know it, my glasses are spot-stained, making them difficult to see through. And you can only wipe tears away with your shirt sleeve so many times before you have to get up and wring the darn thing out.
As much as I love Christmas movies, they come with a price. Commercials.
Prime time movies take you shopping, for cars or shoes or electronics or any number of things. Early morning movies get the personal commercials. Incontinent? They have something for that. Facial wrinkles? They have stuff for that. Are you obese? There are as many cures for that as Christmas movies on the air. Sometimes you've just got to shut your eyes to lock out what's on the screen, and then you run the risk of actually falling asleep and missing part of the movie. If you wait a few days, you can always pick it up where you lost it, though, because those movies run over and over and over again.
By the end of the season, you're unconsciously kind to others, you tend to forgive more easily and you actually look for the right thing to do.
That must be the magic of the season.
So long friends, until the next time when we're together.
Sandy Mickelson, retired lifestyle editor of The Messenger, may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.