Soon I will be back home, far from this nasty Southwest corner weather.
It actually had the audacity to rain on the 18th green Saturday. I lit every night last week to avoid turning on the heat. I don’t claim to be a scientist, but it certainly doesn’t seem global warming is on the rampage. Of course, Southwest corner weather pales in comparison to back east. We will be headed into the teeth of Lebanon weather in about two weeks.
I hope your Christmas (and mine) is white.
This Christmas will be different regardless of the white stuff. Traditions have been altered. My father was a cornerstone of our traditions. Now we must carve out different ways of celebrating, honoring him, remembering him while filling the void with songs of joy. After all, this is Christmas.
I think it would be easier if we have Bing Crosby’s image of a White Christmas before us. Either way, it will be okay. As Elvis sang, “I’ll be home for Christmas.
This has been a transition year for our family, but I guess every family has transitions. Things change, and we have to deal with those changes in a positive manner.
Since I have this bully pulpit, I take this opportunity to complement my mother, Estelle Prichard Jewell. She continues to amaze all of us. Mother is 96. She was married to my father for six weeks more than 75 years when he passed away in August. We were all worried about her. At 96, she has some health issues. But I don’t know anyone who has made it to 96 without health issues. The lone exception was my father who didn’t have any real health issues from nine years old until six weeks before he passed away.
Estelle Jewell has met this cataclysmic family change head on. She has adapted to her new environs at Elmcroft, perhaps not with relish but with a pleasant acceptance. She delights in reading books (she read five romances in six days right after Thanksgiving) working puzzles, and watching her television shows, “Jeopardy” and “Wheel of Fortune” every night. She entertains visitors with relish.
She participates in the Elmcroft events which appeal to her and avoids the ones which don’t appeal to her. When one of the staff implored her to join the regular group of Bingo players in the meeting room, my mother replied, “I never liked Bingo, and I’m not going to like it now.”
Estelle Jewell remains the family historian. In fact, she is more so now than ever before. She is my first call for researching some event, some long gone establishment, or some Lebanon character from the past.
She also will not be pleased with me praising her in this column. After my father received his honorary degree from Lebanon, she directed that my sister Martha, brother Joe, and me not to start any campaign for her or my father to receive any honors.
Sorry, Mother, but your ability to live life well has earned a special place in our family. You continue to teach us, by example, how to live our lives well.
This past weekend, the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, went by quietly. One celebration out here in the Southwest corner was when the survivors of that history changing surprise attack gathered together. Down the hill from our home, they still gather weekly. This was a public gathering where one Pearl Harbor veteran stood at a large ship’s bell while another read from a list. The list was names other survivors who will gather no more, who passed away this year. As each name was read, the other man rang the bell once to honor their brother in arms.
I often joke about how old I am. I actually feel pretty young for my age and consider myself lucky. But this Christmas season, I truly am feeling I, and my peers, have donned the cloak of age. I am becoming more of an observer than a participant. My views are from the past, not the future.
But while in Lebanon, I will rejoice in the Christmas season. My watchword since August has been to do what my father would want be to do. I’m sure he wants all of us to have a wonderful Christmas.
Jim Jewell, a retired Navy commander lives in San Diego but was raised in Lebanon. His book, A Pocket of Resistance: Selected Poems, is now available through Author House, Amazon and Barnes and Noble online. Jim’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org.