Yes, indeedy, they have. Even if I discount this past weekend, it would be very evident. XM has decided to begin the 24/7 playing of Christmas music on my beloved 1940s channel, which has left me rather bereft. In previous years, they had simply inserted various Christmas classics into their regular lineup. That suited me perfectly, but apparently it wasn’t good enough for XM. So now I can either listen to “Holiday Traditions” or I could mosey over to the Sinatra channel.
Maybe I’ll just stick with my BBC Radio 1.
This past weekend was our holiday kickoff. My grandparents are snowbirds, wintering in Florida every year. This winter is no different, though there is a bit of a bittersweet tang about it. My grandfather suffers from Alzheimer’s, and it’s been decided that they can no longer make the arduous trek from central Pennsylvania down to Florida.
It’s quite sad about my grandpa. He used to be the man who would hold forth at our holiday get-togethers, his deep, booming voice a comforting soundtrack to my childhood. He doesn’t speak much anymore, I think because he’s not entirely certain what’s going on. He can’t drive anymore because he can’t remember how to get from point A to point B in the little mountain town that’s been his home for the last fifty years. I know I’ve written about this before, but he’s getting worse. I’m not even sure he remembered which grandkid I was, who I belonged to, or that I had y own mkids. He just seemed so… distant. And it’s such a shame too — his brilliant mind stolen away by the ravages of this disease.
It makes me want to cry when I think about it.
Anyhow, my grandparents are set to make their yearly trek this week. My dad will drive up to retrieve my grandparents to bring them to DC where they will catch the train southward, and my uncle will drive their car to Florida. It’s a system that works well, and one that will be repeated in the spring when they return north. Because they were about to head south, it was decided that this past weekend would make an excellent one to gather the family together for an early Thanksgiving.
Almost everyone was there. The only ones that couldn’t make it were my brother (he had to work), and what I call the Florida contingent. My aunt and uncle and their three kids live near where my grandparents winter, and because my sister lived in Florida for quite a few years, I still count her among the Florida contingent though she now resides near Atlanta. But we even had the Kyrgyzstan contingent show up! My aunt and uncle and their three kids are missionaries there, although their eldest son and their daughter CA now attend college in Maryland. I’m not sure why they’re in the States now, but I was very glad to see them. I had to pat CA down before I said goodbye to her; I was afraid she would smuggle ME back to college with her! She loves babies, and oh how they love her.
But the best part of the whole weekend was seeing my grandma with Mary Ellen. That’s her namesake, after all.
The two Mary Ellens got along famously. There was some concern about the baby ME toddling along, as she’s not all that steady on her feet. Since I’ve seen her through falling down my friends’ yard onto asphalt and tumbling down a flight of stairs onto concrete, I was a bit more sanguine that she’d turn out just fine. I was outvoted, though, and there was a movement to find her a helmet to protect her precious cranium. Fortunately it was abandoned before the motion could carry.
It was a fantastic weekend, though, and it was so nice to let my grandma finally meet the baby. Now I’ll just hold my breath till the spring in hopes that my grandparents make it back north safely.