By now, we should be getting over Christmas.
Yes, it takes awhile. So much energy, hyped expectations, adherence to traditions and co-mingling with relatives and friends can make Christmas an exhausting event.
Pastor Lisa Yebuah at Edenton Street United Methodist Church spoke for many of us when she told a reporter, “By Christmas Day, I want to crawl into the manger with the Baby Jesus and take a nap.”
And there are all those Christmas cards! What does one do with them? After the tree has gone out the door to the curb, the cards linger on the desk, the dining room table and fireplace mantel. Two or three are even taped to the refrigerator door.
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For some of us, there are also the guilt trips. There may be cards from the friend in Knoxville or the cousin in Detroit. No, you didn’t get around to sending them cards. You promise yourself to reciprocate next Christmas. Or you might drop them a note of thanks even now.
Christmas cards tend to stir memories. Perusing our cards after Christmas, I came across the one from Nita Byrd, widow of my UNC and beyond close friend, Dick.
From Warsaw, N.C., Dick was working for CP&L in Raleigh when he and Nita visited the foothills area where I grew up. Falling in love with the area, Dick later took a job as publicist for Surry Community College.
The Byrds bought a big rambling farm house on a mountain slope above Mount Airy.
Dealing with the grass and weeds on the spacious grounds of their new home was quite a chore. So, one day Dick attended a nearby livestock sale and bought a goat to graze his grounds.
How to get Billy home? The only safe way was to put him in the pickup truck’s cab with the driver. I can’t do justice to Dick’s description of the hectic ride home.
Billy not only was disoriented and scared. He was mad! As a hornet!
He filled the cab with his loud bleating. He attacked the windows, and then Dick.
When the goat wasn’t butting Dick, he was backing his behind against Dick’s face. All my friend could do was drive with his left hand while trying to fend off the berserk goat with his right.
“It was the longest 25 miles of my life,” Dick recalled. Moral of this story: Don’t ever drive with an angry goat on the seat beside you.
Shame on N.C.
Some of you may remember the country music ballad “Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys.” Great advice. Instead, Mamas, just hope your babies grow up to be college football coaches.
The publication Bankrate recently listed the five highest-paid college football coaches’ salaries.
They are: Jim Harbaugh, Michigan, $9,004,000; Nike Saban, Alabama, $6,939,395; Urban Meyer, Ohio State, $6,094,800; Bob Stoops, Oklahoma, $5,550,000; and Jimbo Fisher, Florida State, $5,250,000.
Meanwhile, in North Carolina, our ex-governor boasted about getting beginning public school teacher salaries up to $35,000 per year, and the average teacher pay to $50,000.
Is there no shame left?
Ode to rain
Recent rainy weather had me longing for the land of Camelot described by lyricist Alan Jay Lerner:
The rain may never fall till after sundown.
By eight, the morning fog must disappear.
In short, there’s simply not
A more congenial spot
For happily-ever-aftering than here
Although Raleigh may not be Camelot, our city apparently is a popular place to visit or even for “ever-aftering.”
On Jan. 1, 2016, reader William Devereux, Raleigh psychologist and former practicing attorney, on a whim began some interesting research.
He printed out a map of the contiguous United States. As he spotted license plates from the various states, he filled in the states on his map.
“As of the end of July, I had seen plates from 45 of the contiguous United States, all except South Dakota, Kansas and Nebraska,” he wrote. “Then I spotted Alaska! Two months ago I even saw a Hawaii plate. But I’m still looking for South Dakota and Kansas. Well, 48 out of 50 ain’t so bad.”