When is the last time you’ve done absolutely nothing for an extended period of time?
I was lucky enough to have a few days off at Christmas, and we had a great holiday. It was nice to hang out with relatives we don’t see enough of during the year, but something radical also happened that may be shocking for some readers. If you faint easily or are prone to fits of dyspepsia, you may want to turn around now and look for a nice relaxing column about politics.
There was plenty on the social calendar this Christmas, but there were also multi-hour blocks of time with nothing scheduled. Throw in the sensation of not having to go to work for a few days and these blocks of nothing morphed into something I once heard described as “relaxation”.
Most people I know are busier than Joy Behar’s plastic surgeon, so it was a revelation to feel the ol’ brain unclinch. By the time I get back to work, I’m sure I will have forgotten every computer password and quite possibly my own name, but it will have been worth it.
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This window of relaxation wasn’t spent simply staring at the floor. I took a few minutes to finalize a project that’s been in a constant stop/start pattern thanks to Covid. I read a few chapters of a book that’s been sitting unread on my shelf for over a year. A musician buddy and I sat and listened to the new Galaxy Electric album all the way through, just like in olden times. I even introduced the Tax Deductions to the storytelling genius of Jerry Clower.
“I flew from Los Angeles to North Dakota where it was 28 degrees below zero,” Clower’s voice announced from the spinning record. “It was so cold I slept between the mattresses.”
Even the Tax Deductions benefited from the downtime. They both received yoga mats for Christmas, and by the afternoon of the 25th, they’d already grown tired of me asking them why they needed a special mat to eat yogurt on.
“How does the yogurt mat work?” I asked. “Is yogurt so messy you need a four-foot mat to protect the furniture? Do they make mats for fried chicken? Then you’d have something.”
When I wasn’t aggravating them, the Tax Deductions went around the house with a can of WD-40 spraying any doors or hinges that squeaked. This was a revelation for TD#2.
“It makes all the doors quiet,” TD#2 said in a sinister whisper. “Now I can go outside and no one will know!”
While I was on Google searching for ways to reactivate squeaks in recently lubricated hinges, my phone dinged. My sister sent a photo of my nephew Brennan shooting up a gingerbread house with a BB gun:
Before anyone from the powerful gingerbread lobby starts picketing our offices or pelting our staff with gumdrops, please note that Brennan built the structure himself. He’s shown interest in demolition as a career, and everyone has to start somewhere.
During the holiday season, certain bits of family lore always reappear. A classic that bubbles up every year is the time my great-grandma Stallings (who was a little hard of hearing) gave all the women in the family underwear for Christmas. While the women were holding up their new drawers for everyone to see, grandma belted out, “ARE THEY BIG ENOUGH?”.
Speaking of my great-grandparents, great-grandaddy Stallings was blind for most of the years I knew him. Even though he couldn’t see, he was able to get around the house and his yard on his own. He was still able to collect eggs from the henhouse well into his 80s. Whenever a hen would stop producing eggs, he’d leave an old golf ball in its nest, which never failed to inspire a greater output.
The holidays are over and the world has cranked back up. Eggs are currently $7 a dozen and those golfball omelets take forever to cook. I have a dental appointment in a few weeks, and I can hardly wait for my hygenist to say, “yep, that’s a Titleist”.
Jon Dawson’s books are available at www.JonDawson.com.
The entire archive of shows can be found at www.BryanHanks.com.
The Bryan Hanks Show airs on 960-AM in Kinston and 960TheBull.com daily at 7 a.m. & 3 p.m. It also airs on the suite of 252ESPN.com stations in New Bern and Greenville (107.5-FM) at 6 p.m.