This week begins the what I have come to think of as the lull before Christmas. Calm before the storm might be a more appropriate description.
Some 30,000 plus students attending Auburn University, or at least most of them, have finished their exams and either graduated or left for home. Many have jobs and will stay until Christmas weekend, but it is fair to say that most students have left Auburn.
What does that mean for me? Free downtown parking comes to mind. Less traffic is a big plus. It is much easier to get reservations at the best eateries in town. My long walks through campus are mostly isolated. The lines are shorter at Kroger and Publix, and most other places.
Many businesses around town, especially those that employ a fair of number of students, will have trouble being fully staffed. I should say, even more trouble that usual being fully staffed.
Despite the exodus of students, it remains the busiest time of the year. There is so much related to the holiday season in the community. Concerts, musicals at the theater, neighborhood get-togethers, and dinner with friends. Not to mention shopping for grandchildren and their parents, who are increasingly more difficult to shop for, even after all these years.
Throw in a few trips for the grands’ voice recitals, basketball games and soccer matches, and well, you get the idea. No complaints as we are doing things we love to do. I just would have thought that once your children were grown and you were empty nesters, there would be a lot less going on.
The weather has gotten colder after last week’s unseasonably warm weather. A little Christmas music with the chill in the air just puts you in the mood. Of course, that is what every retailer in town is counting on. Despite the move towards online shopping, December is still make or break time for most of the retail community, especially those local, shop-at-home folks.
I hear that Donalsonville now has music on the sidewalks downtown. What a great idea. Nothing gets people out of a grouchy mood quicker than a familiar holiday tune, especially at this time of year.
Dinner with friends tonight. A trip tomorrow to Dothan for grandkid’s activities. What grandparent would want to miss their grandson’s Christmas program at school? Or their granddaughter’s voice recital? Then on to an early birthday for Andrew, our youngest grandchild, who will turn three. Back to Auburn on Wednesday for a luncheon for Mary Lou, then a Christmas party that evening.
I will not continue, because we have all been there. Something to do every day. Not enough time for even a short nap. Sampling Christmas goodies everywhere you go, but no time to work out to keep the pounds away. Wait until next year, I guess.
I sometimes think how can we be so busy since we are both retired? Myth #1 about retirement: You will have plenty of time to do whatever you want. Maybe I just move slower and do not get as much done.
Soak up the chaos and do not let the endless errands and shopping get the best of you. The busiest time of the year can also be the happiest time of the year. After all, soon it will be Christmas Day.
Dan Ponder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org