Vaughn Hardacker here. Another year is almost gone and I’m staring my 68th Thanksgiving in the eye. I’ve never been a holiday type of guy (even less so now that my nuclear family has disintegrated) and for many years I’ve often wondered why people make such a big deal over them. My late wife loved them even though she worked herself into a state of exhaustion over them every year.
All that said. Since I lost Connie and most of my relatives have passed over to a better place or I have become isolated from them, I have started to look at the holidays differently. One factor that helps is I have many, many fewer people to provide for, the few who I am in touch with I have requested that they send no Christmas gifts and I will return the favor. What a stress reliever that is! It has taken the commercialism out of my holidays. I still don’t enjoy them, but at least I don’t get upset by ads in which every retailer in America tries to reach inside my wallet. I believe I lost Christmas spirit in 1973. I was a Marine stationed in Iwakuni, Japan. As Christmas came upon us all the Japanese stores were decorated with Santa Claus–now why would a Buddhist country that doesn’t observe Christian holidays do that? Simple, Japanese retailers don’t want to miss out on a good thing! Ask any one who works in retail what they think of the holidays–I worked in a big box store and we all hated and dreaded Black Friday (if you want to see a retailer invention look no further).
I remember my childhood. The Christmas season began on the day after Thanksgiving (not Labor Day as it does now), stores were closed on Sundays, and families spent those days together!
I now sit back and since I no longer have to run all over the place shopping for a bunch of stuff, which will in all probability be returned anyhow, have an environment that allows me to take time to reflect on the things I have to be thankful for:
This year’s list:
- Publication of my second novel, THE FISHERMAN.
- My third, THE BLACK ORCHID, under contract, edited, and sent to production for release on March 1, 2016.
- My companion, Jane, who has kept this surly old curmudgeon in balance this past year.
- I am, for the most part, healthy–at least healthier than most people my age.
- The terrific authors who have kept me entertained and enlightened.
- Readers! ‘Nuff said.
- The community of writers who were instrumental in getting me to where I am as a writer.
- Now that I’m retired, I can write whenever, wherever, and for whatever duration I want.
- Finally, I’m thankful to be closing in on the completion of the first draft of a novel I started in 1989. (At the rate I’m going, first draft in twenty-six years it should be ready to send to a publisher in 2037!)
Finally: I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving and find a few quiet minutes to reflect on how lucky we Americans are to live where we do.