Sunday, December 27, 2009

So Much for the Happiest Season of All

Christmas has always been one of my favorite times of the year. I loved how, generally, the world was blanketed in white, drowning out all the drab colors brought on by the cold, and also the drowning out of all the noise. It's peaceful. I also always loved all the twinkling lights on display, no matter if they were carefully designed or just thrown up pell-mell, I loved all of it.

I also liked the general feeling of good cheer and peace that seems to permeate everyone which I always liked to believe was brought on by the rumination over the Birth of the Savior Jesus Christ over 2,000 years ago. That maybe, those who claim to have nothing to do with God or religion, actually take a moment to realize what the Season, and really life is all about.

Christmas has always been going to Temple Square to see the light displays and the beautiful life-size Nativity, having the Slack Family Christmas Party, going to my brother Paul's house on Christmas Eve to celebrate with his in-laws and then having a HUGE Christmas breakfast at my parent's house Christmas morning consisting of sausage casserole, abelskievers (spherical pancakes), and bacon, and orange juice, unwrapping presents and having the thrill of seeing someone who I bought a gift for unwrap it, and then laying around all day and maybe going to a movie that evening. It's also been going to church and hearing the choirs sing and then having the testimonies borne of the Savior's birth. It's just been great.

This year seemed like Christmas never even happened. Because of my new schedule at my job that I detest, I haven't been to Church in over four months. I haven't had any semblance of feeling any of God's love because I get to hear morons day in and day out complaining about their bills, their service or what have you, and tell me how horrible the company is that I work for. I also had to work not only Christmas Eve, but on Christmas Day!!! What in the hell is wrong with people??!! Granted, I only had to work four hours, but just working one minute on Christmas is a travesty. And that four hours came right at the time Christmas breakfast is meaning I missed out on most of breakfast and ALL of the gift opening.

Because I've been so depressed about my job I haven't felt like doing anything Christmasy. I never went to Temple Square, never went and saw all the lights, was pissed off because the lights I did hang on my own house looked terrible because of the way the new roof was put on. Granted, I did get to enjoy the Slack Family Christmas party and the party at Paul's house, but I just didn't seem as excited. I miss it.

So I'm saying this right now: I will NOT ever work on Christmas again...EVER!!! There is no reason for it! In fact, I will find employment that will be shut down Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and will not require me to be there on Sundays. I don't care what people say about church, how it's man made and boring and blah, blah, blah. It's what you make of it. That is where God wants you to be one day out of the week so that you can think on spiritual things with your fellow man instead of the constant crap going on day in and day out. True, I've complained about getting ready to go to Church, but once I'm there, with rare exception (I refer to the day crazy homeless guy got up in testimony meeting speaking of killing cats), I love it.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

My Grandpa Slack

"E Potz!!"

That is something my Grandpa Slack would often say just to be silly. I have been thinking of him often lately as I am currently in possession of his history that he wrote that comprises THREE 3-ring binders! Now, that is impressive even for long hand but keep in mind that my Grandpa typed on an old type-writer all the pages with the last binder holding pages with type on both sides!

The marvelous thing about Grandpa is that he hadn't always kept a journal. He began writing it while recovering from having his one lung removed in 1975. He had the most intricate and detailed memory his whole life and so it was quite easy for him to relate of his early boyhood, his meeting Grandma and starting a family and everything up to that point, after which he pretty much wrote two to three times a week until the month before his death. And it was fitting that the last entry in his journal was about the night of his and Grandma's 50th Anniversary Celebration, which was a good time had by all.

Grandpa didn't provide many details as far as feelings and that goes, however he went into intricate detail when describing his massive garden that was envied by all the neighbors and whenever he built something he described the exact length and precise size of nails or screws he used. But when he did describe his feelings they were sweet. Almost every wedding anniversary, he would always say if he had to do it all over again he would've chosen the same sweet beautiful woman. He also always went on about how much he loved his children. And I don't know if it's because she's my mother, but it seemed he always described how Beverly brought sunshine into any room she was in and how she made him so happy. Other times that would elicit feelings from him were when he would describe the symphonies and concertos that he loved to listen to. He played the French Horn in the BYU orchestra, which is where he met my Grandma (she played violin), and most of his entries about when he would listen to music on his massive record collection or when he would see a relative playing an instrument would thrill him to tears.

Also in reading his journal, I've realized just how spiritually great he was too. It was so wonderful reading of how when he was being introduced to give a talk one Sunday in the last years of his life, the person introducing him said, "Brother Slack keeps all of the commandments." I have never heard a truer statement. I never heard, nor read, of my Grandpa speaking ill of anyone, even if they hadn't treated him well at all, he never swore, and he always had that glow of someone great, a glow you could only have by following in the Lord's footsteps.

Grandpa also had a quirky sense of humor which I briefly mentioned at the first, but he was always up for a good natured laugh. I believe it was the day before his death, my mom and my brother, Paul, and my aunt Carol were visiting him at home and he was telling us about how he and his brother Lawrence had this language they made up. He would speak it and it was hysterical.

All of this has reminded me of how much I have been blessed with to have been related to him and only hope that I can be remembered as fondly when my time comes. I have taken a page from my Grandpa (and not his journal's) and have kept a journal off and on over the years since I was 13. I hope that my progenitors get as much a great feeling reading those as I have had reading his.