One night years ago, when there were such things as open tickets on airlines and one did not have to establish identity to get through security, my wife and I left $900 worth of tickets on the back seat of a cab from O’Hare Airport to our home. It was two a.m., we were tired from crossing time zones, and we were careless.
When I was young I spent two summers “icing” refrigerated cars on Burlington trains. We shuttled, shirtless, atop railroad cars under the Sioux City sun to the 16-degree ice-making room, from which we dragged out 300-pound cakes of ice. Our Heil truck took the ice and us to the edge of bunkers, where we piked or smashed the cakes.
New hymnals, a.k.a. “Worship Books,” are forthcoming from numerous church bodies, including two Lutheran groups (among them my own ELCA). Having studied none of these books, I write with vincible ignorance about the details. Having studied church history, however, I write with invincible knowledge of how all of them will be greeted in some sectors of each church group. Those old enough to have savaged the books being replaced will now mourn their loss, just as they will—if they live long enough—grieve over the shelving of the ones they are now trashing.
The verb regift was not in my vocabulary until this season, but now I see it leaping out from a sheaf of magazine covers. Webster’s newest edition includes regift: “to give as a gift something one previously received as a gift.
We have relegated to the “remember when” columns all resistance to the updating of Thanksgiving Day to lengthen time for Christmas shopping. This year it was a September Saturday when the first school boy (“Earn $50 this easy way!”) came to our door to sell us greeting cards. Now, finally, almost anachronistically, Advent announces itself as the beginning of preparation for the Nativity.