We are on day 230 of 15 days to slow the spread.
My son and I took a trip last weekend, roughly back to 1983.
Yesterday was a holiday for me. The Virginia General Assembly finally defeated the Confederacy and changed our state Lee-Jackson Day holiday to an Election Day holiday. I’m okay with the change, but I’ll miss what was my four-day weekend in January.
I won’t have time to travel between now and mid-January, in fact. breathing will be a challenge, so I decided to add a day of annual leave and drive to Southwest Virginia to see my Mother. The offspring isn’t working, so I brought him along.
Because I’ve spent the last month working weekends as an evil puppet master, and because I need to be
getting into the Christmas spirit, I warned my son that I’d be cranking the holiday music.
I broke my own rules that say we usually save the Christmas music for the trip home from Thanksgiving.
In the car, I tuned Pandora to the Peter Hollens holiday channel. If you don’t know Peter Hollens he’s an amazing vocalist who does videos where he often doubles, triples and exponentially multiplies his own voice. Check him out.
The first song up was Believe which was featured in The Polar Express.
Suddenly there in the car, I had all the feels.
All the November feels.
For the past two seasons, I’ve been Santa in Tinker’s Toy Factory at Kings Dominion’s Winterfest. Believe is sung by Tinker at the pivotal point of the show when he begins to get his Christmas spirit back thus enabling Santa’s sleigh to fly.
Six weeks. Five nights a week, I stood in the wings as Tinker sang waiting for my entrance.
Then there were the countless times that the Josh Groban version played over the park sound system.
I’m missing all of that this year. And I’m missing my elves.
Instead of giving me the warm fuzzies, the music was making me a little melancholy.
I started thinking about the countless times I’d made this trip home in November. Usually for Thanksgiving, but back when I was still working campaigns, there were multiple trips home from job hunting trips in November and December.
Then there were the times that I got the call. You know the call that I’m talking about. when you have to make that trip home.
I’ve made that trip home on far too many occasions.
Not only that, but I’m getting closer and closer to the time when someone will be making that trip for me. Not that I’m planning that any time soon, but it’s a lot closer than it used to be.
As I crested a hill in Lynchburg, I was heartened by the sight of the mountains. Growing up, I never really appreciated the mountains as much as I should have. I still prefer the beach. If you read here often, as you should, you probably know that.
We were a bit late for the best of the color, but still I was coming home. Coming back to a place where the memories start flooding in. A place that is and isn’t the place where I grew up. Most of the family is gone. No one lives in the same house any more.
As we hit the edge of my hometown we drive by the high school, and I know that I’m home.
I look up at my mountain, yeah, part of it has the family name on it, and I know that I’m home.
I let the Christmas channel play the whole way home, about a four-hour trip. I began to wonder if two months from now, I’ll be anxious for some Mardi Gras Jazz.
For now, I’m thankful for the November feels.
All of them.