Back in the Saddle

Well…….I am “back in the saddle again”!!!  For all of you post baby-boomers….this  phrase was from the signature song of American cowboy entertainer, Gene Autry, who not only had his own TV show in the early 50’s, but is also famous for writing “Here Comes Santa Claus”, Frosty the Snowman”, and Rudolph, the Red- Nosed Reindeer”.   Ahhhhh…….the wealth of information that is dispensed via my “diary”…….keeps one coming back for more and more!!! Bahahhahaha!

Well, I suppose you are all wondering why I was “out of the saddle”.   Mostly, it has to do with my family’s penchant for sharing everything, including nasty flu germs.  I don’t mind having to share an occasional head cold as the price for spending lots of time with the grandchildren, but I prefer to draw the line at strep throat, a 4 day fever/cough/congestion, the Type A and Type B flu (please tell me there is not a Type C !!) and a 24 hour stomach virus!!!  All of these descended upon the family the week before and during and after Thanksgiving… we are well-known for our rather bizarre paranoia of any and all illnesses, but the truth of it is, that it didn’t seem to matter how diligently we tried to “isolate” the “pariahs” among us…..most of us eventually fell victim to at least one bug.  Homes have now been re-sanitized and meticulous hand washing methods have been reinforced :)…….soooooo bring on the holidays………we are ready to celebrate the season!

Eight days later:

I interrupt this post to bring news that since I began writing (I am rather not in to “finishing” tasks these days!) eight days ago, the family has had four more unfortunate members come down with the flu…….it really doesn’t matter which one anymore, but we are now thinking that perhaps an exorcism might be in order!!

Okay, enough sick talk……..I will proceed to call upon my feeble memory to find what lurks there in the dark, dangerous recesses of my diminishing brain cells for some entertaining moments of the past five weeks.  Well, first of all you have to hear what my dear youngest sister, Christine did the other day!!!!  Ooooo….. this story is just so rich………….. I absolutely love, love, love it and mostly because she just happens to have had a birthday and is fifteen years younger than me!!  I began texting her (mine is the green) after I happened upon the Charlie Brown Christmas special which most of my family knows is one of my least favorite of all times……I find most of the Charlie Brown specials rather depressing………I blame it on the jazzy music (can’t stand jazz or the saxophone music of Kenny G!!):

IMG_1592 IMG_1593 IMG_1600 IMG_1594 IMG_1596

And, the Christine “bloopers” got even better.   The next day she called me from Costco’s in a bit of a quandary about what meat selection she should purchase for the Clark family Christmas day gathering.  She was deciding on a ham, but questioned whether she should buy the bone-in or the boneless.  Then the topic switched over to Christmas Eve dinner and Costco’s choices of  roast beef, etc. and so I would guess that it was the combination of the changing of topics, and, the fact that she called upon the “pot of boiling water” cook in the family (for that choice alone, her sanity should be in question!) that this would not end well for the “aging” Christine!!  LOL Here then is her text to me:

IMG_1599How Mom must be smiling now………a couple of us were just recently reminiscing about how in the world Mom ever got ready for Christmas, especially after the births of Christine and Tommy #’s 10 and 11 who were born respectively, on the 15th and 17th of December.  Is it any wonder presents were occasionally misplaced or that she was still writing out Christmas cards in the corner of the living room on the 26th of December???  Who did the grocery and Christmas shopping, the laundry, the ironing (yes, she still ironed clothes in the 60’s), the wrapping, the cleaning, the cooking, the baking?????  Even as a teen-ager, I don’t recall ever being aware of how stressed she must have felt because I don’t remember ever hearing her complain…………she and Crick were so alike in that regard, handling all of life’s ups and downs with a smile in their heart.  They both drank from the glass half-full, and woke up happy they were “able to put two feet on the floor”!  How greatly they both are missed!

Pay no attention to the tree behind us....actually, this may have been the year of 3 scrawny Christmas trees..why tinsel was necessary!!  LOL
Pay no attention to the tree behind us….actually, this may have been the year of 3 scrawny Christmas trees..why tinsel was necessary!! LOL
Kathy and Jo heading back to the "Safe House"!!
Kathy and Jo heading back to the “Safe House”!!
A few of the "Pariahs"!!!
A few of the “Pariahs”!!!

Well, if I am ever going to get this blog posted in the month of December, I am going to have to step up the pace and gloss over many of the family activities of the past six weeks. For example……the Thanksgiving Day dinner that became a mini catastrophe due to 13 of us becoming carriers of germs that no one wanted and so our original group of 26 dwindled by half at almost the last hour.  Therefore, the turkey and all of its fixings were ever so cautiously exchanged with Bobby, Jo and Tom, Kathy and Bob and their families with a hope and a prayer that it was only the food that was shared and nothing more sinister!!  I will only briefly mention here the fire in the oven as Jennifer and I were checking on the potatoes.  As I have no oven mitts or pot holders (after all I do have a plaque in my kitchen that reads: Kitchen for Display Only!) we were using a kitchen towel to move one of the casserole dishes which then came in contact with the burner on the floor of the oven and quickly caught fire!!  Jennifer pulled a “Mary Margaret” and yelled out “What do we do, what do we do?” while I unthinkingly grabbed for another nearby dish towel and beat the fire to death!!  Where was the firefighter son??  I believe he was in the living room watching football!

Jo and I watching the BB Buckeyes
Jo and I watching the BB Buckeyes
Jo & I watching the BB Buckeyes
The “Adult” (a.ka. old folks) Gag Gift Christmas Party 2014

Between Thanksgiving and now, the Clark and Schultheis extended families have been busy (besides passing around various flu germs) celebrating birthdays (just to name them all would add another thousand words to this blog!!), celebrating engagements (congrats to Erin and Casey), attending bridal showers (congrats to Sean and Emily who will be married on New Years Eve), attending Christmas pageants and concerts,  OSU basketball games, and always, always, always congregating to watch the younger offspring participate in any number of sporting or musical events.  But no matter how busy the families are nor how large our numbers grow………..we never, ever fail to gather during the holiday season to share chaos, laughter, love, joy, hope and the memories of all of those past Christmases, and the family members who now remain with us only in spirit.

A few of the almost 100 Schultheis clan who welcomed Santa as an honored guest!!
A few of the 90 Schultheis clan who welcomed Santa as an honored guest!!

As we all finish our preparations for the holiday, I would like to share a thought from a homily which was given a few weeks ago during our Sunday Mass.  This particular sermon touched on a matter that I had never contemplated before and its message has continued to intrigue me.  The congregation was asked to consider the fact that each and every one of us, in our own moment in time and beginning thousands of years ago, was called into existence by our Creator.  We know from Sacred Scripture that there will come a day when this earth shall pass away.  And so, we were asked to ponder the fact that once that day arrives, there will be no other human being created, for there will be no earth to inhabit.  How blessed are we then, no matter what our present circumstances, that you and I have been uniquely and lovingly thought of, and created, for the glories of heaven……..for all eternity.

I speak to you from the depths of eternity.  Before the world was formed, I AM!  You hear Me in the depths of your being, where I have taken up residence.  I am Christ in you, the hope of Glory.  I, your Lord and Savior, am alive within you.  Learn to tune in to My living Presence by seeking Me in silence.

As you celebrate the wonder of My birth in Bethlehem, celebrate also your rebirth into eternal life.  This everlasting gift was the sole purpose of My entering your sin-stained world.  Receive My gift with awe and humility.  Take time to explore the vast dimensions of My Love.  Allow thankfulness to flow freely from your heart in response to My glorious gift.  Let My Peace rule in your heart and be thankful.                                                From Jesus Calling

Lord, you have been our refuge through all generations.  Before the mountains were born, the earth and the world brought forth, from eternity to eternity you are God…….A thousand years in your eyes are merely a day gone by.”                                                                            Psalm 90:1-2, 4

Christmas is indeed a wondrous season, an opportunity to remember all the ways that God has touched our lives and our world.  I will close with just a very short video of seven of the grandchildren who at the request of, and through the generosity of my employers…..Drs. Ira and Lori…..presented a “random act of Christmas kindness” to several Target shoppers.

Wishing everyone a peaceful and blessed Christmas.