“Touricide” and a brief message to the transient population

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It has already begun and the long weekend is still days away.  The simple act of easily turning left onto any of our local roads is a shadowed memory of its former self.  They have descended upon us and the seemingly mundane tasks we used to perform with ease now require an expletive filter and a great deal of patience (or high blood pressure pills) (or both).

Almost three years ago, I wrote this post about the tourist season in our small town.  It was that post that sparked some interesting conversation about these wayward travelers and also got me Freshly Pressed.  To those not ensconced in the WordPress blogging world, being Freshly Pressed was a nice pat on the back.  We were recognized for writing something interesting that would encourage a discussion.  And that it did…..on many levels.

I will preface the words that follow by reminding you that I work in the hospitality and tourism industry.  My job is to serve people and I truly enjoy it.  Our lodge guests have slowly become like friends and family and it is a pleasure to go to work.  But the myriad of other temporary inhabitants of our little village are a like a box of chocolates and, as Forrest Gump so eloquently put it, you never know what you’re gonna get.   I realize that these summer vacationers are the bread to our butter, the wind beneath our small town wings, but, as each year rolls into the next, the level of courtesy and manners shown by a substantial percentage of these visitors leaves much to be desired.

courtroom

(image credit)

The act of “Touricide” has crossed my mind at many points throughout our busy seasons.  I’m sure if the facts of my potential case were presented to a jury of my peers the charges against me would be dropped and the crime would be ruled as justifiable.

I don’t mind that our population explodes exponentially in the summer months.  I plan accordingly knowing my routine tasks will take much longer because the lines have quadrupled in length.  I leave my house much earlier to deal with the sudden onset of traffic in a town where six cars on the road in the spring is considered gridlock.

What I cannot tolerate is the arrogant attitude of so many of these visitors, thinking we live in this town only to serve them in the summer.  You have entered our home.  We have greeted you with courtesy and respect and all we ask in return is the same level of civility.  We will bend over backwards to meet your needs and we ask so little of you.  Smile.  Say thank you, and mean it.  Take a moment to appreciate that you are on vacation and relax.  Things may not get done at city speed but they will get done and we will make sure they get done properly and that they meet or exceed your expectations.

I wish everyone celebrating the long weekend a safe and happy holiday.  Take the time to smile and say hello to a stranger.  Perhaps all they need is a little small town warmth to melt that cold city shell.

A Heavenly Wish on Mother’s Day

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Big brother 2

She birthed me and swaddled me,

she showered me with love.

Her arms always embraced me,

they fit me like a glove.

Her words were the only ones,

that could help to heal my scars.

Hers was the only light,

that would comfort me in the dark.

She woke me up to play with me,

she laughed at all my jokes.

She sang with me to old musicals,

although she couldn’t hold the notes.

Her faith in my abilities,

has stood the test of time.

She’s the portrait of what a mother should be,

and I’m glad that she is mine.

So, here’s to you, mom, on this special day,

my love for you has no end.

You are my giver of life, my confidant,

and will always be my best friend.

And though my wishes are sent further today,

into a world I am unable to touch.

I know you hear my words of love

and they will forever mean just as much.

A big ol’ bowl of Christmas

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There are many Christmas traditions I miss – those familiar happenings that only my dad could have created.  He was the biggest kid when it came to Christmas.  He would bravely face the busiest malls leading up to the holidays and no expense was spared. Our tree overflowed with gifts,  the food and drink were abundant and the festivities began bright and early each year with a barrage of Beach Boys music at 6:00 am on that merry morning.  And in the subsequent years, long after I had moved out of the house, that music still sounded when he called me at that same hour to make sure I was up and getting ready to head over.  (side note:  I took a break after writing this paragraph to surf Facebook and one of the videos I turned on was Beach Boys music – got the message loud and clear Dad!)

Our Christmas dinners were much-anticipated.  The turkey was always perfect, the mashed potatoes and gravy were unrivaled and nobody made stuffing like my mom.  We were always thankful for copious amount of food because that meant turkey sandwiches, Turkey Tetrazzini and, of course, my dad’s famous Turkey soup.

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It took me years to figure out why his soup was so good.  I’ve known lots of homes that had the stock simmering and the soup ready the next day but none of those creations even held a candle to my dad’s soup.  It wasn’t until I paid faithful attention that I realized his closely guarded secret when it came to his ingredients.

Each holiday celebration when we have a turkey, I happily pack up the leftovers to recreate dad’s soup and I am confident that my dad would be proud of the results.  When all is said and done, our turkey soup tastes just like Christmas dinner in a bowl.  It’s thick and it has all the components of a full turkey dinner.

I no longer call it Turkey Soup.  It is called Christmas soup, and for good reason.  It takes all the elements of our celebration from the carefully cooked bird, to all of the tasty side dishes, to the laughter at my nephew pointing out that his Under Armor Boxers were on backwards, and simmers all of that magic together in a pot.  It is a soupcon of memories, a fragrant blend of cherished moments, tears and laughter that make up our holiday season.

This years’ Christmas soup is simmering on the stove as I type this blog entry and I’m sure my dad would be happy that his post-festivity creation lives on in the kitchen of our past, present and future holiday celebrations.

 

 

 

 

An answer with a question

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“You can keep asking.  I’m not going to tell you.”

She practically begged him, “I just want a hint.”

“I did not purchase a ring.”

Her shoulders deflated.

“I bought you a circle of gold.”

He knelt and handed her the box.

~~

microstories245

 

 

 

 

What I want for Christmas

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Dear Santa,

I hope this letter finds you well and feeling jolly for the upcoming week.

I have spent many hours considering what I would like for Christmas this year.  I do believe you will find my name on the nice list so I thought I would save you some time when it came to my gift.

santa's list

I want life experience for my gift this year.  I want to sit in a room with my family and laugh until we cry because the joke is something only we would understand.  I want my brother and I to share a toast to my parents and take a moment to remember my dad waking us up at 6:00 am by cranking the Beach Boys vinyl album and my mom inevitably leaving a price tag on at least one of our gifts and then finding the last hidden gift sometime in April.

I want to really watch my nephews this year as they tear open their mountain of presents.  It seems like only yesterday they had no real concept of what was happening and now I’m going to blink and they will be off to University and, soon after that, having Christmases of their own.

I want to embrace the friends I have and let them know how lucky I feel to be able to call them friends.  I want to take a quiet moment or two during the holidays and reflect on all of the wonderful things that happened to me throughout the course of the year.  And I want the words “I love you” to be a comfortable phrase that gets shared a lot, and not just during the holidays.

I know you are a busy man this time of year so I shall leave it at that.  I’ll be waving at you on Christmas Eve as we stand at the end of my brother’s driveway and watch you go by on the Fire Truck as have every year since I was seven.

Merry Christmas from Susan.