Giving the Mundane Its Beautiful Due

Eyegal said it in passing just as the Duke v. Bradley game was set to tip off last night. It was one of those comments designed not so much to inform as to query, and I recognized it as such. I was preoccupied with Duke point guard Kyrie Irving who was sitting out the game with a toe ailment and the effects that would have on my beloved Dukies’ offense to pay it much mind. But I suppose I paid it enough since I did answer back, and if that wasn’t enough, there’s always this blog post.

“We’re starting to get some Christmas cards,” she called out from the kitchen. Translation: Are you going to write a Christmas letter?

“Yeah, I noticed,” I replied, watching with concern as Kyrie hobbled near the Duke bench in street clothes and a walking boot, “but I’m not writing a Christmas letter this year.”

For those of you who may not have been on my A-list all these years, before the blog, there was the annual family Christmas letter. I cut my writing teeth on those little jewels. In fact, when I first started, I actually typed them on an old Underwood, just like Faulkner. When the final chapter of my life is written by somebody (anybody?), I’m sure they’ll be part of the archives, probably framed for visitors to pore over when they pilgrimage to my ancestral home to pay their respects and try to catch a whiff of my muse.

They were filled with newsy nuggets and the latest growth chart data and accomplishments of the Eyekids, mostly, with a smaller section near the end noting that the Eyeparents were “going with the flow” and aging gracefully but staying in tip-top physical condition nonetheless. I conveyed all this with my trademark dry, ironic, sometimes dark, humor for which I am known far and wide. My Christmas letters were high up on the holiday hierarchy, right up there with 4:00AM Black Friday shopping trips in subfreezing temperatures, a continuous loop of your Christmas favorites sung by the Chipmunks, and Cousin Eddie arriving for a long holiday visit and parking his RV in your front yard.

But now those kids are nearly all grown up, their trophies and certificates in boxes piled high on closet shelves. There’s not much that has happened to us over the past year or two that’s not readily discernible on the blog, Facebook or Twitter. So, why don’t I save my myself some postage and you some clutter and call it an day (or an era) on Christmas letters?

Here’s the scoop this year if you must know. All three boys are in college and trying to get a career as well as a clue. We help them as best we can, but there are some things that they’re going to have to figure out on their own. Hopefully, we’ve left them a decent enough foundation to build their lives on. They’re good, honest guys who love fair play and justice. They’re trying to navigate the tricky waters of young adulthood. Say a prayer or light a candle for them because they could use it and would appreciate it.

Eyegal has ditched her minivan and is driving a smaller “crossover” car, which, when you think about it, is symbolic of where we are in our lives.  Not actually “crossing over” for a while, hopefully, but still moving into new territory. She has her Pilates crew and their very special “energy drink” which they share like communion. She volunteers at the Community Free Clinic and substitute teaches (a lot) at a local private school. Everywhere we go these days, it seems, children call out her name and run up to her to give her a hug. She absolutely loves it.

Everywhere I go, most especially the local Walmart, I’m recognized and chased down by little old men in VFW hats (I’m simply no match for those motorized carts) who want me to adjust their glasses and listen to their laundry list of latest ocular ailments. They want to know if they can come see me soon and get some of this taken care of. I say, “Sure.” It’s tedious at times, I’ll admit, but I try to patiently listen and help them out as best I can and put myself in their shoes, which I will be soon enough. It’s not much of a legacy, being an Eyeguy, but it’ll probably have to do for now. Maybe forever.

So, if a Christmas letter was a blog post title, a Facebook status or a Tweet, I might simply borrow a phrase from one of my favorite writers, John Updike, since he said it about as well as anybody could.

“Giving the mundane its beautiful due.”

  1. Erica Henry

    Hello there.  My uncle, Carl Agee, told me to check out your site.  He said that you freelance on the side and might be interested in your site.  I freelance for two different content sites and write YA novels.  Just thought I’d stop by and say hi.

  2. Mike the Eyeguy

    Hello there, Erica. Your Uncle Carl is a fine man, never shy in sharing an opinion or a good story himself. If he were to finally enter the blogosphere, I fear it might explode from all his sparks.

    Pleased to “meet” you. You are welcome around these parts anytime. Best wishes to you in all your writing aspirations and projects.

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