The 4th Quarter – It Ain’t the Whiskey
Funny how the 4th quarter can be the end in so many ways…..the last piece of pie, the last quarter in a basketball game, and the last three months of the calendar year with three major holidays over three consecutive months. Halloween is the wake up call of the 4th quarter, and Thanksgiving is the alarm and then comes Christmas, just before New Years. Some people habitually refer to the 4th quarter with a downbeat mannerism or tone in their voice. The financial pressures of the infamous 4th quarter are off the charts and some people submit to such agony and the reality of their very own choices. Others whimper in childlike grunts and shrieks that may cause a head jerk and a smiling stare as we gaze at this revelation or paradox of a 70 year old man giggling like he was 4 years old. Reverie at its best as I indulge in music like the great album by Lionel Ritchie (Tuskegee) and all of the country stars including Darius Rucker, Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean, Shania Twain, Kenny Chesney, Kenny Rogers, Little Big Town and others.
However, as Thanksgiving ends, and the tempo quickens, and the malls increase in the density of ants running around purchasing stuff, and the streets are often heated with road rage, emotion, and self-indulgence begins to crescendo, there is a unique transition that happens a day or two just before Christmas with most of us. For some, it is an introspective time and it begins to reflect in the furrows of left over seedlings that have not, or will not sprout. We all miss our family members who have passed on and feel a certain loneliness which is often denied as kinetic energy sweeps by in this life cycle. Yet this is the small increment of dimensional time that taunts one’s deepest sensitivities, beneath most membranes where moisture may erupt. Merry Christmas to Sharon Kay Wilcox, Randy Wilcox, John C. Wilcox and Marion G. Wilcox and Andy-I miss you. Since Derek and Heidi could not attend this year, we dearly missed you also! And with some people during these holidays, there is the fear of facing the long awaited denial of the last Christmas, as they have a loved one facing the choices of the “end” or life on earth and or in this dimension.
All of a sudden the gates do not look like pearly gates! Perhaps we yearn for one more chance, one more dance, one more kiss, one more time. (Gary Allan song). And for most of us, it is a time of exciting fervor, when one begins to feel and understand how much we love our families and temporarily appreciate their “unique” individuality. Ohhhh, the comedy I could write about myself and my immediate family and the in-laws. Age and youth, all clothed in Christmas colored clothing, with words, mannerisms, etiquette, and habits of naked aliens. Then add champagne to those aliens’ idiosyncrasies, and you often have pure entertainment and a discordant symphony with crying and laughter all mixed together as counterpoint. I mean…..from old age people with drooling lips and strollers to the saggy pants of the novel brain sharing passionate ignorance, called youth……the exhorts that come out of all those orifices……OMG! Please do not break out the Hennessy or Hemingways Whiskey or steamed cabbage for God’s sake with this kind of generational diversity As Lady Antebellum says…..don’t want to walk down the Street of Shame! Whoooooeeeee!
At the Wilcox home it was a beautiful Christmas in many ways. My wife, Marlene, affectionately known as Mar Mar, just whips together the most fantastic Christmas dinner with so many dishes it is amazing, not unlike the Olympian she is in all she does. Her beautiful sister, Jeanee’ brought over a beautiful roast the day before so Mar Mar baked that to perfection and made the best creamy spicy horseradish with scalloped potatoes and a very unique organic bean dish. We also had our new wood chip barbeque (Traeger) fired up and the Hickory and Cherry chips aroma beckoning our taste buds and waiting for us to smoke, well…… something. My son Ryan and I felt all dressed up with the best barbeque money could buy and nowhere to go….nothing to cook or smoke. I was thinking…heck, cut up a potato or a tomato or something and let’s try this puppy out. Judy had sent us a honey baked ham that the UPS forgot to deliver, so I ran off to the grocery store and got some chicken and ham. After a glass of a gifted Pinot Noir, Ryan and I decided to smoke the ham so we had the smoker really smoking! Not sure how the neighbors liked the celebrity smoking all day…..but hey it is Christmas. So we served the smoked ham with the cherry pie filling and the roast with horseradish, lots of fresh vegetables, potatoes and homemade muffins with all kinds of desserts. It was a feast and lots of people brought dishes for 12 people resulting in a memorable time.
I always have to say the prayer over this blessed meal, and I try to include a special something for each person at the table, but my wife reminded me that it can become a novel so can I please do a short prayer this time. I felt like I might hurt someone’s feelings so I just rambled anyway for a few minutes to express our love and gratitude. Just a short novel. Hey, don’t back up, don’t back down, full throttle, wide open, the only way I know. (Thanks Jason Aldean) So rude to interrupt a prayer-so man do you ever have CONTROL and Power during prayer time and “most” heads bowed. However, for me it is funny, every time there is a serious prayer in church, I just have this crazy urge to jump up and scream some passionate, evangelical rhetoric and then stare at the crowd like all is cool as I just returned from the Water Tower with wise insights! It is not meant as disrespect but just corny entertainment in my conscious. May you forgive my incorrigible truant mentality? Like Tom Sawyer, I Just had this urge to blurt that out but what would be worse, is to hear my echo and to turn and see my funny red headed offspring, Wendy, duplicate it on the other side of the church as a wayward disciple. Please no….don’t go that far! Ohhh, the stream of consciousness is fun to share, or…..perhaps not. And yes, I often wonder about the un-irrigated soil of my soul and whether I should allow sun light to define the species of a weed or a flower therein.
After dinner we all gather at the Christmas tree and share gifts with each other. These are personal times and a way of saying thank you, I love you, and may I please be a memory someday for you, a vestige of loving smiles. Thank you for sharing your life with me and at times our joyous and tragic human narrative. The humility and gratitude of faith, hope and love as HE said. Simple and right on target, isn’t it. In these gift exchanging moments you often see the human character transition and it is a fascinating time that warrants sensitive discernment. Seeing Chad with his technology stuff and his Dr. Dre headphones he would wear on his 7:30am sojourn to Palm Springs Basketball Tournament the next day was a joy. We call him Swaggy C so at least now he has the 6’4” swag with matching headphones and shoes. The power trappings of youth with a compass needle pointed at the capital I, for indulgence, continues decade upon decade. But to be trite….it’s all good. Chill dude!
Sometimes a gift comes from a member who has been aloof, for 10-20 years and all of a sudden gives you a very sensitive gift that is a subtle reckoning and or a furtive glance. It is this moment in life that displays the spectacular words in full color, “patience and faith” as the soul evolves and becomes well posted as they say. Receiving such a gift reflects so deeply in the discrete and subtle gratitude of a smile, a nod, and a loving eye. That’s all……but all know! Who said you cannot see the SPIRIT that has become veiled with timeless decades of survival? Yes, Spirit does supersede! The gestures of gift giving and the innuendo are the crescendo in the 4th movement of a wonderful but subtle symphony and what a joy to sit in this dimension as a quiet appreciative spectator. It is often during this time I think of all the “gifts” and support I have received these past few years from so many friends. These so called “gifts” each have a special story that one day will be shared. Reciprocity is looming and my excitement for such is growing. Thank you all! Then on to the next rung on the ladder of life where joy and love have a great dance…..and hopefully this happens before you are in the 4th quarter of your life with SOMEONE. A family is such a gift indeed.
I also have a special place in my heart for the people who just cannot experience Christmas and I wish I could give them all sustainable presents in spirit or food. This year in Victorville with my loyal friend and master philanthropist, Tom Schibush, we did the Chips for Kids event. Robert Pine and Paul Linke were there also and I love and respect them so very much. We had a nice evening and we were able to collect and give out over 6000 Christmas gifts to kids this year. Thanks to the Girl Scouts, the CHP, and especially TOM for contributing to these young sparkling eyes hoping for a Christmas and a better world. Once we remove hope from their thinking process we have destroyed a human. I wish I could just hug them all and say come on……Come Over, Come Over, Come Over (Kenny Chesney). Yes the world can be so cold…..and we really do have to think of each other and their perspective instead of our defensive habit or rationales. As the song lyrics state, many times, I would much rather go somewhere with you where I would much rather be, right Kenny C? I go, I go, I go….cause sometimes when I close my eyes I am somewhere with you! Yep we all need that vision, that flame or flames of love and those experiences in this life cycle. I am so grateful for the many simple and complex gifts from all of you, some overt, some subtle!
Now, my Mar Mar is making me some healthy nutritional boost with the Nutribullet, so time to go drink that and get back to reality of denial and work. My wish for you all is that you remember and experience LOVE and how special it is. Many people allowed me to share their TIME and lives with them. Women, Men, children and special giving, loyal friends………thank you as I am deeply grateful. Your happy sparkling eyes and gifts are all so nourishing! My maker has been so kind to me. God bless faith, love and Music…..HUGS! As Lionel Ritchie sings….JUST FOR YOU, on the Country Tuskegee Album….I say it to you all. Remember, you may be surprised at how many young yearning hands are wishing someone would make them feel the gift had a signature, “ Just for You.” Thank you all!