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Hawthorn Hill

January 2, 2014

Wondering if Holidays are worth the stress

(Continued)

There are a few things that will haul me abruptly out of the deepest of sleeps. The upstairs bathroom is right over our bedroom. If someone has the gall to flush the toilet late at night it sounds as if Niagara Falls has paid a visit. That does not bother me so much. If that were all I could head back into dreamland within seconds. No, I lie there until I am certain the toilet tank has filled and is off. Every once in a while I sneak upstairs just to satisfy myself that the water has indeed turned off. When it is just the two of us around here only the most unusual night noises will wake me up. I suspect that the irrational demons that harbor within me take great pleasure in expecting the worst. I would like to think that I am no more or less demon driven than the average person. At times I wonder.

Were it not for Sandy stockings would never be full and presents would most likely be gift certificates. I do, however, muddle a bit over one thing. It has become a tradition for me to give everyone a book. Sandy takes care of the rest. I used to worry that few if any of the books I gave would be read. Not any more. It is not worth it. Is it not the gesture that counts? I look at my own book notes, check out some lists of notable books of the year that I track, and make my choices. Truth is I enjoy giving books. Even more, I love getting them. I have made it clear a book will suffice for any gift-giving occasion. The level of stress I experience during the book selection process pales before the many holiday exigencies that Sandy deals with.

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Hawthorn Hill
  • A farewell essay More years ago than I care to contemplate, I very sheepishly sent a column in fully expecting it would be rejected. Lo and behold, it appeared shortly thereafter and for almost twenty years now I have have written these bi-weekly columns, first under the heading of "The Timely Writer" for The Freemans Journal and, for the last several years as "Up on Hawthorn Hill" with the Cooperstown Crier.

    July 17, 2014

  • Writing in the age of ad hominisms This past week several readers of these columns have asked about my absence of late. The honest answer is that there are times when the well runs a bit dry and one’s enthusiasm for forcing words on to the page wanes.

    June 26, 2014

  • Robinson novels show grace, intelligence I have been reading the novels of Marilynne Robinson the past several weeks. She writes with such grace and intelligence that I find myself rereading sections several times over to savor their exquisite taste and, in some instances, to make sure I have grasped the meaning of what she has written.

    May 1, 2014

  • Giving aid to Cornell at my window For quite a few years now I have participated in Cornell's Project Feeder Watch.

    April 10, 2014

  • Birder admits he confuses non-birding world I often run into people who ask me what it is about watching and studying birds that birders like me find so appealing.

    March 20, 2014

  • Olympics spirit in need of repair It is time to rethink what the Olympics ought to be about.

    February 27, 2014

  • Late night drive stirs morning man It has been a long time since my last stint at the wheel in the wee hours of the morning. Several days ago the phone rang at 1 a.m. Never a good sign. Within minutes I was in the car heading for Boston. The sun and I got there at about the same time. Fortunately, the late night emergency that required the trip has resolved itself, all is well, and I was able to head back home the following day.

    February 13, 2014

  • Shopping is never fun, simple I am not a shopper. Quick ins and outs are what appeal to me. The sooner the ordeal is over the better.

    January 16, 2014

  • Wondering if Holidays are worth the stress

    January 2, 2014

  • Laziness must be overcome An essayist in a weekly magazine, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, characterizes the past year as exhibiting an uncommon penchant for laziness.

    December 19, 2013