2019 Skelly Family Christmas
In spite of it all it's Christmas Day

He hadn't stopped Christmas from coming! It came! Somehow or other, it came just the same!

Nowhere is the insistent push of time more palpably felt than in the steady onslaught of Christmas Day. Is anyone ever really ready? And what do the few, those lucky few, do with the, what? last few hours they got themselves ahead? Just sit there waiting? Drumming their fingers on the table?

In those halcyon days of youth the wait felt interminable. The clock seemed to barely move. And then suddenly you're middle-aged, sinking under the ponderous weight of unfulfilled expectations, time is now flying by and here you're crushed under the pressures of stores about to close or out of stock, ofy a growing list of provisions still to be bought, and of chores back at home waiting impatiently to be done before you can even think of collapsing into that too short winter's nap in the night before the cruel dawn of Christmas Day.

And if you fall short, even in small ways, there's absolutely nothing you can do to rectify your shortcomings in the next 24 hours short of lying glibly and repeatedly through your teeth.

Actually for all the angst and pre-partem depression generally associated with the holiday, it was a very nice Christmas. At this stage of our lives the race to the presents starts fairly comfortably around 10:30 am, followed by a traditional family brunch of eggs benedict and mimosas. (No crutch in the corner but an empty chair this Christmas. A wheelchair in the garage.) And then a hasty 40-minute drive down to the gulf and Sarah's house for Christmas dinner, arriving unfashionably late but forgiven.

The second such drive in two days for John and JJ. The first, a quick visit early-ish on Christmas Eve morning to exchange packages delivered to each others' houses to safeguard the contents from prying eyes. (You're never too old to try and sneak a peek.) Sarah and Derrick were coming up to Milton for Christmas Eve dinner anyway, but this way there was time to wrap everything before dinner.

And an exciitng trip it became, involving an unexpected high-speed police chase ending with taut nerves and drawn guns on the road five or six cars in front of us. Even included a fleeting sojourn southboud in a northbound lane before sliding back to us across the median strip. And of course we had to wait on the highway to let the drama fully play itself out. About the only kind of traffic backups we have down here.

This year's Christmas Song Selection
"Christmas All Over Again"
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers introduced this original Christmas song on "A Very Special Christmas 2" (1992), the second in a series of Christmas-themed compilation albums produced to benefit the Special Olympics. The band performed it at the White House in 2000 for a "Very Special Christmas" TV special. It was featured in the movies Home Alone 2: Lost In New York (1992) and Jingle All The Way (1996), but was never released as a single.
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Back home in Milton around 10:30 pm, a little worn out. Either we were having too good a time, were a little too tipsy or just too distracted to realize that nobody bothered to shoot photos of beings that weren't dogs, so the Christmas Day photo offering is a little smaller than in years past. (Dogs now outnumber people in the Benton household.)

By way of compensation some leftover lunchable pictures from the day after. Will include a shot of Sarah and Derrick decked out for their Roaring 20s New Year's Eve party when that time arrives.

Included one off Maddie just to give her species equal time. She lost her remaining "brother," Cameron, this year (July 2000-March 2019). Both of our California bookends are now gone.

What with their loss and June's and finding herself in a strange new house in the middle of God knows where, she's a little rattled. Seriously. She's grown quite insecure and doesn't like to be left alone. She seems to not want to lose anyone or anything more.

All in all, a tough year all around, but we're still here, and we'll see it through. Bent but not bowed. Merry Christmas to you and yours! From the Skellys who still know how to party.

2018 Index:
Dec. 10-3.35   Dec. 15-3.81   Dec. 20-3.72   Dec. 25-3.59

2019 Index:
Dec. 10-3.39   Dec. 15-3.48   Dec. 20-3.74   Year End-3.41

Season Stats ...

2019 Christmas Spirit breakdown:

A cautious start. Very even distribution. Consumer confidence in the economy has been a little cautious as well since Oct. But just like with GDP, it's still a good number if not a great one. It may just be people are shy, waiting to see what's going to happen. They can't be happy unless you're happy too.

The shyness seems to have abated. A pretty good head of steam. People are feeling it this year.

Hmm, cooled off a little. Joy to the World in slight decline; Bah Humbug in a mild uptick. Other categories treading water. Are the bears breaking through? What does this mean for tomorrow's stock market?

A little late season lassitude, for the second year in a row. Guess people weren't feeling it so much after all. Funny, the stock market is on a tear. Don't you people invest?

Unusual to inject another observation at this point. Evidently some people took umbrage at being characterized as "lassitudinous" and have engaged in what, if memory serves, must be termed an unprecedented spate of post-Christmas Day votecasting on the Index. It's only closed over 4 on five occasions in its 10-year existence and rarely moves after the holiday arrives.

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