Wind! It began blowing yesterday afternoon, Wednesday, and along with higher temperatures, windspeed has increased. With dry conditions and burning of cane fields in Mexico, the atmosphere is full of haze, dust, and smoke. As a result, we turned on the air conditioner, and stayed inside. Dust and ash are covering everything outside, and helps us understand, though ever so little, the emotional and physical havoc experienced by the dust bowl people. And, it reminded me of what we experienced everyday in Kuwait and Iran when I “visited” there in 2003. The dust-filled wind subsided somewhat Friday afternoon, and we enjoyed a bit of outdoors. We spent the better part of Saturday making preparations for our trip to central Arkansas and Memphis for Christmas with the kids and grandkids, and with 87° enjoyed some spa and pool time.
The Christmas holiday is a mixed bag for Kay and me. When I was growing up and even through my former married life, Christmas Eve was always the day we had a Dunn family (i.e. mom, dad, sister, brother, and their families) holiday meal, went to church services, and opened gifts. That tradition continued until my mother passed away in 2000. And in that former life, after spending Christmas Eve with my family, we would drive to North Little Rock to spend Christmas Day with my former in-laws. Consequently, I never had a Christmas at my home as an adult. Kay had similar, yet different experiences in her former life. Thankfully, after we married, Kay and I did not keep the Christmas traditions of our former lives. Nevertheless, with a blended family and 3 adult children spread over 3 cities in 2 states, it is difficult for us to grab time for Christmas for the two of us, to read the Christmas story, take time to reflect on the spirit of Christmas, have a good meal, and exchange gifts. Thus, we took a few minutes Saturday evening after getting packed for our travels north to have a good, but brief gift exchange. We really had a good time, and must make time available for ourselves in the future. Tomorrow, we drive almost 14 hours to cold weather and warm family.