Saturday, December 4, 2010

Musings on a birthday weekend

Tonight we went bowling, which is something we haven’t done in years. I won’t even tell you how many years ago, just that the last time I was in a bowling alley scores were kept manually by writing them on a score pad. I don’t know when computers entered the picture but they certainly made scoring a breeze tonight, since neither Trond nor I remembered how to keep score. We bowled two games and I have to say it was a lot of fun and that I want to do it more often. I actually managed two strikes and two spares, and started to remember how important it was to have the right bowling ball (weight and fit). We went to Solli bowling at Solli plass in Oslo to bowl and then ate pizza afterwards at Peppe’s pizza which is located right upstairs from the bowling alley. The restaurant was playing a lot of American Christmas music and for some reason that rounded out the evening. The entrance to the restaurant had a Christmas tree with gifts underneath it in the lobby. All of it started to get me in the mood for Christmas. A simple fun evening that was actually a perfect evening—a date night. We enjoyed ourselves. I realized that the fun times in life have nothing to do with how much money one spends. I knew this from before but it’s always nice to have it re-confirmed. Fun comes from just letting go of the cares and worries of life and work. It’s nice to relax that way. We need to do more of it. I realized too that I am blessed with good family and friends. I have mentally survived the difficulties of the past year because of them. I am truly grateful for them and I couldn’t imagine life without them.

Christmas is coming—the city is preparing for its arrival. There is the commercial aspect and then there are all the other small things that make Christmas special, such as the Christmas tree stands in different parts of the city. When we were driving to the bowling alley tonight we saw one of the stands being set up, and some trees were already standing upright waiting to be bought and welcomed into different homes. This makes Christmas special to me. Hearing Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra sing American Christmas carols and songs makes it special to me. Bing Crosby sang ‘I’ll Be Home for Christmas’. It struck me that it must have been a poignant WWII song. When we got home, I googled the song to learn about its history and sure enough, it was the most requested song at Christmas U.S.O. shows in both Europe and the Pacific during that era. I didn’t know this before because somehow it never seemed important before. Frank Sinatra also recorded this song. I always think of my mother when I hear either one of them sing. My mother loved the movie ‘White Christmas’ and that film starred Bing Crosby. I have since become quite a fan of many of their movies, especially some of the comedies that Frank Sinatra starred in. For the first time, I realized that we are now a long ways from WWII and that the generation of people who lived through it are very old now and many of them have passed on. It made me feel a sense of nostalgia but also an odd sense of myself in exactly this time--because I know that the progression of time moves us now toward 2041, one hundred years after the attack on Pearl Harbor. When I was a child in 1960, one hundred years previous was 1860 and somehow that seemed so long ago to me then. Now I wonder sometimes what the next twenty years will bring in terms of new inventions and technologies. It’s hard to imagine what they could be. Perhaps that is how people in 1911 felt about their future—how could they possibly have foreseen computers, automation, TVs, cell phones, and so many other things. It’s amazing what has happened. And when I see how my mind works—hopping from thinking about bowling when we were young to bowling now to Christmas songs and musings about the past and WWII, it surprises me that all of it is somehow interconnected in a very natural way. It feels like a patchwork life quilt of past, present and future, with all of the people and occurrences that make up that quilt. We are all part of the history happening around us. There is some comfort in that thought. 

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