Our family was recently driving back from a little weekend getaway. The kids were in the back seat, asleep at the same time for possibly the only portion of the multi-hour ride home, when Meg looked over from her magazine to the radio and read the song title currently playing on40s Junction, the 1940s Station – “In a Shanty in Old Shanty Town.”
She went back to reading her magazine when, a moment later the words that came out of my mouth were “I forgot Edward Hermann passed away.”
Accustomed to her husband being a weirdo, she took what seemed like a random response in stride, and even humored me when I explained the flow of logic that got me there in a split second that, in my mind, seemed like much longer.
“In a Shanty in old Shanty Town.”
She had read the word shanty town. Which made me think of Hoovervilles (the shanty towns built by homeless people) in the Great Depression, which made me think of Little Orphan Annie, which made me think of FDR. Who has played FDR more than anyone else, including in Little Orphan Annie – Edward Hermann. Edward Hermann was on Gilmore Girls. I liked him on Gilmore Girls. Netflix is making new Gilmore Girls movies. I wonder what they would’ve been like if Edward Hermann were still around. That’s right, Edward Hermann isn’t around anymore. I really liked his work. That makes me said.
“I forgot Edward Hermann passed away.”
Our brains can work in pretty weird ways, don’t they?
Like all good things, vacation too, must eventually come to an end.
I’ve had the pleasure of being on vacation for a little over a week from the day job, and I’ve been loving it. From that extra time to run an errand or two at all the places that are normally closed before I go into or get out of work each day, to working on long-dormant house projects, and of course, spending some extra time with the family, it has been wonderful.
It’s sort of become a bit of an unofficial tradition for me while on vacation not to shave unless I absolutely have to. Not for any particular reason, mind you. I’m not fond of having facial hair or anything. It’s just that it acts as a small reminder that I don’t HAVE to shave, that I can be scruffy without the worried need of having to cut off the whiskers before showing up to work.
I refer to it as my “beard of defiance.”
Naturally, that makes “the shaving” at the end of vacation a symbolic return to routine.
It was a good run, vacation and I.
I worked on this blog, I did some writing on other projects that I’ll eventually be shamelessly plugging on here, I’m sure. Between my wife and myself, we started Phase One of our long overdue bathroom renovation, which included seven coats of white paint to cover up the Crayola Brown (or Poop Brown) color that the previous owners slathered over the fine woodwork of the bathroom. We did some cleaning, some organizing, sorting through outfits the baby has outgrown these past few months (a more emotional process for us than I would have thought at first).
Best of all, though, I got to spend those times during the day laughing with my little boy, helping my wife around the house, or just plain kicking back, watching a classic film, or working on some creative projects that have been out of reach with the everyday workload. It’s been nice, and I will be sad to see it leave my life on such a full-time basis.
However, if vacation does anything, it generates a sense of rejuvenation, reminding us of what is important in our lives, why we do what we do, and what our goals ultimately are.
Yes, I’ll return to work today and I will do my best to make it a bright, clean slate. To not let the Negative Nellies that make it their routine to criticize and pick everything apart get to me, to be a little nicer whether they deserve it or not, to treat every day with a little more sunny of an outlook, and remember that just like vacation, everything in life is temporary and to enjoy every moment of it while we can, whether it be a week at a time, an evening after work at a time, or those few moments in between.
Because, while we may shave off the whiskers of the vacation beard, you know sooner or later they will be back. 🙂