My father fancies himself as a Christmas list connoisseur.
For the last few years, he's taken the time to hand write his list on a legal pad - even offering suggestions for where we can find the best deal. He then passes out copies of the list to everyone in the family, and there's always a note encouraging us to communicate to ensure no one buys duplicate gifts.
Pete's list is usually a hodge-podge of CDs and books - each reflecting some part of his diverse literary and musical interests. This year is no different. The books range from 1491: New Revelations of The Americas Before Columbus to Secrets & Lies (a bargain at $12.98 in the discount section at Barnes & Noble). On the music side of things, there's some Jerry Lee Lewis, some Moe Bandy and a little Dolly Parton.
My favorite part of the list is the things he tells us not to buy. A sweater vest or two is OK, but no socks, no pajamas, no ties and no pants. (The anti-pant stance, he swears, is due to the weight he's going to lose in the new year. The only problem is - just like his son - he seems to always find as much or more than he loses. If only I could have the same luck with money - or golf balls.)
Then there's the wildcard item, that one thing thrown in (I think) just to make us scratch our heads. This year's item is a 'learn to play the harmonica' kit. I'm still trying to get my brain to reconcile that image.
Don't you try. It's like the comedian Lewis Black says, brain aneurisms come from somewhere. I think it's from thoughts like Pete Smith armed with a harmonica.
Meanwhile, I know I say it every year, but I love downtown Thomson at Christmastime. I've caught myself a couple of times just sitting in the parking lot at the courthouse and admiring the lights. I also drive a little slower through town, just so I can take it all in.
The folks behind the displays - from the local leaders to the city and county workers to the local business owners - deserve a pat on the back. And an extra mug of holiday cheer.
Speaking of the holidays, The Mirror will revive its annual tradition of printing some of the best local Christmas displays starting next week and finishing up the week of Christmas. We've already got our eyes on a few places, but we're always on the look out for more. That's where you come in. Give us a call with your thoughts at 706-597-0335 or send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. Of course, I can't promise we'll take a picture of every suggested spot, but we'll certainly try.
In the meantime, Christmas is less than two weeks away. I hope all your lists are in order - even if that list does include a harmonica.