All I Want For Christmas

Back in 1973, I was a mere toddler when Merle Haggard hit No. 1 on the country music charts by crooning, “If we make it through December, everything’s gonna be alright….”

The song popped into my head the other day as I was leaving the car repair shop with a snappy new battery and a second significant-to-me charge on my credit card in a span of eight days.

December, in recent years, has been a month of unexpected expenses.

My car battery gave out on Sunday while it was parked inside the garage. Oldest brother dearest came to the rescue and, after getting the car into neutral, we pushed it into the driveway and hooked up the jumper cables.

The car started quick enough and, after allowing ample time for it to warm up, I set about on a couple of errands — a birthday gift for great-nephew Daniel and a few groceries for the week. (It was also a much-needed escape from the house after the weekend deep freeze had me going stir-crazy!)

By the time I left the second store, I knew I was pressing my luck with the battery. Reluctantly I returned home and, this time, backed into the garage — without a scratch or a dent, I might add (it was close, I’m not going to lie!)

Monday morning, all ready for another day at the office, I said a little prayer as I put the key in the ignition. “Please God, let it start — just let it start today.” That prayer was unanswered, but my second prayer was. Oldest brother dearest was still in town after working the overnight shift and stopped by to give my car another jump start, along with directions to get the battery replaced and a little grief for not knowing when I last bought a car battery. He’s the classic “oldest brother” type. (I learned at the repair shop that the battery was original to the car and, since I purchased it used, I had a good reason for not knowing!)

And so, as I left the repair shop, Haggard’s voice rang out, “If we make it through December, everything’s gonna be alright…”

Prior to the battery replacement, I’d already encountered a significant expense when my internet connection was lost the weekend before last. I can live without internet most weekends, except for those when I’m working. This just happened to be my weekend to work. After three calls to tech support, I was politely told I needed a new modem. Apparently they don’t last forever, and the 11 years I’d had with my old modem was far longer than usual.

So, I’m counting down the rest of December in hopes I escape any more costly replacements. It was a year ago this month that my refrigerator died (also prompting much help from oldest brother dearest).

“If we make it through December, everything’s gonna be alright…”

Merle Haggard — I wouldn’t say I’m a fan, per se, but I do enjoy some of his songs. “If we make it through December” is considered, by Rolling Stone, to be No. 14 on a list of the 40 saddest country songs of all time. The song is about a factory worker who gets laid off shortly before the holidays and is wracked with guilt because he can’t buy his daughter “Christmas cheer.”

Well, that is sad, and here I am complaining about extra “unplanned” expenses, when I should be grateful to have a job and a credit card I can pay off after the holidays. I should be grateful to have a car to get me where I need to go, internet access, a roof over my head, clothes on my back and food in the cupboards.

Mere weeks ago we celebrated Thanksgiving — a time to reflect on what we’re thankful for — but shouldn’t we be thankful every day for what we have? Shouldn’t we be thankful at Christmas too — thankful for our blessings, instead of whether or not our “Santa, I want” lists are fulfilled?

Merry Christmas readers. May peace, good health, happiness and thanksgiving be yours in the new year!