Festival of Lights dragon (copy)

The Holiday Festival of Lights at James Island County Park is now in full swing.

One of my grown children called recently to ask if we could meet for breakfast. I was already at work, so we agreed to make it happen at another time.

I later wondered if the invitation was because this child wanted to discuss a certain subject or was it merely a random, spur-of-the-moment offer, similar to something the old man might impulsively suggest. In either event, a moment of gratitude allowed me to realize how thankful I am that all three adult children call Charleston home.

During my 35 years working in television here in Charleston, I resisted attempts to relocate. My hours for more than three decades were 3 p.m. to midnight. That’s a lot to ask of a family. I had a job I liked and by staying in Charleston it allowed my children to establish roots.

I was a teenager when I moved to the Lowcountry. I never left. As the oldest child of a Navy sailor who then pursued a career in the ministry, I had lived in seven different areas of the country before moving to North Charleston as a 13-year-old.

Having my children so close by is a huge blessing and something I appreciate even more this time of year.

A peck of pickled Pepers

We aren’t one of those families that spend every waking moment with each other. Admittedly, as parents and grandparents, we wish the clan would drop by the house more often, but sometimes life gets in the way.

It’s amusing, though, to hear occasional comments from the offspring on any changes that might occur at the homestead.

After all, this is where all three children grew up and the same backyard where they celebrated birthdays.

But questions surface from time to time. Such as, "Why is the Christmas tree not where it used to be?"

The holidays force us to look through life’s spectrum with a sharper focus. We try to continue many of the same traditions because they’re comfortable and familiar.

This year, I’m certain I’ll find time to take a couple laps around the Holiday Festival of Lights at James Island County Park. One other guaranteed holiday tradition is being engulfed with the spirit of the season by attending The Charleston Christmas Special. I’ve never walked out of the Charleston Music Hall after one of those performances not ready for the holidays.

All I want for Christmas

I really wish the month of December was longer.

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Can I put that on a Christmas wish list?

Here’s the reason: There’s no other time of the year where people are kinder or more thoughtful.

But there’s also no period of time that’s more rushed. As each day of the month passes, we’re constantly reminded that there are only so many more days before this or don’t forget to do that.

In addition to the stuff I always do this time of year, I’m on the lookout for things I haven’t experienced before. My intention is to try one or two new things.

We can’t make the month longer, but maybe we can look for additional moments to enjoy the smells, the music and especially the good will that makes this, as the song says, the most wonderful time of the year.

Here’s to finding those moments and seeking those experiences. One thing I’m definitely going to do is have that breakfast, not with Santa, but with one of my children.

Reach Warren at peperwarren@gmail.com

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