Jim Furlong: The Quiet of the Season

Sometimes it gets surprisingly quiet at Christmas. That is an odd thing, but in the excitement and even within the “madding crowds” and the malls and this “world of purchase” in which we struggle there is a quiet time of the soul that creeps in. It is a place of reflection that can be argued to come from somewhere spiritual if not outright holy. 

Dog eat dog shopping

I was at a local shopping centre this week. It was mid- afternoon and the place was packed and going mad. It was dog eat dog with everyone in a frenzied hurry trying to buy whatever it is that is this year’s “hot item’’. 

In the middle of all of that the annual ‘get your picture with Santa’ thingy was in full swing. Dollars changing hands in what is still a lovely thing. 

Now in recent years I myself have had my photo taken with Santa as kind of a Christmas smile for my family but this year I passed. You might remember I told you when I asked the mall Santa last year how long he had been doing the gig he smiled kindly and said; “Forever.” 

With children’s Santa pictures you can watch kids grow over the years. They are nice keepsakes. Of course, I am headed in a different direction on the time continuum and the goal is to look the same which is an impossibility; so, no picture this year. This time I just sat around the mall on various benches by myself with a French vanilla coffee and watched, what I call “the passing parade.” 

Everyone was in a hurry but me. I just relaxed in the noise and watched and continued the contemplation of things important. Here I was in time and space sitting in a mall, watching the world go by with my head filled with the dancing images of Christmas past. 

We all have them. They are the little things that are filed deeply but sometimes trickle out during the Christmas season or maybe because of it. They are images rather than full thoughts. 

Thoughts of christmas 

What was my best Christmas? What was the worst? There are thoughts of first Christmas away from home and thoughts of the first Christmas with our new baby. In it too are memories of midnight Mass in the 50s with the notes from the giant church organ now long faded into the night of a long-ago Christmas Eve. 

There are the remembered celebrations of Christmas dinner and mom’s cooking and the visits at Christmas of relatives now gone and there are also the tastes of Purity syrup and Ganong’s chocolates and Christmas puddings topped with a hot rum sauce.

It is all there in a quiet moment in the Christmas rush of a shopping centre when all the noise seems to fade away. When I got home my wife asked me if I had spent much money. I said no but I had a good day. She asked me what I did, and I said; “nothing”.

NTV’s Jim Furlong can be reached by emailing: [email protected]

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