I look through my bylines from the past two weeks and understand a little better why I’m tired, why it’s been hard to stay in a holiday mood.
They seem to be stacking up, these tragedies: pedestrians hit; two killed in a house fire; a teenager killed in a car accident Christmas morning; a desperate drug addict robbing his casket for the Game Boy tucked inside. And all these have happened on my watch during the week before and the week after Christmas.
And so I fill my working hours telling their stories, calling family members and hounding the fire marshal and police officers for details they’re loath to give.
Then at night I unwrap stockings and light the Christmas tree and finish gifts for a late holiday gathering, and it seems my mind can’t seem to fully embrace this Christmas season. I’m still thinking about stories unfinished, ideas swirling half-formed for our website. I’m thinking about those whose deaths I reported; about their families.
So I’m ready for a break, to step away and leave it all behind for a while.
I’m spending the New Year’s holiday in Texas, in an ever-more-difficult reunion of all of us from our scattered corners. My brother from NYC, my sister from Washington, D.C., closer-to-home college students, siblings still living at home – we’ll all be there for the week.
And it starts today. Blue Bell ice cream, Texas sunshine, open fields and overwhelming skies, scrawny dogs and spoiled cats, and voices echoing loud off the stone-tile floors and down from high-rising ceilings… that plane can’t get me there quick enough.
So I’m wishing you all a great weekend, and a very blessed new year. I’m off to celebrate it Texas-style.