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Friday 19 Apr 2024

A Home for Christmas
AJ Robinson

“Home for Christmas,” These words carry much meaning. I think of the movies, television shows and books that have Christmas as their main theme. Years ago, I got a copy of a collection of the old Little Orphan Annie comic strips; I noticed how Harold Grey, the artist that created the series, always made a point of making Christmas special for Annie.

A special Christmas for my family.

Often, Annie and Daddy, if she were with him for the holiday, would have a wonderful time together. They were regularly home or maybe visiting friends like Mr and Mrs Silo.

This year, Christmas is extremely special for us. You see, we’re finally in our own home again. It’s a snug little condominium.

There won’t be snow for Christmas. We don’t have room for any elaborate outdoor decorations; the neighbours won’t be driving slowly past our place to check out the display. Nor can we afford a pile of gifts.

Alexa, my daughter, will visit, but that’s it for family. My mom and brothers live far away and, of course, have their own plans. We’re going to get together with friends later in the day, but we’ll go to their place; ours is too small for a large party.

Yet, none of that matters. We’re in our own home. What is better than that, at Christmas or at any time of the year?

The last time we owned a house, we lived in the Kingwood’s Development, in Orlando, Florida, before the Great Recession, of 2009. Kingswood is an older neighborhood, which means the homes are larger, the lots more spacious and the trees older and bigger. Our next-door neighbour worked for a metal framing company, which specialized in home construction. He explained the company policy and work ethic one day.

He and the other employees took great pride in their efforts and worked hard to manufacture a truly quality product. The reason was simple; they were giving people a place to live. Think of that for a while.

Home ownership is a basic want in the USA.

A home is one of the most basic needs and wants of everyone. There are billions of people, worldwide, that can’t afford or even find the simplest dwelling. We, in America, tend to take home ownership for granted.

Yet, how many homeless do we see on the streets? Moreover, these days, what with the high prices for homes, there are some communities where people can’t afford a house. These are hard-working fully employed folks in good-paying highly skilled jobs, but the cost of housing, in their areas, are too expensive.

I heard of engineers literally living in their cars because they can’t afford a simple condominium. In our case, we searched for months to find a place close to our wants and needs. We wanted a home a little closer to my work. We wanted a home in a decent school district, for our foster kids and a ranch style home or one with the master suite on the ground floor.

We also had to be able to afford it. We found some great places, but the prices were in the stratosphere, not what we could manage in terms of the down payment and monthly mortgage. The townhome we now own meets all those requirements.

For now, Jo Ann has ceded the upstairs to Damian, our foster son and me, his bedroom and my office, which I call my “Man Roost,” as opposed to cave. Eventually, when we can afford it, we’ll put in a stair lift for JoAnn.

Of course, when we can afford it, we plan to make many changes and touch ups. We’d like to dress up the front and back yards, change the kitchen cabinets, put in some shelves and, maybe, get some nice little end tables and cabinets. Oh, and hang some pictures and lights; some areas, of the house, are downright in the dark.

We were home for the holidays.

None of those matter now, not at this time of the year. We’re in our own home. That is most definitely the best Christmas gift of all.

Combining the gimlet-eye of Philip Roth with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Working, again, as an engineeer, after years out of the field due to 2009 recession and slow recovery, Robinson finds time to write. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true. His teen vampire adventure novel, "Vampire Vendetta," will publish in 2020. Robinson continues to write books, screenplays and teleplays and keeps hoping for that big break.

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