JOHN L. PITTS: Those we’ve lost are still a part of us

JOHN L. PITTS

JOHN L. PITTS

TUPELO

Everything tells us that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but I’m not alone in finding it often tinged with melancholy as well.

Family gatherings, while delightful, also serve to remind us of those who aren’t there.

This will be the 29th Christmas without my father here, the 11th since my last surviving grandparent was with us, the first without my mom.

The names and dates may change, but it’s the same at your house, most likely.

At the Journal office, it’s the first Christmas without our co-worker Judy Putt, whose LBJ dip was a holiday “snack day” staple. I still think I’m going to walk into the office one day and she’ll be there.

If I think back to the family Christmas dinners when I still had all my hair, there are so few of us left who sat around that big table. But in their stead are a host of new faces: my wife, our grown children – and their children, who still squeeze every drop out of every waking moment.

And that suggests a good thing to focus on this week. The people who have left us are still inside us, and it’ll be the same thing when my grandsons are grown and are looking back on their earliest memories of the holidays.

Pretty good gift, I’d say.

Merry Christmas from all of us at the Daily Journal.

Random thoughts

• If you think long-form sports writing is dead, grab the Sports Illustrated with Sportsman of the Year Peyton Manning on the cover. Inside is a fresh 4,000-word examination of his life and how it’s touched so many others. Almost like a remake of “It’s a Wondeful Life,” but without the messy business involving Uncle Billy – I doubt his brother Cooper Manning has ever misplaced a penny of the family’s cash.

• My wife says when she was a little girl that it seemed to her that all NFL games on TV were played in the snow. “Maybe the TV at your house just wasn’t getting a good signal,” I said.

• The referees in Saturday’s Kentucky vs. Belmont game must have been big Lynyrd Skynyrd fans: “Give me three steps, give me three steps mister …”

• The Lakers’ Pau Gasol missed Saturday night’s game with an illness. Sick of losing, I’d bet.

John L. Pitts (john.pitts@journalinc.com) is sports editor of the Journal.