Larry Banman: There is no place like home for the holidays |

Larry Banman: There is no place like home for the holidays

Remember the anticipation you had for Christmas when you were a child?

For many of us, that anticipation was centered around the packages that were or weren’t located around the Christmas tree. One year, my curiosity was so strong that I poked and prodded, shook and rattled until I had deduced the identity of each of my presents. I don’t think I ever had a more miserable Christmas morning, as I feigned surprise over a batch of gifts that had suddenly lost their luster.

There was one year when I had a gift that had the shape and heft of a brick. I was completely lost for an explanation of a gift that heavy. On that Christmas, I excitedly opened that gift and found – a brick. Apparently my sister had been in charge of determining who was naughty and who was nice that year.

I still get a sense of excitement over gifts, but now my true anticipation is over renewing ties with family and friends. Since I left the comfy confines of central Kansas in 1974, I have never lived closer than 300 miles from my parents. After our children left high school, they too moved several hours away from home. Since I am not yet of the independently-wealthy class, I don’t have the freedom to jet around the country to drop in on relatives whenever I desire. Therefore, I develop a lot of pent-up anticipation throughout the year.

This year, for the first time in many, many years, the Banmans from Kremmling will unite with the Banmans from Goessel, Hesston and Haven, Kan.; Denver and Hoffman Estates, Ill. We will converge by car and by train for the occasion of a wedding of one of my nephews. The day after will feature a Christmas Day celebration at the homestead where my siblings and I were raised. The day will feature much joy and laughter. There will be endless good-natured ribbing. The in-laws will politely roll their eyes while me and my two brothers and two sisters giggle uncontrollably over each other’s jokes and hi-jinks.

My mom has already made several portions of her delicious and not-to-be-matched chicken casserole. She has a gift for cooking a meal that leaves me feeling satisfied, but not stuffed.

The time around the tree will be filled with more talk than tinsel; more gab than gifts.

My mom always insists that we all share something meaningful. We roll our eyes and groan, but secretly I think we relish those personal glimpses. I, for one, am working on my own pithy and meaningful, yet humorous response.

Kansas awaits me with icy roads and electrical power outages. And yet, I can’t wait. There truly is no place like home for the holidays.

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