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Give peace a chance

Publisher's Notebook, Peter Kostes

Bombs over Baghdad. Not the visions of Christmas I expected to have dancing in my head a week before the holiday.

As I write this, early news reports say American and British military forces launched at least three separate air strikes against Iraq in response to Saddam Hussein’s continued resistance to cooperate with international efforts to eliminate that country’s capability to produce weapons of mass destruction.

This year’s season of peace is off to an uncertain start.

While our thoughts turn to those innocent people and countrymen in harm’s way, the holiday season and preparations for Christmas and New Year’s will continue on the homefront.

For one of the first times in years, I actually got a head start on some of the traditional trappings of the season -including Christmas cards, present purchases and trimming of the tree.

Maybe the latter effort unwittingly signaled a foreboding Christmastime. After Julie selected our Charlie Brown tree during a near blizzard a few weeks ago, we transported our evergreen home.

Of course, we had the usual troubles of getting the tree and tree stand to cooperate. I spent a good portion of an evening underneath the tree attempting all sorts of Rube Goldberg remedies to stabilize the green beast which drenched me in needles.

I stuffed just about anything within reach down into that tree stand -dog bones, pieces of firewood, one of Julie’s slippers … of course, the more I tried, the more wobblier our grand tree became in its stand. And the more the tension grew between myself and Julie.

In reality, it was rather hilarious and was reminiscent of another time Julie relied on my mechanical skills to save the day. That was when she locked herself in the bathroom.

Somehow, the lock mechanism jammed after she shut the door one weekend morning. With the bathroom window too small to offer an escape route, two people (who possessed neither the temperament nor expertise to solve this dilemma) spent a good part of a nerve-wracking morning on the opposite sides of a wooden door getting to know each other better. Eventually we managed to work the door off its hinges, thus releasing Julie from her temporary confinement.

I hoped this Christmas season that stubborn trees, doors and spouses would represent the extent of my worries. Watching CNN coverage of rockets exploding over a distant city wasn’t in the picture.

Even in a time when peace and joy is most treasured, reality has the knack of getting in the way. I should have known better. However, this is the season of hope, and I choose to hope peace will prevail sooner than later in this latest confrontation.

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