I realize I haven’t posted anything for a couple of weeks. I have some excuses to give and then I will tell you the truth.
Excuses: My husband retired on November 30. Two days after that Tom went to India. He will be back in a few days. Meanwhile, I have been getting rid of more stuff as we get ready to leave Denver in January. This meant making trips to the Goodwill, packing boxes, and thinking about organizing our files.
My friend Jenny and I transported the silver Honda and the green parrot, Phoenix, back to Virginia where they originally came from.
Now at 11:19 AM (EST) Wednesday, December 12, I am sitting in a Starbucks—kitty corner to the Waffle House—off Berryville Rd. in Winchester, VA.
Actually, I didn’t stay long at that Starbucks, although I was in Winchester long enough that I finally understood the road system. I am still not sure whether the roads revolve around the big box stores or vice versa. On the brighter side, twice I was able to eat breakfast at the Apple Valley Café with my son Bill. Last Sunday, I was able to see my daughter Sarah and her husband Mike at the Eden Center in Falls Church, VA. We had café sua da, seafood soup, and then bubble drink to follow. Now I am sitting on the couch at my son Robert’s place in Pittsburgh. I crave more air and light, but I love all the books, art, and other stuff and I just ate a bowl of delicious potato soup.
Truth: For most of my life—for decades after I became an agnostic—I loved Christmas: Snow on blue spruce, getting all the decorations on the tree, especially those handcrafted with yarn and construction paper. I loved making the gingerbread cookies that went on the tree. I loved making the pralines and the pecan pie. Tom, the kids, and I reveled in our own special holiday treats: chả giò, pupusas, Chinese dumplings, or chili verde. Even though I didn’t believe the religious part of the holiday, I believed fervently in the family and tradition and love and hope parts of it all. A couple of my Christian friends laughed with me about my large collection of holiday music. I have everything from Pete Seeger and Joan Baez to the Congressional Chorus and the Boston Camerata, although now the CDs are in storage.
Something has happened to me these last few years. I was the one who had really believed in Santa Claus, even though I was the one who put the oranges in the beds*, candy canes on the tree, and the gifts from Santa under the tree. Now I feel gloomy and I feel sad. Those emotions might be permissible as my Germanic soul waits for the Solstice, but I also feel petulant and that is less acceptable. My husband has noted that I have tended to be gloomy around Christmas ever since my dad died. That’s not right, so I am bucking up right now. Robert and I are going to the bookstore and then to lunch. I think I will buy an orange and a candy cane. I will believe in family and tradition and love and hope because I think that is how I can live successfully close to the ground.
“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!” Ebenezer Scrooge from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, 1843
*At our house Santa put an orange in each of our beds as the proof that he looked in on us while we slept.