Dreaming of… a White Christmas?
There’s a local radio station that starts playing Christmas music before Thanksgiving, and after Thanksgiving plays nothing but. This extravagance used to irritate me. I suspected commercialism and avoided the station through the holidays like the flu. But this year, “White Christmas” in Sinatra’s voice made me nostalgic, full of uncommercial cravings. Perhaps something about having grown children and faraway siblings evoked a hunger for figments of my own childhood– I don’t know. Whatever it was, I opted in on the holiday station as often as I had access to a radio, hoping for more of the soothing sounds of Christmas Past.
May Your Days Be Merry & Bright…
Merry & Bright Days… what are those? Some of us occasionally wonder— I know a few people who are weathering dark days, crisis and cataclysm and heartbreak all. Still… I think, at last, that I’m learning to recognize the merry and bright ones when they come. I actually get them a lot. It used to be that I didn’t notice their arrival, as overshadowed as they were by my Great Expectations. But years of experience (and the need to survive them) are teaching me to see almost blinding brightness in the ordinary, to accept what is, love what I’ve got, and be merry in the hazardous (and exhilarating) process of working dreams into reality. These aren’t easy lessons— but their cost enhances their worth.
I see evidence of these lessons in the merriness and brightness of the lives around me, people choosing to celebrate despite stacked odds– illness, loss, estrangement, homesickness, poverty. Some of you reading this should know that… your hopeful weathering brings us all joy. More proof, another gift making our days merrier and brighter.
And May All Your Christmases Be White, at Least Metaphorically
I’ll share a few lines that my dad (who historically is a reluctant correspondent) wrote in a little newsletter insert for my parents’ outgoing Christmas cards. The newsletter alone is miraculous, considering my father’s epistolary taciturnity (whew!). Furthermore, this dad, who ordinarily would be tramping through the snow on his little farm (stalking wildlife, inspecting berry canes), and indulging in the culinary delights of the season, can’t have any of it. A perplexing illness has plagued him all fall and winter, sapping his strength and pitching his already conservative celiac diet into food oblivion. He can’t tramp, nor can he hold down much– not even beta-carotene-rich mangoes. Which mangoes my mother esteems greatly for their nutrition. (She’s feeling a little betrayed by the super-food angels right now).
Anyway, here are those lines:
“Life is just good… We will likely be here for another year or two, so please, understand this. You have an open invitation to come, especially in August, and pick a berry or two, and stay in a free bed and breakfast. Don’t wait too long, there are no guarantees beyond these: we love you, God loves you and us, and life is good.”
(photo courtesy of my father in law, aka Santa Claus)