Welcome back Dearest Elves, Santa’s Helpers, and Giftee Giving Gifters,
I appreciate your patronage of my blog adventures. Sometime in the shadow of last night my blog total hits eclipsed 40,000. A singular success for a casual blogger.
In a season of merriment and mirth, sometimes the dark days of winter turn gray and deliver you to memories that are lukewarm at best. Life is a balancing act and part of the fun is in sampling the range of emotions associated with living it. Sometimes disappointment rears its ugly head, but we must remember to make an effort to make the best of any situation we find ourselves in. In a season that is imbued with anticipation, it is fair to point out what The Rolling Stones knew all along: “You can’t always get what you want…”
“Drawing Down, Dead Down”
At another Christmastime,
I dined at midday,
On the winter solstice,
With my work colleagues.
We wanted Ramen,
But, begrudgingly settled for pub fare due to long lines at the Ramen place.
Pubs provide listless people lists of listless choices.
I chose the Shepard’s Pie,
infused with lamb protein.
When choosing from a listless list,
Authenticity seems important.
At least, in that moment.
But, fuck, it falls flat.
Just another pretentious misadventure,
Whereby, my dish provides all discomfort and no comfort.
The meat tasting as if simmered in a Dutch Oven with flakes of junkyard rusted automobiles.
Not my best chew.
Thank Christ for the bread,
Slathered with as much butter as a teensie-weensie butter basket can provide.
I’ll wait in the Ramen queue for however long it takes.
Welcome to a month of merriment and mirth. A period of looking backward, looking forward, and every now and then just staying within the moment. I am happy to share my thoughts and feelings with all of you during this special time. I encourage you to poke around the site to see what treasures might be waiting for those of you so inclined to seek out nostalgia, irreverence, mischief, and the very gladdest of tidings.
Each day this month I want you to pass through a door and see what is on the other side. Doors are interesting things aren’t they? They serve as points of entry, they keep out the terrors of ordinary life, and they preserve the many comforts of a home. You simply have to make the choice to open the door and step over the threshold to learn what is inside.
My hearth is warm and waiting for all to come sit nearby and share in the stories, the conversations, and the music of the season during our month of merriment and mirth.
Doing something tonight that I haven’t done in a while.
There, all the lights are out.
Except the Christmas Tree.
Magic lights, blinking dreams. Heart flutters and sugarplum fairies goading me to remember the short past or long past. It depends entirely on your perspective.
As a matter of convenience I’ve located an app on my smart tv that plays Christmas Ditties. Years ago it was cassette tapes, then it was CDs, then digital downloads. Now live streaming. Buffing along song to song, being carried down the stream of memories that connects me to this holiday season and all the holiday seasons that I’ve made my stake and found my joy within.
This is a truly magical time of year in my heart and in all of my actions. It always has been, as far back as I can remember.
I grew up in a standard household of four. Dad, Mom, Son, and Daughter. There was a dog (an Irish Setter, named Katie), multiple hamsters and gold fish which never lasted, and a two bedroom second floor flat that held sway over my imagination over the formative years of my life.
We were poor, but didn’t realize we were. That might have been the greatest gift of our childhood (of which we had many gifts). Running a house in today’s world gives me a respect for all that my parents sacrificed in order to provide so many good times, and great Christmases.
My Mom, after her Mom, was the Major General of the production. It all started with her desire to create a happy holiday home. My cheeks turn red when thinking about all the things she lavished upon us. We were spoiled in these holiday moments, and graciously gifted many times over by two sets of grand parents and three doting uncles. We all lived within a square mile in those days, and the traipsing back and forth from home to home allowed for us to grow keen of different types of cooking at each home. as well as a nose for our favorites.
I’d be remiss if I forgot to mention how important the church was in our lives, our parish life.
All good things contained within the wilds of zip code 02129, “Chawles’town” to the locals. God, school, family, friends. Life! Holiday life!
My father, a fine accomplice in achieving my mother’s designs, was satisfied to use his artistic talents to create elaborate decorating schemes and turn our apartment into a Winter Wonderland. One year he used tin foil attached to the wall around the Christmas Tree to give the blinking lights an infinity effect, another year he made an entire village out of balsa wood to surround the train beneath the tree, and in yet another year he painstakingly carved snowflakes out of glossy white paper with an Exacto Knife and affixed glitter to them so they could be hung from our suspended ceiling by paper clips.
The magic was real. When the lights went out and the tree came on we were transported to another world.
This was our normal. We didn’t know any better. We never knew of the amount of time and effort that was dedicated to achieving the proper effect. Halls decked.
Mom and Dad, a formidable Christmas Duo, raising bars and setting precedents that I still aspire to each and every Christmas.
The music continues to play, and each verse and chorus puts me in the frame of a wonderful memory.
Recounting is fun, but remembering past warmth in the grinning comfort of a glowing Christmas Tree room is sublime.
I look forward to some deep dives back in time and to bringing some gems to the forefront. Keep measure in coming days, as I plan to elaborate on all that I found good, curious, and magical.