Christmas preparations are underway. Any available free time is happily occupied wrapping gifts and addressing cards. The second pie is in the oven, an apple pie. The first pie cools on a rack on the kitchen table, a mincemeat pie. Bread dough is on the first rise. The dough will be shaped into rolls and set to rise a second time. As the apple pie comes out, the rolls will go into the oven.
Luna & Janus & Bim will arrive tomorrow afternoon to spend Christmas Eve. Bim, a new character in our lives, is a ten week old Jack Russell Terrier puppy. We first met him on Luna's birthday, he was a welcome gift from Janus to Luna. Bim took immediately to Luna, falling asleep on her lap. He was very calm during his first visit; but reports from Luna indicate that he is indeed true to his breed, and a very active little guy.
Last evening Attila and I dressed warmly and enjoyed a walk. A light dusting of snow covered the sidewalks; Christmas lights on almost every house lit the street. Attila left me to wait at the end of our neighbor's driveways, as he delivered a Christmas card to each mailbox.
During my years as an elementary school student, our teachers would make Christmas a special time. The emphasis was not on gifts, but on music, lights, stories, and images. How we enjoyed the excitement of being able to paint Christmas images on the classroom windows. How fondly I remember learning and singing Christmas carols in class, and singing some of them in the massed voice of a Christmas Choir.
I can remember the names of some of my teachers, Mrs. Leach, Mrs. Buchwitz [sp.], and Mr. Devine. I am amazed that I can still remember their names, as I have not heard them spoken, or seen them in print in over 35 years. Our school atmosphere was one of respect and trust, the principal orchestrated a humane environment.
During my childhood, gifts were central to the mood of Christmas. However, my siblings and I were more impressed by the celebration than by the gifts. I remember our annual Christmas rituals, with fondness and longing. No gift compared with the comfort and joy we received from Mother's Christmas ministrations.
With a faith that transcended organized religion, we hung our stockings. The stockings themselves were those discarded by Father over the past year. They were clean, with holes in the heels and toes. Mother would make a ritual of using a darning needle to pull colored yarn through the top of the sock, long enough to wrap around a banister spindle and tie. She gave us, one-by-one, our own special sock, yarn in place. One-by-one we tied those socks with earnest intensity to make a scraggly row along the stair banister.
As we lay in our beds Mother would recite "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" and "The Cremation of Sam McGee", which was one of our favorite winter tales. Then she would sing carols until the last of us had drifted off to sleep.
On Christmas morning one child would always awake in a state of feverish excitement at around two a.m. Within minutes all five children would be awake and quietly creeping down the stairs. At least, we thought we were quiet.
What did we receive? Exactly the same thing, every year. An orange, a banana, three chocolate drops, a coloring book, and crayons. The wonder of it was always fresh, our excitement always intense and genuine.
What we were given was hope. What we learned was that magic can live anywhere, that it can be called into action by mere mortals.
I stopped believing in a man with a red suit, in reindeer sleighs, and in elves at a very young age.
I have never stopped believing in Santa Claus.
|RECIPES :: Cast
A few boxes,
bits of paper,
and lots of love.
I am thrilled to be chosen as a
at the MacWorld Conference & Expo in San Francisco, the Moscone Center,
January 6 - 10, 2003!
A Special Wish
This is a special wish, sending holiday cheer to all those who spend the season with their own good company, or the company of strangers, or even the company of friends.
Wind: W 31 km/h
Sunrise 7:53 AM EST
Sunset 4:53 PM EST
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