I had the funk, bit of the blue Christmas. Now I can’t get over how quickly the season has passed, that this weekend my glittery, sparkly chachkas will be packed away for one more year. Given out most of my presents, just a few things for the manfriend still under the tree.
Been a long time (read pretty much ever) since I spent the holiday cuddled up with bourbon-y, muddled clove drinks, a real wood fire and boy to roll under the mistletoe. He’s even got the dog for the hearth. We took a walk hand in hand down Pearl Street Mall in Boulder last weekend, an uncommonly warm December day of 50 degrees, sweater and jeans only weather, carolers and bustling and panhandlers wearing Santa hats, which begged the question, “Where did they get those hats?”
I like Christmas, could even say I love it. I adore giving gifts, packages wrapped in beautiful paper with sharp, crisp edges held with too much tape and wrapped up in tulle bows. I send out piles of cards and leave the tree lights on day and night. Bought a real, piney wreath to hang on the front door and there's snow on the ground. A white Christmas, not a blue one.
Went to a show Saturday before last at the Boulder arts center with a dear new friend I’ve known 20+ years. Driving to meet her, I was reminded how one year ago I’d gone to my first performance there alone, just me. Company is better. Things can change so much in one years’ time. Joy and regret, discovery and surrender, life and loss. My family has grown to include the girls from my past who are now the women of my present and (hopefully) future. I met men and boys, some who slid off and some who stuck as friends and more, like the old high school crush I found was just as insecure as I was then. Finally kissed him, it just took 26 years.
Syd and I meet for pasta and wine before the show, chatting wildly like girlfriends do. We were high on the company and the food and looking forward to spending time with the performers who’ve become friendly acquaintances through sometimes silly, often thought-provoking improv storytelling. At one point, they asked us watching to turn and share a story with someone sitting nearby, something he or she didn’t know, our story. Syd and I laughed; there’s much we know and much more we don’t. I was reminded of one of the last memories I have of my oldest brother. It happened at Christmas. And I’d forgotten it for some time.
My oldest nieces’ birthday falls within weeks of Christmas and growing up her decorations always included a tree, fuzzy stockings and snow. She was even born in a blizzard. She was nearly three, and a few of us gathered for cake and the gifts we could afford (always clothes). My oldest brother, estranged from his wife at the time, was drifting between Nebraska and Colorado and dropped in unexpectedly. Something of an awkward surprise. He brought with him one single red rose, perfectly kept. Don’t know how it didn’t wilt or curl from the cold temperature outside (and I knew he had to have walked there). He crouched down to her height to make himself only as tall she was, held out the flower and said very softly, just to her, “This is the first of many.” He kept his coat on the whole time, a navy blue puffy jacket, and stayed only a few minutes. Then he was gone. That niece turned 25 a couple weeks back and now has a daughter, nearly three.
When he died a year or two later, his own daughter was a toddler; she can’t recall a lot about him. And I bet this story is one that was never shared with her. So I did. It’s a good story.
Happy Christmas and Merry Cringle.