It's Christmas Day! I took my Christmas walk all bedecked in crazy Christmas hat and scarf, and said Merry Christmas to any one I passed. Again, it is Russians and African Americans who seem to best know how to respond to a Merry Christmas with a warm and jovial "And A Merry Christmas to YOU too!" I forgive the yuppies, in the spirit of the day, for their bland "uh-huh's" and "you too's". A very aged and tiny and frail Chinese woman being pushed in a wheelchair fairly lit up at the greeting, though she was too weak to reply. That was very sweet.
We had our Christmas party last Saturday night. I have pictures on Facebook of the good folks who graced us with their warmth and good cheer. We caroled too, though that lacked a certain something because our old friend Solin was absent due to illness; her crystal soprano lights up the room. Thanks to Steve, our resident baritone, whose booming honey tones lead the merriment. His is half the audible voice, and given that the rest of us would make ice crack in full winter with our tones, it is a good thing that Steve drowns us out.
We had food galore. The company polished off three turkeys (thanks to Ian and Dave), a ham (thanks to June and Dolores), and three loves of bread (thanks to Roy and Jim), not to mention innumerable deserts and savory dishes. Such a joy to watch friends eat!
Christmas is nostalgia. A large part of the annual party is nostalgia for all the lost friends, especially Kurt who invented the party with whom Tom and I first joined in being hosts in 1989. The photos above and below are of the tree in the AIDS Memorial Grove. I'll put up some pix of my own tree later, but for today, let us ruminate on that tree and think of those gone, those we loved and love. I think of my nephew Kris who died at 26 last summer; my sister's family is alone together this season in the shadow of his loss. Christmas is hard that way. It is both the sublimely beautiful and the sublimely unforgettable.
Ahhh ... but Christmas is not just for nostalgia. It is also the pure joy of pure joy. It is remembering that from the deepest, darkest depths of winter we rebound to spring and summer again. It is making light out of the dark. It is hearing songs out of silence.
It is also about Santa Claus ... for me at bottom it is the festival of Santa Claus. He knows when you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake. He brings presents for all, but he has a stick in his back pocket to chasten those who have been unwisely bad. Whether giving or chastening, he smiles and chuckles. A lonely man whose solitude resounds in the waves of joy reflected back upon him. He is an elf and trickster in a world that has banished elves in favor of angry paternal gods who maim and torment. He is satisfied to give of himself on bu tone day and leave the rest of the year for us to be ourselves and make of what we have what we can. O Santa, thank you for being so good to me!
Well, I have to choo-choo off to the second and third of my three Christmas parties ... to see Kerry with whom I have celebrated the sesaon since 1989, and to see Solin and Winfield with whom we have had Christmas dinner for over a decade now.
My favorite day, too soon over.
With that, let me wish a very Merry Christmas to all!
So I haven't been blogging, and now I am going to start again. That's all I plan to say at least for the time being about this accidental incidental hiatus. For those who know me, everything is fine, nothing is the matter. Onward and upward.
All photos by Arod, taken today in the AIDS Memorial Grove.