It’s the week between Christmas and the New Year. It seems as if nothing can happen. And yet, in the world, things are happening. An Asian Airlines plane has gone down in the Java Sea. A ferry is burning off the island of Corfu. I traveled on a similar ferry 40 years ago, from Brindisi to Corfu, and from Corfu to Patria. But now things are not happening to me, and I think of this last week of the year as the time when nothing will happen.
Christmas 2014 is over. The tree is still up. I look at it and think I should take it down soon, but not yet. Too soon to take the tree down. I didn’t want a tree this year; I didn’t look forward to Christmas with much enthusiasm. Lawyer daughter was with us, with her husband and youngest child, a shy, silent child of 17, old enough to be a problem about presents because it is so hard to know what teenage girls are wanting. I got her pajamas and gave her some of my old stud earrings because I was told she never wears danglies, and I almost never wear the tiny studs these days. The old ones were pretty — pearls, jade, turquoise and some that were actually new, recently bought in New Zealand, made of paua shell. I love my daughter and her family but just now there are tensions in that family that are difficult to watch. Jerry’s son came for a week. He was quiet and companionable. The dogs love him. He walks with us and is willing to watch our evening lectures.
Although I didn’t think I wanted to bother with a tree, I found that I enjoyed decorating it. The tree and the ornaments stirred memories. When I was a child my uncle had theories about tree decorating. A tree was always sent down to our house in Andover, Massachusetts from my other aunt’s tree farm in Maine. It was tall and stately and stood in front of the huge bay window in the living room. There were boxes of my uncle’s grandparent’s ornaments. they glowed with the soft patina of age. He told my cousins and me to decorate the tree from the center out, so it would shine from within. Tinsel (the old heavy foil kind) was allowed sparingly. There were candles, real candles, that were only lit a couple of times with my uncle watching, fire extinguisher at the ready. Nowadays Christmas trees have LED lights. They don’t heat up and they make small points of light, better than the clunky incandescent lights of my early adulthood.
After the tree was finished some young friends stopped by with a present: Lummi Island blackberry “brandy” that they made themselves. I showed them the tree; Mary-Beth said it was a lovely “traditional” tree, I guess meaning that it wasn’t a theme tree or all one color or covered with bows.
There were ornaments accumulated over the years, tiny toys, birds,
ceramic Santas, horns, violins, wooden nursery rhyme figures like Tom the piper’s son running off with the pig, glass bells and icicles. And one old styrofoam ball stuck with sequins and beads assembled by one of my children (can’t remember which one) some 50 years ago.
There was a colorful fish with little dangling hearts made of painted bamboo strips that reminded me of a big mobile I had brought back from Burma. The mobile fell to bits long ago.
Christmas is about presents and even more about food. I got most of the presents on line, with a small burst of last minute shopping on the 23rd when I got a red teapot for my daughter and an assortment of exotic teas for her and her husband. Our Christmas eve table was laden with chicken soup and fancy cold cuts. Desert was a baklava assortment.
The only thing I made was the soup, but even so in these days of my old age I find that dealing with food, especially for more people than Jerry and me, makes me tense. I don’t know why this is so, but the next day, Christmas, I worried foolishly over the relatively simple rib roast of beef and Yorkshire pudding.
By the weekend Jerry and I were by ourselves again and we spent the next few days in relieved stupor. We did nothing. I began coping with leftovers. We ate leftover roast beef for 3 days, and I cooked all the beef scraps, with some bedraggled carrots still left in my garden, for the poodles.
We wait for a ruling from the judge in Jerry’s will dispute — it’s rivaling Jarndice vs Jarndice in length and expense. This will not be a final ruling, only one on a minor point, but one in which an adverse ruling will probably prolong the case for an additional year.
And we wait for Jerry to recover from a procedure to remedy the old man’s affliction of an enlarged prostate. The recovery is not going as it should, and we wait for shipments of catheters which don’t come as scheduled because we live on an island and everything takes an extra day to come from the mainland. Poor Jerry. Getting old is fighting a losing battle. Every day there’s a little slippage.
Tomorrow is new year’s eve. I will go to my last painting class of the year. In the evening there’s my favorite party of the year at Pat and Rich’s wine shop. We will drink some wine, share some nibbles and welcome in the new year as celebrated in Times Square (that’s 9 o’clock our time). After we sing Auld Land Syne the young people go on to the next party and us old folk will go home to bed. The next day, Jan 1, 2015, there’s another party at Diane and Mike’s for the Mah Jongg ladies and their mates. Our group is collected from our little neighborhood. I rejoice in my neighbors and neighborhood.
I am looking forward to 2015. I have hopes rather than resolutions, but where there’s life there’s hope. Jerry and I are alive. Perhaps the law suit will be settled. Jerry’s water-works will be restored. Sometime in 2015 we will go to New Zealand. Spring will come.
I wish all of my dear blog friends a happy and prosperous 2015. I’ll try to keep up with your blogs and comment early and often.