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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Christmas Thoughts and a Mama Memory

So here we are - dipping our toes into the last month of 2014. December is a month that melts like snow in the sunshine, it disappears so swiftly it's often gone before I realize I've experienced it. And yet it's crammed so full of things to do I can't help but wonder if it will ever end. And I wouldn't miss a single moment of it. December is De Craziest time of year.

Here at TheCastle we ( c'est moi ) have pulled out the Christmas CDs, beginning with The Nutcracker and flowing on into Bach's Sleeper's Awake cantata 140 - which is not a Christmas piece but it shares space on a disc we own with the Magnificat. After that it's all Eugene Ormandy, Johnny Mathis, Bing Crosby and Elivs. Oh yes. And John McCutcheon. LOL - and the Chipmunks. And Yorgi Yorgenson  - or however it's spelled - too lazy to go look and see.

Christmas music - you get the picture?

I'm being kind to the people who live here and allowing suitable uplifting music that is not Christmas themed into the house - but there will be no Stravinski, no Shastakovich, no Glen Gould with his piano. We do have the Bach lute suites on the player right now. And I ease up a little after the 25th. Just - keep to the heart of the season and I am okay.

I heard on the all Christmas Carol radio station the other day a quote worthy of sharing. "Saying you like Christmas music, but only in December is like saying you love puppies - but only in January."

Decorating TheCastle is always something I put off till the end of the month but I did want to adorn the pretty new front door with the long lusted for Virginia boxwood wreath. Those things are pricey as all get-out and always in the past I had two doors to adorn. This year I popped for the lavish beauty of boxwoods, decorated with red and gold. It's enough to get me outside in the dark just to admire the photo shoot perfection.

It also reminds me that one year I am definitely going to book a hotel room in Colonial Williamsburg and watch the Grand Illumination.   Not this year - but one year soon.

Work this month is going to be decidedly Un-Christmassy - with a computer class to teach and a parks and rec program to partner with and ugh - the state statistical form to be completed. That one has a Thursday deadline on it too. But I am hoping that come Friday, when I catch up with a girlfriend,  I can have an All Christmas Brain All Day Long.

Still and all - things are different this year. Mama is not here this year and a part of me is numb to it all. Mama had faded so much since Daddy's death that time spent with her was definitely recast into a sort of Visit the Sick experience. It was still a visit. It was still warm and heavenly and I could still bask in her utter love and approval. I could be myself, only better, when I was with her.

Mama wasn't a big Christmas fan - though she wasn't a scrooge either. I never asked her about her lukewarm reaction to it all - if it was something she took on in her youth or something she adopted after her marriage, since Daddy always went berserk at some point in the holidays. I know she dreaded the fuss and mess of a tree and never let us put anything up earlier than 2 weeks before Christmas ... sometimes not even that early.

She told me a funny story about Christmas when she was little. The year she was 4 or 5 she wanted a tricycle more than anything in the world. And of course, in this secret time of the year what child doesn't one day think "I wonder what's up in the attic? I haven't been up there in a long time."  That certainly happened to me in December and I had to learn to just keep out of everything after Thanksgiving.  It was so for Mama too and she discovered up in the attic The Glorious Red Tricycle ... a perfect gift for a little girl. And she spent the next hour or so riding it all over the attic floor.

Alas - on Christmas day there was No Tricycle beneath the tree. She told me she was devastated and I often wondered if that disappointment sort of colored her holiday expectations ever after. She also told me that 3 weeks later, on her birthday, she felt something hard poking her in bed as she awoke. Rolling over she discovered The Red Tricycle!

Well - served her right, that little nosy parker. Got just what she deserved - on Christmas Day and on her birthday.



That was then. This is now. And there is a lot to do this Christmas - and all of it will be beautiful and filled with love. And dogs.

Juno is thinking about what she wants for Christmas

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