It’s quiet and rainy here in the Northeast. I am in a small city, near Woodstock, Albany, and other distant outposts of New York City. There is a cluster of villages with quaint names like Stone Ridge, High Falls, Rhinebeck, and Ashoken very near. It is where my daughter and her two sons live, and where I usually spend Christmas.
I expected a blanket of snow on the ground, as in other years, but it will not be so this year. That’s okay; I grew up in Fairhope, without a glimmer of hope for a white Christmas, and I’ve seen more of them white than not by now, I would reckon. It is abnormally warm for this time of year up here, but that makes it very like a Christmas in Lower Alabama.
Christmas itself will be low key. The youngest child is now cognizant of the reality of Santa Claus and seems to be okay with it. My co-mother-in-law, a victim of Altzheimer’s, has left us just a month ago. Previous Christmases she had two live-in caretakers who had become part of the extended family and added great cheer to all seasons. This year they have moved to be nearer their own families.
There are lights everywhere, and Christmas trees in both the houses we live in. The son-in-law, an exemplary ex-husband, is taking the responsibility of Christmas dinner on himself, with help from me, Alison, and varied friends they will be inviting. We have all done a lot of shopping in the last couple of days, and wrapped some presents.
This is the time of year for raucous merriment, entertaining, and well-wishing, but it doesn’t always work that way. The year is ending, and new things are on the horizon. We can but anticipate the state of the world by this time next year, and what 2007 will bring. We have only a fair hope that it will be a good, happy year, but we know that this one drawing to a close has meant sad transitions for all of us in this family.
That brings soul-weariness and bodily exhaustion to the holiday season, but Christmas is nothing if not about joy, love, and hope – all of which we are holding close this particular rainy Christmas season.
Today is my oldest grandson's 12th birthday, and we are all going to a Chinese restaurant for dinner.
All things are not merry, but by definition Christmas must be. Here’s to you and your wonderful families – and wishes for a good time on Christmas day and lots of excellent adventures in the coming year.