25
Dec
09

Scrooge Was Right After All

I’ll keep Christmas in my way and let you keep it in yours.
Not for me the jostle of crowds, the tinnily amplified renditions of carols in the malls;
Mothers- patience nearly exhausted- tucking frazzled hair behind one ear
As she herds children ahead of her, children bawling and bleating for toys, for treats, for a nap, for one more ride on the mechanical horse and then they promise to be good;
Drivers, once mostly fathers but now mothers too, neck stiff and eyes straining as they pilot the car and its sleeping passengers through rain or snow and darkness and endless hours on the highways and byways, tossing a couple quarters into the jar for a cup of coffee, a chocolate chip cookie, a chance to stretch road-numbed legs;
The clatter and clink of silverware and china at brunch, starched white tablecloths quickly ruined by a mimosa, a Bloody Mary, or an elbow ill-placed in the cup of much needed Irish Coffee;
Mistletoe hanging above Abe Lincoln on Main Street- am I imagining having seen it? How appropriate the old scholar should get the affection now he so often vainly craved when alive;
Hawkish east wind swooping down reminds me of the damage time has done to my body- the twisted ankle I thought was healed, once frostbitten toes, calcification and arthritis developing between shoulder and neck- and that I’m much too old on the outside to wait to shower acclaim on Santa when he appears at the end of the parade;
Give me instead a Snuggie’s warmth and a hot mug of coffee to wrap in my chilled hands;
Her tongue poking out at one corner of her mouth, a child struggles to turn felt, Elmer’s glue and a tomato soup can into an attractive present;
Mapley, pineappley hiss and pop of the ham in the oven beside the baking potatoes and the yams;
A cyclical rainbow of primary and secondary colors transforming the old aluminim tree in the corner from a misshapen agglutination of foil to sparkling centerpiece in a child’s half-remembered Christmas dreams;
And the thrumming joy of the cat getting stoned on the catnip infused scratching post we bought to save the loveseat.

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