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Friday, December 16, 2011

Yuletide tale #2

As I  sit here this quiet morning, still dark outside, candles lit, listening to my favorite early morning radio, contemplating hauling the decorations from the basement, where to place the tree (waiting on the deck), how to decorate, glancing occasionally at my neighbor's house directly across the street. He leaves one Christmas light on in each window all night, part of me wonders about all this fuss, while another part of me enjoys the feeling of Christmas for so many reasons. 

Oh come all ye Faithful in bag pipes on my radio show now. I feel all emotional...the pipes get me every time, no matter what the season or the song. The house smells great. Before I sat this morning I made some orange spice muffins. Now a medley of Anne Murray Christmas tunes. Gawd, I need to avoid writing during PMS stage!  There is a beautiful fox peacefully resting on our lawn. The cat is mesmerized by the still fox. He's been there a while now. I note he has injured his back right leg. He is limping when he first moves...but then he runs away. I want to help him, but know I can't. He is quite capable of helping himself.  This has nothing to  do with anything Christmassy but is is a part of my moment so I  thought I'd throw it in. My coffee is  delightful...warmimg.Yes, this is what I like about Christmas...warm feelings...fond memories.

Really I am not sure about the whole virgin birth Jesus Christ thing, though I know this story brings people hope and well, as a story, what a best seller.
I've spent  a good bit of time trying to "celebrate" this time of year in a way that I feel good about.  I've tended to move away from Jesus and Santa and more towards  snow figures and Solstice. It's hard though you know because, well my own experiences at this time of the year revolve around those two so I can't write them off altogether. 
My earliest memory of Christmas involves my mother convincing me that she and my cousin had just seen Santa and his reindeer flying through the sky and then landing on the house next door as they sat in the window watching the snow fall, playing cards and sucking back a Rothmans. All such a comfort as the wood stove in the kitchen warmed us up and baked our bread. This was her way of getting me to bed I guess...She had me so convinced of it that I actually saw them myself. They were real at that moment and it was magic and wonderful. It helped my mother's case that the announcer on VOCM radio was saying that there had just been a sighting of Santa and his reindeer in the St. John's area. I was a bit freaked out, took this all very seriously, ran up the old stairs and jumped right into bed beside my big brother and tried to force myself to fall asleep before him.

I have no memory of the next morning so unfortunately I have to end that part of the story here but lets assume Santa did arrive and I did have a present the next morning. I even had heard the thump when he landed on our roof & fell through the chimney. I still believe I saw Santa and his reindeer that night...I did, real or imagined...I saw them and I will always have my mother to thank for that magical moment whatever her motives might have been. This one my one and only sighting of Santa. I was probably five years old but it seems like yesterday. I remember it as if it was real. My mother was quite skilled in making imagined things become real.

Years later When I was nine I found two garbage bags in my parent's closet, both full of toys and Christmas things which I immediately knew were for me, my brother and my new little sister. I knew they were from Santa. At that moment I knew that Santa must not be real, but I carefully placed the bags back in the exact position I found them just in case Santa had just stored them there because he might run out of space or something. I knew not to mention this and although inside I knew it was all a lie, I carried on the next day pretending to believe.

After all, that was the year I received Hugo Man of A thousand Faces, a Makin Faces clown make up kit and a gigantic colouring book almost as big as me, so even if Santa did not exist...well, I still believed in him. Nobody ever told me Santa was not real. I just knew. It was still like magic to me though, I went to bed crayonless, I woke up to find 64 brand new fresh Crayola crayons to compliment my new colouring book.And ya know, even though I know of course that Santa is not real ...every Christmas morning of my life I have been lucky enough to wake up to an experience similar to my new 64 Crayolas (with insert sharpener i might add). The Jesus thing, well...that's another post for sure. 

Well, the day is about to start so I must gather  the decorations from the basement, and and with each ornament i place on my tree I place also A STORY. The sun is shining. It will be a good day. I have two gatherings with good friends. I am blessed.