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{December 21, 2017}   Quiet Christmas

Tree ornament

Decorated tree

As a child, Christmas was the highlight of my year! My mother was happy for the help when I wanted to decorate the tree or wrap my brothers’ gifts. When I grew up I still loved Christmas, and most often my souvenir from places I visited was a Christmas ornament. I loved that my tree told the story of my life, including gifts from friends and places I had visited. One special year I gleefully decorated my whole big house because my house was on the town Christmas tour.

Then came the death of my father right before Christmas and my broken marriage. I never had children of my own, and after my father’s death, my birth-family splintered. I began living in a tiny apartment; my precious ornaments packed away in storage.

Now I dread it; I endure it. I listen to everyone giddy with their plans; I struggle to buy presents without joy.

 

I know I am not alone in my struggles this time of year so I thought I’d share this poem I wrote just before Christmas became my enemy. It’s the first time I have shared anything in the wake of the loss of my marriage, but after four years I think I am ready.

 

 

Quiet Christmas

It’s a quiet Christmas,

maybe the last.

My husband sleeps in,

as does the sun.

The gray light shuffles

over the cold ground, then sits.

Observing this year’s sparse

offering of snow,

ragged dust tossed over

shivering boney branches

like dull tinsel,

I wonder:

do the trees ache and groan

like my arthritic hands

as I write this,

desiring still comfort

but compelled to move

by an invisible force

that is life.

The cat, content on the couch arm,

the lamplight her sun,

breaths little sighs in rhythm,

my carol for this quiet Christmas.



{December 14, 2012}   “Tis the Season: Favorite Music!

Time to pull out the old holiday favorites: music, books, and films. Everybody has them. The Christmas music CDs that we love to hear, once a year, no matter how old they are; the movies we’ve seen a bazillion times, but it won’t seem like Christmas if we don’t watch them one more time.

My family has a 25-disc CD changer in our living room, which I usually load up with the Christmas CDs that I have acquired over the years. This year I had to break from tradition; unfortunately the receiver broke a while ago and we haven’t replaced it. My husband tends to be content with just turning to a music station on the TV, but I want to hear my favorite songs, so I decided I would load a few of my holiday CDs into my car, which  forced me to choose my favorites. Without further ado, here’s what I chose.

AmyGrantAmy Grant’s first Christmas Album satisfies my spiritual needs with a little bit of country; she combines gospel songs with some traditional, more commercial Christmas songs, into a very enjoyable collection.

JohnDenverAnother favorite oldy but goody for me is John Denver’s Rocky Mountain Christmas Album. I think his voice and singing style are perfect for Christmas hymn-type songs, and I get the “western” feel.

ChristmasWishesI had to throw in a “various” CD with some really old carols. It’s not Christmas to me without hearing Johnny Mathis and Nat King Cole, the songs my parents played, reminding me of my childhood.

80'sMy guilty pleasure: The Big 80’s Christmas compilation because some of the songs and versions are pretty obscure (like the Squeeze song, , and I discovered and enjoyed them at a memorable time in my life.

BareNakedLadiesFinally, something more recent, the Bare Naked Ladies Christmas CD, mostly because I absolutely LOVE their version of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” recorded live with Sarah McLachlan. A little wacky, like going to  your cousin’s Christmas party.

Obviously there are many other holiday CDs that I like (more than enough for me to fill the whole 25-CD changer — my honorable mention: Loreena McKennitt and Aimee Mann), and there are new Christmas CDs coming out all the time, but favorites are favorites. What are yours?



et cetera
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