Merry Christmas Eve from wintery Vermont. Today the elements promise a white Christmas. Snow, of course. A chuff of chill, a bit of bluster. And plowed roads. As my daughters say, “We’re good.” This mid-day; it’s my quiet time. No more shopping, no more chores, no more deliveries. All is well.
My dad’s last brother, in fact his last living sibling, died last night. He was 90. They started off with thirteen children, I think. I remember their names: Roland, Gerard, Wilfred, Roger, Rene, Rita, Alice, Arthur, Raymond, Lucien, Cleanda, Liliane, and Normand. They are not in birth order, but my Uncle Raymond was the last of them. I thought at first that this meant the end of the line. But no, because all of us children continue on, with our children, and their children. Still, it’s the end of something.
I’m told that deaths around Christmas are common. But my Uncle Raymond wasn’t common. He knew about circuitry and plumbing and how to fix just about any machine. I remember his coming over to fix my parents’ old washer–kept it going long after it expected to remain. He sang well, had an ear that harmonized to just about any piece of music. And he knew his Bible. I think he was the tallest uncle I had. Keep his family in your thoughts and prayers this Christmas, will you?
We’ve been watching another season of the British Baking Show, and this afternoon, my younger daughter and I will make our own challenge. In three hours, we’ll bake and decorate a Christmas cake, pretending that we are in the great, white tent, using all of the British cooking words we know. “Do you care for a tipple?” I’ll ask. “Oh–you’re getting boozy,” she’ll answer. We haven’t figured out what a marchpane is, but we’re pretty good at making things up.
I wish you all a sweet Christmas, especially that one moment when you feel something really good, that moment when your load lessens and your mind and soul and body say, “Ahhhhh.” The release of tension. The love of family and neighbor. The “you go before I.” Christmas cheer.
Me, I’m feeling it now, as I listen to George Winston’s December and prepare to make salads for lunch. Jingle bells. All is well. Merry Christmas.