Monday, December 15, 2008

Monday, Monday

Seems like the week and the winter is stretching interminably ahead at this point, but I know that it will soon be Friday! (Spring will take a little while longer, but that is probably good.)

Three tomatoes ripen on the kitchen counter, which makes me wish that I had bagged them with labels so that I would know which ones are which! One has the deepest shade of red I have ever seen, so that may be Purple Cherokee. I thought that was a plum tomato, but I never saw any that were plum shaped.

Yesterday I spent a frustrating time going through all the Christmas boxes for one small cache of musical instruments that are actually whistles that I have hung on my tree year after year. Part of both the magic and the comfort of the tree is the continuity of the ornaments. Some go back to my childhood, just after World War II and it is easy to tell by both their materials (plastic) and the colors (bright) that they belong to that era. I have tinsel garlands that belonged to my grandmother, that may be more than a century old and are still beautiful. Then there is a whole collection of lovely things that came from successive trips to Marshall Fields (along with Frango Mints, long gone now, of course)and from one memorable trip to the gift shop at the Oriental Museum at the University of Chicago when I was a graduate student. I remember the friends with whom I made these trips, including the time that we went to lunch in the Walnut Room and discovered that a person in a wheelchair was immediately moved to the head of the waiting line along with those who accompanied her! (We were so surprised!)

Today my dear friend C found the ornaments for me and so the tree will soon be complete. I am waiting for my young friend M to come home from college to place the last ornaments for me, for she has been so instrumental in making my Christmases for the last six years. My tree is becoming a communal experience and that is good.

For I am blessed now with friends who have the patience, and even encourage me, to tell the stories that go with the ornaments and that is part of what makes the tree so special. It is a memory tree, a ritual of recollection as much as a celebration of the season, which makes it even more special to me. One friend suggested that I should video-tape the stories and I may do that after Christmas, for I have a young friend in the neighborhood now who has the equipment and skills.

Before I go to bed each night now until the tree is put back in its box--it was an Internet find the year that Papa died and I felt that he had led me to it for it had many years since we had a tree--I will go into the living room and turn on two lights, look at the tree and then turn out first one and then the other light and end the day.

Christmas is one of my favorite times of year inspite of the fact that it is cold and there is no garden. It is the consolation for the cold and the short days. The light will shine again, but before it does in the changing seasons, the birthday of the Light of the World will be celebrated. In a few days the creche will be put up as well allowing me to think more of that great event, the Incarnation and the role that it plays in our lives.

I will try to remember to take a picture of the tree after the last decorations are in place and post it here. Meanwhile, a blessed Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent to all of you.

I am grateful.

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