TRAVEL HERE: THE LOST CHRISTMAS
This year I missed Christmas. It wasn’t a planned omission, the way it was when we lived in Wylie. That year we were camping out in a rent house and my husband encouraged me to keep Christmas in its boxes, because our house was going to be done any minute. (We didn’t move until April, but I liked his optimism.) No, Christmas made it out of the boxes and I had Christmas Cards on hand. It was me that didn’t make it to Christmas.
My Ruth-less Christmases
Ruth was my mom and she was Christmas Central. I lost her in 2013 and since then the holiday has just not been the same. My family calls me the Queen of Christmas, because in Mom’s final years, it was my duty to provide her with a happy holiday, but I always missed the high mark she set. (Maybe you saw my poem about that in December.) In my first Ruth-less Christmas season, I pulled out my decorations and tried to carry on, but about the only sizzle the season had was a little trip Bill and I took to South Texas.
The next year we were in the rent house and perhaps it was her absence, as much as the rather depressing view of the rent house, that persuaded me to leave Christmas in the box. Our first Christmas in Heath I pulled out all my treasures and decorated with a frenzy, but someone else dear to me was not doing well. My sweet little Shih Tzu, Precious, was failing. She waited politely waited until the hubbub was over to slip away, but to me that Christmas is memorable mainly because that white piece of fluff was was slowly fading away.
When 2016’s holiday rolled around I got out all the decorations the weekend after Thanksgiving and was determined to have a good time. We hosted a couple of holiday parties and I even got Christmas cards out after Bill chastised me for trying to omit them from my holiday calendar. However, as illustrated below, I have not been thriving at Christmas.
This year I just wasn’t in the mood. I have no excuses, but the thrill was gone. Ruth would have been so disappointed. I didn’t drag out my decorations until the first weekend in December, even though many of my neighbors had been shining professionally-installed lights since before Thanksgiving. The holiday parties began and we enjoyed a few, but I wasn’t feeling it.
My Holiday Buddy
While my mom is gone, there is someone who is trying to bring back my delight with the season, my bestie Deborah. She started early this year. In mid-November she suggested we go to the Chi Omega Christmas Market at Fair Park. To pump up my enthusiasm, she invited along a true Christmas elf, Allyson, who had already put a cookie-baking event in the works. They bounced around the crowded Christmas explosion from one booth to the next, buying up Christmas gifts and reveling in the season. I had a good time, but I only have a few folks to buy for and no need for Christmas decor, so my favorite part of the day was Tex-Mex at Trinity Groves.
Next up after the spattering of holiday parties was The Cookie Extravaganza. We had an official meeting to choose recipes and plan our day of baking. Allyson bought us all aprons and had them monogrammed. I was more excited about this Christmas event than I had been anything else for years. See, Ruth loved to cook and at the holidays she fabricated all kinds of treats – divinity topped with walnuts, pecans and maraschino cherries. In Temple, my beloved Aunt Edie would create date bars, rum balls and even homemade fruit cakes. But the highlight of Christmas baking was the day set aside for baking cookies. Deborah and Allyson were bringing back the joy.
The Cookie Extravaganza
I hit the streets bright and early that cookie-baking day and my car was loaded down with ingredients which they’d assigned for me to purchase. My apron was strapped on when I arrived, we took a picture and then we all went to work – and I do mean work. We baked five dozen each of ten different recipes. Exhausted and coming down with something, our hostess, Allyson’s mom, disappeared before we’d even gotten our cookies all divided up. At the end of the evening, Deb & I hustled around trying to leave the home in reasonable order and Allyson assured us things were fine.
On the way home, I didn’t feel fine. It was only natural for me to feel exhausted at the end of a day of hard labor, but it was more than that. I crept into my home with my haul of cookies and put them away in airtight containers. Then I fell on the sofa in relief. My throat was scratchy. I felt a little trembly. Something was off.
For the balance of the season I played tag with a cold. My sinuses were blocked, my throat was sore and I just could not quit coughing – no fever though. Some days I’d get up and have an almost normal day. I made a few holiday events, but missed even more. If I don’t make it to church on a Christmas Eve Sunday, you know something is wrong. I was home alone on Christmas Day. On New Years Eve I sat at the breakfast table and completed a jigsaw puzzle (whoopee!).
Though I managed to scrape up a few crumbs, for the most part, this Christmas holiday was lost to me. So, on New Year’s Day, as the TV provided coverage of the Rose Bowl Parade, I started putting away the decorations. Even that endeavor was hampered by my health. What I used to do in one day took me three! But I’m back to my life and even though I’m posting this a few hours late – I’m back to blogging, too. I hope this will be a great year for you and that you’ll come back on Wednesday. We’ll be in Sharm el Sheik!