With the Mack Daddy of all holidays just a week away … I had mom in the car the other night, and she was mentioning how she was having a difficult time getting into the holiday spirit in Florida. Something about palm trees.
Of course, in Indiana right now, there’s not a leaf on the trees, and a few hardy pines offer the only green other than the Christmas Trees in front windows. There is often a blanket of snow that crunches under your feet, and salt slathered on streets and sprinkled on sidewalks clings to cars and shoes. The last time I went to Indiana at Christmas, I got on an airplane in Jacksonville at a relatively balmy 64 degrees, and got off the plane in Indianapolis where the temperature was 8. The cold cut through my jeans, froze the hairs in my nose, and had everyone scampering for whatever relative warmth they could find. I pretty much vowed I’d never go back to the Midwest for the winter solstice again.
There is a certain quiet about snow. I can still remember being out camping in bitter weather with snow falling. The soft, frozen crystals insulate the sounds, and particularly away from town, animals and birds hunker down and there is a palpable quiet.
I liked snow … for about 20 minutes. It’s beautiful … until you have to drive in it. And once a storm clears, and the temperature starts to plummet, it’s a question of whether the car will start in the bitter cold.
All of that is in the past, at least for me.
I recall the first winter I was here, and thinking about how cool it was wearing shorts into the K-Mart on the 19th of January, which reminded me of my sister’s birthday. I never had a lot of trouble adjusting to palm trees at Christmas, maybe because I’ve always wanted to have them around me. I somehow managed to acquire a Caribbean Soul living in the southern Indiana hills. The first Christmas I was here, I don’t think I put up a tree just because I knew I was going back to Indiana. That may have been that last trip. By the following Christmas, I was with Andie and we had bought this house. We have an “ornament” on the tree that I made out of a plug I cut with a hole saw putting door latches on the interior doors here. I dated it so we’d be sure to remember. I’ll admit it was a little … different … when it was so warm at the holidays … but I’ve since adapted and will admit to feeling the chill when the temp drops into the 40’s. That’s plenty of “cold” for me to get into the Christmas spirit.
Now, I don’t care for 10-foot-tall inflatable snowmen, or Santas … but I didn’t like those anywhere else I’ve lived, either. I know a lot of people like them, but I just think they look tacky no matter where you live. Our house is very nice this year, with just the (*$#*!!) icicle lights around the front of the house, a nice wreath in the peak of the garage, and a couple of little things hanging from the scrub oak in the front yard. There’s a poinsettia topping the fountain, and Pete the Pelican had to have his Santa hat. My only REAL objection is the ‘skydiving’ Santa that is festooned outside the front door. He’s noise activated, and the other day when someone was shooting off fireworks, he ran back and forth in front of the window. I was kinda annoyed.
So, Jenni will be here a week from tomorrow, I’m just not going to worry about a job the next couple of weeks, and will hit it again hard in January. The memorial service for Andie’s mom is tomorrow morning, and I hope that puts the worst of that episode behind us. We never did get in touch with her brother in Vegas, her dad is out of the country (they’re long divorced, and he’s been on a long-planned cruise. They left before Linda passed), and so it’s just Andie. Fortunately there are a whole lot of close friends, neighborhood moms, and plenty of support.
A week later, we’ll put 2008 behind us. I’ll be more than happy to leave this year astern. It’s been a roller coaster … some fantastic highs, and some abysmal lows. We’re ending on a down note, but hopefully that upturn is just off on the horizon. Can’t see it yet … but I know it’s out there.