O Christmas Tree

There's a lot of snow, all of it light and fluffy thanks to the cold and wind. This must be the third (or maybe fourth?) winter storm we've had with the warning of a foot of more-- which we already have and there's no signs of it slowing down. I'm wishing the radio would play Christmas carols, but  they rarely do, and then only here and there. The trouble is, if I put the Messiah on, or Bing Crosby, or the jazzy NPR Christmas album I got from a fundraiser one year, then I can't hear the weather reports and the news.  So far, Father Blaney's funeral mass  and potluck is still on at 6 at the Sacred Heart church, and yoga is happening at the Chilkat Center at 5:30 (with music from Yo Yo Ma in a special Solstice class). There's a ferry today, and the choir is having one more practice before the Holly Jolly Follies, which are Sunday at 4. I'm drinking some fancy coffee my daughter JJ sent me for Christmas, in the mug I bought as a gift for myself from the Friends of the Library. JJ will be in Ecuador with her boyfriend for Christmas. She asked me if I was sad she wasn't coming home. I answered truthfully--  no, and a little bit yes. I think it's great she is taking such a trip. Imagine canoeing down the Amazon? It is probably something I will never do. I told her that I figure  whenever the family is all home at once that's Christmas, no matter what the calendar says. Last night granddaughters Caroline and Ivy came by while their mother played basketball. Caroline asked if she could decorate the Christmas tree. (She helped me the first time.) So I took off some ornaments and she put them back on, in big clumps down low, and then all the way around the back by the wall. Some of the ornaments came from my mother, some were gifts from an ex-brother-in-law, one was made by a friend who has since died, another was made my another friend who divorced and moved away. Many were created by my children when they were small. Christmas trees are trimmed with memories, aren't they? Even the happy ones can make you cry if you recall them at a soft moment. To Caroline, who will be four in January, there is nothing but magic in all of it-- even the little old and kind of ugly creche that I love, because it's the one my mother used to set out each year, and because my grandfather  glued all the figurines onto it so we wouldn't lose baby Jesus. Caroline noticed how many ornaments I have-- thirty Christmases worth--  compared to her household's still single digit collection. She selected a half dozen and asked if she could bring them home. Some were dear, some not so dear.  "Sure," I said. Then she said we should bake cookies, since I didn't have any and she's already made them with her mommy and can show me how.  "Sure, when?" I asked. She thought hard. "How about Friday? Will that work?"  Well, she might as well have wrapped up my heart with a big red bow.

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