Well, although I’m a writer, I’ve never posted a blog before. So here goes. It’s the evening before Christmas Eve, and I’ve taken care of everything that can be taken care of. That means that the tree is up and decorated, shopping for Christmas dinner has been done (with a couple of small items to be added tomorrow), packages are wrapped, place cards created for dinner guests, the silly wind-up toys that even the aged among us love playing with have been disinterred, and all the traditions that a group of friends have built up over more than 20 years of Christmas dinners together have been planned for. Yes, we’ll mourn those who have left us, and at the same time welcome the new additions – people who have no other place to go this year, and may become part of our regular crew if they stay around Berkeley.
The two cats, Jane and George, have decided that the Christmas tree is a delight. Only a couple of ornaments get batted off each day, just to show who’s boss around here. The decorations? They go back a long way! Baked clay ornaments from Ecuador, tiny blue slippers from Turkey, tokens from Hong Kong, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Mexico, Guatemala, Egypt, Spain, Germany, Portugal, Israel, Greece, Tunisia, the former Yugoslavia, Hungary, Cambodia, Japan, Taiwan, Burma, Laos, Costa Rica, Panama, Sweden, Poland, Rumania ….. memories!
The creche on the bookcase? Bought in the gift shop of an Arab Christian church in Jerusalem!!!
Let’s all take a moment to remember Christmases past! In my case from the war years in England, college and working years in Seattle, Vancouver years, two Christmases in Ankara, many in Berkeley, one in Belize with dear friends when only my late husband and I knew he was dying of liver cancer, and even a couple completely alone – not happy days. I’m grateful that on Friday I will be surrounded with friends, and that I’ll be able to return some of the holiday kindnesses I’ve been shown in past years.