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DECEMBER 19, 2011 1:49PM

Unmarried Christmas

Rate: 18 Flag
I can't seem to remember where we went last Christmas. Was that the year we drove to Ohio, and I cried ceaselessly for six days? Or was that the year we almost missed the plane to Utah because of a traffic stoppage on the Thruway, and I wrote monologues in my head to recite to the trooper who would ride up behind us as we made our way gingerly up the breakdown lane: "Officer, I'm sorry, but this is an emergency. If we don't make our plane, this boy's Christmas will be ruined, and there is no power on earth that I am going to let do that. None. P.S. I'm contrite. Now out of my way."

When we arrived, moments to spare, I wrestled a large suitcase, a carry-on, and two sets of skis from the outlying five-dollar-a-day parking lot into the terminal, by which time I was clammy with sweat under my ski jacket. And learned our flight had been cancelled. More monologues ensued, this time actually delivered. We were rerouted to Texas. Then another cancellation. Yet more forceful but polite words were exchanged. (A helpful hint: do not remonstrate with the beleaguered airline staff behind the counter; they are being yelled at from every corner. Instead, look them in the eye, smile with compassion, and say, "It must be terrible to have to deal with all this." Only then describe your predicament and ask for a hotel room; in the afterglow of human understanding, they will give.)

Why do I not remember all of this? Because some things are meant to be forgotten.

I wrote last year at this time about a bridge. Dreams, being a bridge between night and day. And now, I think, I was really saying that I felt myself to be on a bridge, from darkness to light. I know, from the feeling under my foot, that I have stepped off the swaying bridge and now stand on the other side of what has past.

"I am in a different place than last year," I find myself saying to people. What I mean is that I could countenance my son's request: Please, Mom, can we stay home for Christmas? We've only done that twice.

It did not take long to realize that in the magical-thinking way of the child (or, hell, of most of us) he hoped that in waking up at home as he last did several years ago he would also wake to the restoration of his family. I had to disabuse him quickly of this, though: it was as pleasant as telling him that people and animals suffer horrifically all the time, all over the place, and therefore we must be mindful of it. Something you don't want to think about, but must.

And so he and I will wake together, in a new house: home for the holidays. I am grateful not to be hurrying through the crowds to get to someplace else. I am also a little frightened of how I will feel. Alone? Sad, as a conditioned response triggered by the memory of this date, repeated previously in woes of various sorts? A vagabond of the heart? I am in the position of asking people to take us in this year, a bit squirmy, emotionally speaking, but as necessary to the happiness of my child now as getting to the airport was then. I need to prepare a speech to the internal state trooper who would try to stop us getting all the way to our destination: feeling all right, now, with what we have, and what we are. Which is two lucky people who have each other. Splendid.

Can I wish the same for you? Yes, I do. I do.

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open+call, my blue holiday

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This is so well written. Your gratitude resonates with me. I wish you and your son a peaceful and happy Christmas, and the beginning of some newer, better traditions. I think this is a Christmas you will both remember.
Thanks so much--I appreciate it. It's already starting to look like a much, much happier holiday.
Beautifully written piece. The bridge and spanning night, day, dreams and memories of Christmas past, well done.
such a heartfelt, well-written piece. Wishing you and your son a very merry Christmas! Rated.
Thanks, both. Happy Xmas to all.
Sounds like a great time, at home.r
Oh my God. One of my favourite motorcycle authors anywhere, anytime. Right there with Lawrence. Are you still riding the Guzzi?

Thank you for your book, above all. When I bought my Kaw last summer, yours was the first book I re-read to get my mind right. Ride on, my friend.

This was a lovely piece.
Thank you very much. Yes, still on the Guzzi--the same one, only different. I think maybe I'll post that story here, because it's a lovely one. About friends, I mean.
Well, I haven't written here for over a year, and am not sure it has been all that much a loss. Nor have I read all that much here during the same time period. Some folks would call it burnout, and there is some truth to that.

Now I see that a favorite writer, yes "you", has taken a step towards residence here and I consider that a real positive happening for OS and its more faithful readers. I wish you well here, and if this post is any indication, and I suspect that it is, you will quickly develop a nice OS readership. I pray that for you.

I also offer my appreciation of your writing about motorcycling, something I dabble in now and then. Mostly, I ride, for over 59 years now.

Merry Christmas and many blessings in the coming year, for both you and your son.

I hope you and your son had a lovely day.
Hi Melissa...... Bo sent me. Loved your blog - sheeeeee-it woman, you can WRITE!!!

Lookin' forward to much more from you........

ᴼᴥƪ --- Skypixiezero, (the monocled cat)
@Monte: You are indeed much missed on here, my old son. I thought you'd like this.
Melissa: Pleasure to make your aquaintance. Your writing has been recommended to me over and over since I've started writing here these last twelve months. Pleased to say I took all that advice, though I must admit it was the Guzzi part that pulled me in. No matter, The Perfect Vehicle, the perfect essay, the perfect time to say; well done, thank you and eagerly await reading more.

...and Rev! Merry Christmas!
That's a heartfelt account of spending a holiday in a very authentic way, and wrote very intimately. Thank you for sharing.