Friday, December 10, 2010

Es Weinachtet Sehr

The title is a rough translation of 'It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas', because it is (at least in our house). The last week or so here in Southern New England (shouldn't I say 'pahk your cah in Harvahd Squahe, y'all'?) the mornings have been brisk (Thursday it was barely fifteen Fahrenheit when I left for work) and crisp but with no snow. As I'm not asking for a sled this year, again, I'm not terribly upset about the lack of white stuff. We bought a snow blower three years ago and the first year we had it, I don't think I actually ever used it (and was NOT upset about that at all).

Inside, the house went from the day after the first Saturday in December to CHRISTMAS in null comma nichts. My German wife is the world's most organized person-she has transformed a lazy, slothful dullard into a --okay, bad example; let's use the kids or the house or the neighborhood. She is a wizard at organization and our house is now festive with a capital F (and a neutral pH).

The letter "F" is also the beginning of a word, and part of a phrase, I use a lot from around Thanksgiving through the end of the year (and not fa-la-la-la). I was never good at making or having friends when I was a kid, a life-long habit as it happens, so when I watch people the other eleven months of the year cross the street rather than talk to me, as they now wish me 'all the best', I know better. I'm more polite now and don't tell them where they can stick their well-wishes, mainly because they'd walk funny, but I figured you out, so don't think you fooled me.

Sigrid addresses cards, organizes the holiday shopping, bakes for the neighborhood as she decorates our front porch and lawn with some kind of icicles and bulbs and decorations that purport to be reindeer made of lights (or something). And she covers inside, too, to include, this year a first!, the bathroom. She surprised me last night with a light/motion/sheer viciousness activated (I'm not sure which though 'all' remains a possibility) snowman that converses with you when you turn on the bathroom light. How festive!

It's another balance of payments buster made in China that has one of those high pitched voices, reminds me of a dwarf on helium (actually he sounds exactly like a Halloween decoration she has for the inside front door, that shouts out 'Boo! Did I scare you?'). O how we Christmas here in Norwich, Connecticut (you never knew Christmas could be a verb? How's that for a seasonal miracle?).

In recent years, our family is returning to its 'original size', as our children, Patrick and Michelle, are themselves adults and lead their own lives alongside, and sometimes as part, of ours but they really do have their own orbits. Without discussion (thirty-three years of marriage makes a woman psychic), Sigrid will coordinate everything (and I mean that in the largest possible sense of the word) so that on Christmas Eve, we'll have both Pat (and hopefully Jamie as well) along with Michelle for gift opening and oohing and ahhing, around the tree that she painstakingly decorates with ornaments from the Erzgebirgen and other weinachtmarkten, souvenirs from our life in her homeland, Germany, sharing the tree with the ten or more (I've lost track) painted and blown glass ornaments depicting Norwich, offered at the annual Lighting of our City Hall.

And in the spirit of the season, there will be a time as the afternoon surrenders the last of its light and the darkness rushes in where I stand in our yard and strain to hear a thousand singing herons and the melody of my most favorite of all seasonal songs whose words I cannot understand but whose sentiment is wonderfully clear.
-bill kenny

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