YouTube: Billie Holiday - "Why Was I Born?"
When you're old every day is celebrated
... or ought to be
With Christmas coming up - ostensibly a birthday party for the baby Jesus but actually a sort of pagan shopping festival - I'm kind of grateful to be distracted by the work of packing up to move - not to mention the continued attempts by Bell Canada to change my mind about switching to a different Internet provider at my new location.
Like a discarded narcissistic lover, Bell can't believe that I would turn my back on perfection, so therefore I can't be thinking straight. Bell doesn't know thing one about how to conduct a courtship.
Well, maybe I don't think straight -- I certainly don't understand the holiday seasons.
I actually have not celebrated Christmas in a long, long time. I have a fake ficus tree, though, strung with white LED lights that I can activate if need be, should someone visit and worry that my problem might be depression.
Actually, my problem is confusion. Is it about Jesus, or is it about Santa? And why does the Bible specifically warn against being like the pagans and bringing trees into the house and decorating them?
Fortunately, the Bible says it can't do any harm (and I'd be the last person to want to deprive anyone else of their experience of the religious holidays) but adds that it can't do any good either.
Besides, when most of your friends and lovers have died or exist in nursing homes (Waiting for God) or, saddest of all, in locked Alzheimers wards, as is one old friend I visit every few weeks, where I'm happy if I can make her smile because when she does it feels almost like the good old days when we laughed nearly all of the times that we got together.
Those days are gone, but I'm grateful for them.
Now, my favourite Christmas movie is this one: Rare Exports. Google has turned it into a money-maker -- so apropos of the season, don't you think? The little boy reminds me of my eldest grandson when he was the age of the movie's little hero. I can hardly take my eyes off him.
He's no dummy, that little boy. He thinks Santa may actually be a sinister character. And that's all I'm going to tell you.
Except that, in the movie, the mother has died, and there is nobody to create Christmas for the boy and his father, and I wonder why women tend to bear the burden of creating everyone else's Christmas, trying to make each year the best holiday ever, stressing themselves to the point where they almost dread it coming and breathe a sigh of relief when its all over and nobody got into a fist fight.
Or is that Thanksgiving? Whatever ... I've been that woman and done those occasions too many times and for too little reward. Maybe I just don't know how to do it properly, and never did, but I'm thankful to be relieved of the whole scene.
Some of the problem may be that I have only scant memory of my childhood Christmases, I suspect because my mother was always stressed out and who wants to remember that? I do recall being in a Christmas radio play (an adaptation of "The Birds' Christmas Carol")*.
I played "one of the large and interesting brood of children in the little house at the end of the back garden" who were invited to spend Christmas at the Birds' house. My line was a very excited "Ma, kin I wear your blue Ostrich feather boa?".
* "O little ones, ye cannot know
The power with which ye plead,
Nor why, as on through life we go,
The little child doth lead."
I even remember the name of my grade 6 teacher who wrote and directed the adaptation: Frances Blacklock, may she rest in peace and somehow know that at least one of her students has never forgotten her for her talent, her positivity, and how she made me feel about myself. Especially having suffered through two years, grades 3 and 5, of "Fatty" Smith (nicknamed to distinguish her from her "skinny" sister, also a teacher at our school) who kept us all in line through threat of the dreaded strap.
"Fatty" had an ample bosom, which normally I probably wouldn't have noticed except that she kept a lace hanky tucked into the cleavage for nasal emergencies, and I would often be distracted by how it must have felt after copiously blowing into it.
I also clearly recall the pungent smell of over-sized oranges in the stockings hung for the kids at our church, and later on some guilt about no longer believing in Santa -- and that's about it.
Oh, when I was 16, the soft, fluffy slippers tucked under the tree from my first real boyfriend. Never mind that it was a mistake to later marry him -- the sight of those Christmas slippers and even the tree itself are still vivid and exciting in my memory.
As an adult, one of my favourite memories of Christmas past, when I created them for my kids, was hearing my 6-year-old son's sleeper-muffled footsteps on the creaky stairs, late in the evening, and his excited whisper, "Skates!" before he scurried back up to bed.
I never told my kids there was a Santa or an Easter bunny; they had to learn that in school. In fact, I blew the whole myth by dramatically teasing them with, "Just wait 'til you see what you're getting for Christmas!" At which they would roll their eyes like "There she goes again."
Hey, I have to tell you one more thing about my kids and what a dumb mother I was. I got it into my head, from reading too much, that granola was the best breakfast for good health. So one morning I gave them each a big bowlful of it. They did their best to finish it, but it was getting late and they had to rush off to school. At the end of the day, they got together and conspired how to get the message to me that I had filled their bowls way too full. As they walked in the door, they were both still chewing!
Were they cool kids, or what!
This week (Nov. 22) Americans celebrated Thanksgiving. No doubt they're thankful that all of the death and destruction wreaked by their leadership has been happening somewhere far away in places whose names they have trouble recalling, except maybe Eye-rack. Sorry I had to say that.
Sure, not all Americans are that ignorant and bloody-minded. But it's hard to know for sure, since there aren't any out in the streets singing "Ain't gonna study war no more" -- and this time of the year might be especially appropriate for that. In Canada too.
Peace, goodwill ... and all that good stuff.
November 22 was also the day the Sun entered Sagittarius. Check YouTube if you don't think that's hugely important. Soothsaying is a massive industry now, and Sag is ruled by Jupiter "the great ‘Yes!’ of the cosmos".
The following day (Nov. 23) was Black Friday, which isn't nearly as exciting as it used to be, what with the fistfights and hair-pulling having largely been made impossible because most of the black shopping is now being done online.
And, as if all that weren't exciting enough, Nov 23 had a Full Moon in Gemini which means that "something amazing is bound to happen". I can hardly wait.
I'm not a Gemini, but my horrorscope says my moon is in Gemini, which means that I have only its good qualities and none of the bad. So there.
What I fail to understand is why so much thought and energy (and moola) are expended on the commercial holidays -- Christmas (yes, it's a pagan shopping festival); Thanksgiving (like Christmas but without the obligatory gifts), Easter (definitely pagan and schizoid, where the purported death and resurrection of Jesus takes a back seat to a Rabbit that lays eggs) -- when the most important celebration ought to be ONE'S OWN BIRTHDAY.
Today is somebody's birthday, so HAPPY BIRTHDAY, wherever you are.
There ought to be birthday trees and birthday eggs and birthday turkeys with cranberries and stuffing, and tonnes of presents (things you actually want and that suit your tastes), and an extra day of rest for all mothers without whom there would be no birthdays at all.
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Photo by Brian of North Bay
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