Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Cheer for a weary nation


When Jordan put up my Christmas decorations—and those inside the main house—last weekend, I thought it a bit premature. But I soon heard of others who were decorating early. To me, before Thanksgiving is early. Then I thought all that’s happened in 2020—pandemic, quarantine, impeachment, election—and the way 2020 has become a bad joke, even when people die. When the death of Sir Sean Connery was announced, someone on Facebook posted, “Thanks, 2020!” We all seem to be living in suspense—what will 2020 bring next?

The holidays begin with Thanksgiving and move on to Christmas, Hannukah, Duwali (Duwali actually comes before Thanksgiving), Kwanza,--what have I missed? They bring us bright lights and candles, seasonal music and too much good food, warmth, comfort and light. For a brief period of time, we feel that all is right with the world—a far different feeling than what we’ve had all year when all seemed wrong with the world.

As I looked at my decorations last night before unplugging the lights, I thought of the line from an old Christmas carol, “A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.”

For many of us, rejoicing won’t be what we want it to be. My Austin daughter posted about her anger because she should be hosting all seventeen of us at her new house (yes, she wants to show it off!) for Thanksgiving; instead, she’ll be hosting her own family—husband Brandon and sons Sawyer and Ford. The rest of us will all be with our immediate families, rather than all of us together. A major change for the Alter clan who are used to getting together at any and all excuses—all seventeen of us, loud, noisy, and happy. This year will be very different. But it is what it is, and we have no other choice. I suspect Christmas will be the same way. We will have to celebrate how we can.

We started a bit of celebration last night when neighbors came for our regular weekly happy hour. One brought dinner for all of us, to our order, from a wonderful local seafood restaurant—a fried lobster sandwich was a true treat. Another neighbor brought wine, and Jordan set out plates—real plates! And she made chocolate pie—her first ever—for dessert. I convinced her to put real whipped cream on the top. So good. We felt very festive.

Tonight, Jordan spent a lot of time on the patio, assembling a large storage “thing” she had ordered to hold things like the heater, etc. when we didn’t want to leave the out for the weather. While she was working, she got the most amazing picture of an owl sitting in a tree watching her. She said at first he was on the ground, but she disturbed him, and he flew up in the tree and then took off. She called Jacob to come sit with her and watch for the owl to return, but of course he didn’t. After all of ten minutes, Jacob said, “Bird watching is boring,” and went inside We’re not recommending him to the Audubon Society. I’ll post Jordan’s picture here, but it’s so dark I’m not sure it will reproduce.

Cheers, folks, resolve now to make your holidays as cheerful as you can. Let’s not let 2020 beat us!

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