|Set-up for a cancelled party,
I think it makes a nice still-life.
begin the day by getting the tea bag string so tangled with the spoon, you have
to use scissors, you get a hint it might not be your best day! Yesterday I
cancelled the small open house I’d been planning for New Year’s Day—come and go
for black-eyed peas, ham, and good luck. Only at most twenty people and, I
prayed, not all at once because twenty people would crowd the cottage beyond
conviviality. The guests were my closest friends, people I knew would be
vaccinated, masked, careful. Even so, one good friend wrote that they would
come only if they could stay outside, and a neighbor couple sent heartfelt
regrets. Still another friend said she was relieved and they had planned to
stay on the patio. A grandmother planning a trip to see grandchildren said she
was refusing all social invitations as she kept herself virus-free for the
visit. As a final blow, the wonderful woman who was going to “spiffy up” the
cottage that morning reported she has tested positive.
was particularly poignant for me. For fifty years or more, I gave an annual
tree trimming party with sixty or more guests. I began cooking and freezing
things in November. The week of the party I laid dishes out on the table with
little notes in them of what went in which dish. (When he saw that, Christian
said to Jordan, “You and your mother have a screw loose.”) It was a big deal
party—cheese ball, caviar spread, smoked salmon, an annual tradition that I
looked forward to and so did my guests. I haven’t done it in at least six
years—hard to cook like that when you need a walker, and then in the cottage
there was no room.
this was to be a mini-recreation of tree trimming, and I was excited about it.
I’m a bit surprised that instead of sadness, I feel relief. I wouldn’t want
anyone to get sick because they came to my cottage. I will say planning a party
that doesn’t come off is a great way to straighten your living quarters—Jordan
and I put away a lot of the clutter in the cottage, most of it in places where
it will not appear again at least for a while. And I sure have stocked up on
liquor, including that really good eggnog with the nog in it.
offer curbside pickup on the patio for black-eyed peas in the late afternoon on
New Year’s Day. I expect it will be a tad too cool for much patio sitting.
sad, relieved—and a bit angry. For myself, I am going into quarantine again,
just when I’d been working to convince myself I didn’t want to be a recluse.
Having stayed home for almost a year, it was hard to get into the routine of
going out again. But I was enjoying restaurant dinners and the like—and now,
boom! Yesterday alone, there were a thousand new cases in Tarrant County, and
the total for the last week is something like 5,500. If people had listened to
the science and not the politics and followed the advice, vaccinated, worn
masks, kept social distancing, the omicron would not have had so many hosts.
honestly don’t understand anti-vaxxers and, yes, I am angry at them. They are
so self-absorbed with their indignation that they fail to see their folly could
not only kill them, it affects the rest of society. We’re all in this damn boat
together. It was philosopher John Stuart Mill who believed that individuals should
have absolute freedom except when their actions could harm another or the
community in general!
morning I put a pot of peas on to cook (you don’t know how badly I wanted to
fill out the alliteration with pickle instead of cook!). Tonight I’ll still be
in my jammies, and I’ll cook my favorite comfort food—salmon croquettes. TV? Probably
not. Rather a good book, I don’t know if I will last until midnight or not, but
I will treat myself to a nightcap of eggnog. I’ll be perfectly happy, but I hope
that my New Year’s Eve doesn’t set a pattern for the year.
Scottish blessing, traditional on Hogmanay (the last day of the old year): “A good New Year to one and all, and many
may you see.” And there’s an Irish custom you should know. I’m told it’s
traditional to open the door to be sure the old year leaves! An especially good
practice this year.