Monday, January 2, 2017

After Christmas Blues

photo by Jean Gazis

On this, the second day of the new year, I watched them from my window. They packed the car—my neighbor's kids. They struggled to get the big box in the trunk. They kept going into the house and coming out with little sacks, suitcases and coffee cups. I assumed she lived next door—or at least their parent’s did. I assumed he was her boyfriend. Finally, at long last, the car was crammed, parents came out to the car—hugging her first—tight and long—and then the boy. They got in the car and drove off—and the parents just stood looking as the car moved on down the road and faded from sight.

We did the same thing at our house days earlier. We helped them pack the car, walked the dog and then it was time for them to go. We hugged them both just as our neighbors had done their child. There was a lump in our throats and theirs, too I guess. It was all over, this Christmas. This old weary year was passing fast. We stood there as their car moved down our street for other places—school and job and the yet unknown. We turned slowly and made our way back into the house. Empty now. No neurotic dog. No loud music. No clicking of the endless text messages. Just us two—with the sagging Christmas tree and the left-over ham and a garage piled high with boxes. 

This cold December the pages have turned like the old leaves that fell weeks ago. It all went too fast. This tired year and especially this Christmas. Miss Judy was right when she sang:  “Who knows where the time goes…” Who knows? And who knows what tomorrow will bring those neighbor kids—and our own that left us standing in the street.

Weeks, months from now we will remember how good it seemed back there at Christmas. We will take out our memories like the canned jars we put up last summer. And we will twist the tops and for just a moment we will know what matters and what is important. A tree and music. And a table stretched—with the big leaf in it—and chairs where we all sat and laughed and most of all—loved.

--Roger Lovette /

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