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19 December 2015 – Have to giggle at G’s muddled exposé. A grand if jumpy telling. Must’ve taken him hours. Silly boy. It’s lovely to read. Especially the fickle folk bit. But then I’m biased. Regarding my mood though, about all he had right was that I wasn’t looking forward to going in to work that morning.

Pat, the spiteful hag he alludes to, isn’t really so bad. Just been at her job a long time. (Over 30 years!) In this respect, yes, she is miserable. No denying that. And yes, she can be a bit overbearing at times and is more often than not unnecessarily short with patrons, if not downright rude. But generally she keeps to herself and idles through the day interacting with as few people as possible, ipso facto doing as little ‘work’ as possible. It’s only when she has to deal with atypical requests or has been called away from crosswords or the card game she plays on the computer that her ugly side comes out.

At which point you either go to the washroom or suggest she go for a smoke.

Swirling curlicues.

So, while it is true that I didn’t want to go to work that morning (ostensibly because I’d be working with Pat), the crucial (and missing) piece of information is why.

See now the thing of it is that I only work twice a week with Pat. Tuesdays and Thursdays. That morning was a Tuesday. Toward the end of the previous Thursday I’d discovered a stash of Christmas decorations in storage—for a Christmas fool such as I this was as delightful as presents under a tree on the morning of the day itself. In my excitement I brought the boxes to the front desk and set about rummaging. Pat was’t at all keen. She humphed and sighed and, over the top of her reading glasses, said she hoped I didn’t expect her to clean up any mess I might make. To keep the peace I packed everything away and neatly stowed the boxes aside for my next shift. Crossing my fingers that in the meantime she wouldn’t have a scrooge attack and throw out the boxes or otherwise commit a vile act of Christmas sabotage.

Nothing of the sort happened. The boxes were where I’d left them. Pat was her customarily disinclined self. Leaving me alone to play with the decorations. Once I’d started putting them up the whole place seemed to brighten. Some of our regulars lent a hand and by late morning, miracle of miracles, even Pat got into it.

Which brings me to real reason I was out of sorts upon coming home last Tuesday.

After such an uplifting day making the magic of Christmas happen at work it was a bit of letdown to not see any indication of Christmas at home.

Boo hoo.

As it turned out G and Liz had every intention of bringing Christmas home. They’d bought lights and decorations and had a tree hidden away in the greenhouse out back. The initial plan was for Liz to keep me occupied for the afternoon two Sundays ago, giving G the necessary time to prepare my surprise. Unfortunately, when the day arrived G couldn’t get out of bed.

Fast forward to last Friday.

Came home to Christmas lights on the front of the house. Such a surprise I did a double-take as I was coming up the walk.

Noticing the lights was one thing. And a nicely glowing thing at that. But the split-second of stalled momentum also opened my eyes to a deeper awareness: this will probably be the first Christmas I won’t spend at the house I grew up in.

I continued up the walk. Admiring the lights (blue icicles) and feeling warm about G putting them up—Christmas so far as he and Liz have known it has never been about celebrating the season or associated yuletide ephemera (Santa, elves, stockings, reindeer, sleighs, jingling bells, spiked and nutmeg dusted eggnog, turkey and ham, advent calendars, trees, tinsel, stars, shiny and frosted baubles, nativity scenes—or even snow, for that matter). Family and gift-giving, yes, but otherwise none of the home and hearth stuff I have such fond memories of.

Not that it’s been particularly festive the last few years. Dad still likes to get the house all done up and brings out all the old decorations etc. But it hasn’t felt the same since Marcus passed and the relationship between mom and dad started falling apart.

All the more reason to feel grateful for G and Liz.

Who, as I got in the front door, were in the acts of rocking out to Thin Lizzy and plugging in the lights they’d just wrapped around our very own (and real) Christmas tree.

They looked like I’d caught them with their pants down.

Bless their home-making hearts.

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