I walked down the block for the sunrise the other day. I’d sort of forgotten about this little park, and the charming little chalk drawings I used to see there sometimes. The last time I was there was the day after a hard rain, and the whole surface was fresh and clean, looked brand new. But this time I saw images that made me smile.
The cute faces in chalk were hard to miss. But when I saw this photo I saw another smiley face lit up in the clouds. Or is it just me?
I’ve thought about buying myself some sidewalk chalk and leaving a message, but I’ve come to my senses. I may feel like I’m in my second childhood these days, but I’m old. I think I’d best leave these kids to their fun and just check in on them from time to time.
I have become a bah humbug sort of person. I don’t say that proudly, or lightly even. I grew up with a reverence for the day we celebrate the birth of Christ, and I loved making Christmas for my own kids through the years. Growing up in a big Italian family there were many treats to be had at Christmas that we didn’t see for the rest of the year. As the daughter of a fireman and a nurse I spent the major holidays at my aunt’s house, with my working parents coming and going, plus lots of relatives dropping in to visit. Special times that I couldn’t have appreciated at the time what treasured memories they would turn out to be. So when I got married and moved away I did my best to recreate the holidays I treasured. I made lasagna for Christmas dinner, something the family had switched over to some time in my preteen years when they decided that they were ITALIAN, for goodness sake, and weren’t going to duplicate the Thanksgiving dinner at Christmas anymore. I made the Italian cookies that are flavored with anise. I made strufoli, the tiny honey balls we only had at Christmas, and, when I could find it, I bought Torrone, a nougat candy that came in individual boxes that were exquisite little works of art in themselves. For many years Christmas was a wonderful time of year. But those days are long past, the kids are grown and gone, and even the grandchildren are grown. It feels like the media has taken over all aspects of life, including the holiday, and you can’t escape the pressure to be HAPPY, to spend more and more money. The meaning is lost, hence bah humbug.
With my bad attitude I have disappointed the new special person in my life who still treasures Christmas. Our first Christmas together and he didn’t expect my usual light-hearted self to just want to get this whole thing over with. We will visit his relatives for Christmas, and when a discussion of what to have for Christmas dinner came up my offer to make lasagna was accepted. That perked me up a little. It really warmed my heart when my daughter said that she is making lasagna for her crew too, and she is making strufoli for the first time in years! Now I will make strufoli too. I collected all my recipes yesterday, and my friend wanted to stop at the nice Italian deli near him, and I wondered out loud if I might find Torrone there. Boy, did I ever! Torrone in the little boxes. Torrone cut into wedges like a slice of layer cake, some topped with chocolate! Torrone packaged in the shape of Christmas trees! I stood there with my mouth open, and possibly drooling, as every where I turned I found Torrone. So, yes, I did find Torrone, and I think I might have found my Christmas spirit too.
The feature photo is a display of containers of strufoli, larger honey balls than the ones we used to make, but it made me happy to see my familiar treats. I wrote this post early yesterday, before a heart-warming (and tear-jerking) message from my daughter showed up online. I was already on my way to finding that elusive Christmas spirit, and now I’m happy to say that my strufoli is made, and my lasagna is coming together. So let me wish a Merry Christmas to all with a happy heart. And the new year? Well, there is always hope…
I was missing my grandfather’s house yesterday. The gorgeous cloud formations made me remember laying on my back on the lawn, watching the clouds drift by and seeing what surprises I could find in them. I saw a happy little face off to the right in the feature photo.
Of course by the time I got home and could have laid in the grass the pretty clouds were close to the horizon and the dark clouds were taking over, and I could hear thunder…
“We never go out to play!”, that was my lament back before Charley and I ever retired. I wanted to go out and have fun, and so I daydreamed about all the fun we’d have when we moved to Florida and had all this time on our hands. I wanted to go biking together, and kayaking seemed like a lot of fun even though I’d never done it. There were state parks to visit, we’d go hiking, and the best thing of all is it would be free, or nearly so. These were my thoughts, but I’m not sure I ever spoke them out loud. We did ride the bikes around the block a few times, but that was about it for outdoor activities together.
And that playful moment may have passed because now when I see people having what looks like fun to me I quickly realize that as much fun as it may appear to be I couldn’t possibly manage to do that anymore. If I ever could.
And now it has hit me that if that was me hanging from these ropes then I couldn’t be taking pictures of my fellow playmates while they are doing the impossible, dare-devil, maneuvers. So maybe it’s okay that I can’t do the things I could once do. But maybe seeing other people having fun is even more fun for me as I watch, through the lens…
Day one of early voting in Florida found me in a socially distanced line waiting to vote, which is all I have to say about this election. The first election that I actually remember was the 1956 election. I was turning eight, and horrified to realize that Eisenhower might not continue to be president. Since I thought life was just perfect as it was I worried that he wouldn’t be re-elected. Or they could elect my daddy, I thought that would be a dandy idea also. Next up was the 1960 election of JFK, a big deal in MA of course, so that left a lasting impression. But with a voting age of 21, and due to my July birthday, the first election I was able to vote in was the 1972 election. I was living in San Diego at the time, so waiting for my husband to get home from work meant that Nixon had already been declared the winner before I went out and voted with my home state, the only state to go for McGovern.
To be honest I had to look up a list of the presidential elections after that to remind myself who ran, who was elected, and who I voted for. I’m only batting 500, but I actually thought it was worse than that, and for me most of those elections came and went without a lot of emotion on my part. Probably the most memorable one was the 2000 Bush/Gore election, which isn’t surprising. But it so happened that a friend of the family was on the Bush election team, which is probably why my two oldest grandkids were very aware of the election and excited about it. We walked to the polls to vote that morning, the kids rode their new scooters and we were going to McDonald’s for breakfast afterwards. The line was just long enough for it to seem like an event, but not so long that the kids got bored. They were allowed into the polling booth with me and they were given their own “I voted” stickers. For this grandmother it was the perfect educational moment, I just loved everything about that day, until the vote count. It was educational in an entirely unexpected way when my grandson asked me several weeks later, “Hey Mimi, did they ever figure out who won that election?”
The story of this election is still to be written… God bless America…