Helen of Marlowe's Blog

Don’t read this – it’s bah, humbug

Posted in Holiday, Religion by helenofmarlowe on December 4, 2010

Marta said to me, I love this season!

I must have looked rather incredulous, because she then said, You don’t?

The winter season, the Christmas season.  How can I not love it?

How can I not love it? Let me count the ways.

Christmas is a celebration of things I do not love.

Consumption, for example.

I’ve never done my fair share to keep the American Corporatocracy jingling. There are few things I want that can be purchased and brought home in a bag. I avoid shopping malls like a cat avoids the jays. Why would I want to go somewhere in December that I avoid without fail for the other eleven months?

When asked what I’d like for Christmas by the good spirit who draws my name from the hat, I usually respond that I want a goat, and I want it sent to Heifer International. I do this in spite of Miss Manners’s lament that donating to charity “should be recognized for what it is: the demise of the ancient custom of good will expressed through symbolism.” Miss Manners is right, and I would love to celebrate Christmas the way Jane Austen did, with small handmade gifts. I don’t see this worthy tradition making a comeback.  More likely, I think,  Christmas will be reduced to an occasion for everyone to exchange a $30 gift card.

Snow in our back yard

My problem may be  that I am a creature of habit.   I don’t want to break my routine, a routine that works for me, and start stringing lights around the house and decorating a tree which, to my mind, is perfectly beautiful without any ornaments.

My radio stations, that I listen to all day while working/playing on my computer.  The symphonies, the piano concertos, are all, with the exception of Tchaikovsky’s wonderful Nutcracker, all replaced with a month of Christmas music.  We will go to a performance of Handel’s Messiah.

And did I mention the weather? And what the freeze does to the summer pleasures of sitting on the front porch, reading in the rocking chairs, with birds enjoying the safflower seeds that I sprinkle along the rails? Did I mention the weather, and what it does to the pleasures of summer gardening, bringing in eggplants, crookneck squash, zucchini, vine-ripe tomatoes? And walking barefoot in the grass? Did I mention what the winter weather does to the potted palms and cacti and petunias and impatiens that I cannot bring indoors, because our house is too small for all the plants that bask on the porch all summer? I choose, and some I have to leave out, knowing they will die. This year it is various hanging baskets.

The days are cold, and the days are short. And I am all a-grumble.

I do not like Christmas. There, I’ve said it.

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Thanksgiving it is

Posted in Holiday, Religion by helenofmarlowe on November 24, 2010

Tomorrow is the fourth Thursday of November, which means it is the day that we gather for Thanksgiving holiday. Sometimes people ask vegetarians what they eat on Thanksgiving. That’s easy. We’ll eat macaroni and cheese from my favorite recipe  and sweet potato casserole, and slaw and green beans and whatever the kids bring. My oldest son and his wife will bring a vegetable side dish and cranberry sauce. Our middle son with his family will bring deviled eggs and whatever strikes their fancy when the time comes. Our youngest and his wife will bring pies — Cynde makes the best pecan pies in the world, and although I have her recipe, I can’t make the pie (mine always runs, and so is more like pudding than pie).

Thanksgiving I believe had religious origins, but (much like Christmas?) is now a secular holiday, celebrated in North  America by people of all religious faiths and people of no religious faith.

There is much I am thankful for.

I have three good strong healthy sons who are good and responsible and successful people who have all kept their jobs during this time of 9% unemployment, and who are happy at least most of the time.

My husband plays the piano, and sings, and I stop what I’m doing and lie down on the sofa to listen. He writes beautiful poetry, and will be, on November 30th, the featured poet at the downtown central library in Winston-Salem. He was the guest speaker last night at AU (Americans United for Separation of Church and State), and it was a good group of good and interesting people. He takes my artwork around to the galleries and gift shops, because, although I love to make digital drawings with GIMP, and although I’ve won a number of honors and prizes in both local and national exhibits, I will never have enough self-confidence to approach a gallery and ask if they’d like to hang my work.

Much to be thankful for. We have almost three acres of wooded land right here in the city, with a creek, and nesting red-tailed hawks, and three hammocks and four bird feeders and rocking chairs on the front porch. And good neighbors.

And we have good healthy happy grandchildren, ranging in age from young adult (the oldest is already in University!) to very young child. Our youngest is three, and to our abiding delight, was named after my husband.

I have friends whom I love, and who forgive me most of my trespasses.

And now it is time to go shopping for macaroni, and cheese, and cabbage and fruit, and to start cooking for the people I love who will gather here tomorrow.

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