“Do you really want to look back at your life and see how wonderful it could have been had you not been afraid to live it?” – Caroline Myss
Today brings is a mishmash of good emotions. I spent this Christmas with my ex-boyfriend, the man I lived with for the last two years and have known since I was twenty-two. Decidedly too bull headed to live together, we happily gathered for the holiday with his mother, Rosanne Thomas, his stepmother Harriet Swart and her boyfriend Sam Hawkins, all three gems, precious people. Theresa Williams of Solaris Gallery came by with her ex-husband, (also decidedly too bull headed to stay together). Susan Stewart and her beautiful daughter Lucy, who was one of my first English literature students, and her friend joined in. My cousin Matthew granted a rare appearance and my friend and bookstore partner Tuesday Knight brought her own personal touch of glamour. My crazy, kooky friend Warren Seabury, who accompanied me on a drive from Los Angeles to Versailles a decade ago in a Penski Truck with my furniture and never left, rounded out the eclectic mix.
In front of a giant fire, we feasted on smoked turkey, stuffing, green beans and mashed potatoes prepared by the Marathon Gas Station on Lexington Street. We counted on those fabulous cooks not only for Thanksgiving this year but also Christmas. The ease of picking up everything prepared from a place people stop by all year round for home cooked delights was too appealing not to turn down this extra busy season. There was not a guest or family member not oohing and ahhing over their fabulous food.
I actually love cooking for the holidays. My specialty is stuffing the turkey with an onion and a few stalks of celery and covering it with Maple syrup and other spices. This year I opted for just making my famous salad, rather my grandmother’s famous salad, a mix of head lettuce, lots of tomatoes, onions, celery, parsley flakes, a giant heaping of cottage cheese and an equally giant
helping of Miracle Whip, salt, pepper and Ta Da! It’s delicious.
Every year is different and special in its own way. This was an impromptu gathering and one that I did not plan or fuss over until an hour before everyone arrived. Around noon, we pulled some couches close to the fireplace, lit a few candles, placed some lavender roses on the coffee table and a lovely Christmas setting was created. There were no expectations but to fill everyone’s bellies with good food, share a hug and raise a glass to the day. Four or five hours later in the kitchen, cleaning up and chatting with Rosanne and Mark, I realized it was one of the best Christmas days ever. The three of us opened a few presents, fed the dogs and finished the dishes. I was in bed at 6:39 with Key Lime pie in my lap and fluffy dogs at my feet.
I’m reminded of a time packing up for another adventure when my father shook his head and said, “You are a traveling show.” Well, Daddy the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and I learned from a master, a master of loving adventure of all kinds and loving people of all kinds. Fittingly, there were all shapes and sizes of personalities this Christmas and I thank each and every one of them for their presence. Who knows who, what and where next year will bring us. I bet it will be interesting.
Now for this last week of 2017, it’s time to rest, reflect and look forward to a new year filled with possibilities. There will be new friends, connections with old ones and my latest endeavor, Rabbit House Books & Notions will hopefully morph into the fabulous bookstore and creative space it is so ripe to become. I pray this new year keeps my mother and loved ones safe and happy. I pray it keeps me safe and happy. In fact, blessings all around that it keeps you safe and happy too. Let us also remember what Caroline Myss said, wouldn’t it be a shame to wake up one day and realize we didn’t realize how wonderful life is when we actually live it.