Wednesday, November 24, 2010


So I love my 4 wheel drive SUV this morning. These past few days its been worth every inch of its gas guzzling carbon footprint. For those of you not from the area, we’ve been dealing with another crippling blast of winter here in Seattle. Snow, ice and 50 mile an hour winds combined with hills, a general fear and unfamiliarity with such occurrences has not been a welcome addition to the holiday season here. As I walked up to the door of my beachfront caffeine stop I was trying to figure out what the nasty film was that covered the entire storefront. My brilliant powers of deductive reasoning, along with a swiped finger on my tongue, told me that it was a layer of salt spray from the water a hundred yards away. As someone who has experienced the blizzards of the Midwest and the deep snows of the Northeast, I would have to admit that this storm was impressive. So strong and so much like a true winter memory it was that it drove me to the unthinkable.
Over the past few weeks I have noticed an unusually large number of people that I know chattering about listening to Christmas music and even decorating for Christmas. Of course the stores have been pushing it since Labor Day but lately it seemed as if everywhere I turned and in every Facebook post from a far off friend I read, people were drinking the kool aid. It was like nails on a blackboard. Even my daughter, in her newlywed, first Christmas excitement, has had her tree up for 2 weeks now. That one actually didn’t surprise me because when she was little I had to hide the collection of Christmas movies or she began watching them in July.
Anyway, as I said earlier, the storm the other night had so much winter intensity that I lost all equilibrium and judgment. In the height of the storm, as it was obvious that my wife and I were in for the night, I suggested the unthinkable. Actually I think that I just kind of wondered out loud what it might be like to be engaged in our Christmas conversion while it was snowing outside. In my defense, it really has never happened for us since leaving New York. That’s all that it took…that and me being willing to drag myself through the blinding snow and freezing squalls, attached to a lifeline between the house and garage. Well, ok… a bit dramatic, but I did have to bring a flashlight. And just like that, while friends were enduring literally hours on mass transit trying to get to their homes, we converted ours. A couple of evenings dancing with ornaments and we are all done for the season. All this and its not even Thanksgiving.
I confess that I still feel a bit guilty. I don’t know if I’d ever do it again…even if it does seem like everyone’s doing it. In my earlier Catholic days I would probably even consider this a confession inducing event. It seems like we have just really begun to focus on what Christmas really means in our lives and now I may have just begun down the slippery slope of holiday mixing. Right now I’m supposed to be focusing on being thankful for whatever it is that the public schools say it is ok for us to be thankful for. I didn’t want that to confuse that with the clarity of the Christmas/Hanukkah/Bodhi Day/Solstice/Kwanzaa holidays. I’m trying to focus here. With all of the inner turmoil going on inside of me on this ridiculously cold morning I will admit to one thing. It sure is beautiful.

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