Sunday, December 21, 2014

Good Morning Jessicca

Letter to my Daughter
Sunday, 21 December

Marcella and Jeremy

Good Morning Jessicca…

Four days until Christmas and I think I am about finished with my shopping.  Last year I was making last minute decisions Christmas Eve, which is more like me.  I rely on something catching my eye.  That’s different!  It may or may not be but, whatever it is, it stands apart from what I’ve been wading through looking around for what feels right.  Picking out a gift is always very personal.  That means I have to like it.  Sure, it’s not for me but I’m not going to purchase a gift strictly on the basis of hoping they find something appealing about it while I can’t imagine what they would see in it.  That’s aiming in the dark.  The gift one purchases should always reflect something of the person giving it.  We feel good giving it partly because we see the value in what is being given.  Then we hope they like it because it is important they are happy with the gift because they are important to us.  It’s a gift because it is given with the best intentions to a loved one or sincere friend.  A gift does not involve the self-serving quid pro quo of a business arrangement.  You know the best kind of gift?  Your child gives their special crayon drawing to you along with some dandelion flowers.   It’s straight from one heart to another.  Perfect.

Your big brother Jeremy is headed to Europe with his wife, Marcella, just after Christmas.  They will be visiting her family.  I hope they have a wonderful time but I always worry just a bit.  My mind always contains a list of things that may go wrong.  I’m reminded of the many evils in life.  I become especially superstitious.  I’m helpless in determining events large and small.  Plane accidents, terrorist acts, car wrecks, matters of the heart… I have no say in preventing any of these horrors.  I can’t even prepare myself for the shock.  I’m always blindsided.  I suspect I shouldn’t even be writing of such things.  Vapors from Hell are released with the slightest pretext.

When I was very young I went with my grandparents to the wedding of a cousin.  We stayed for a bit of the celebration afterwards and then we headed home.  It was a long drive.  Once we arrived a neighbor came by to say a message awaited us at the telephone company.  My grandparents didn’t have a phone so we drove to the nearest town having the phone company office.   A woman at the switchboard passed along the message.  Evelyn and her new husband had died in a plane crash.  It had rained the night before.  Apparently moisture had gotten into the fuel system and the plane stalled on takeoff, crashing into trees near the end of the runway.  My grandmother was beside herself.  Her sister’s daughter was gone.  The honeymoon would be postponed. 

Jeremy came to visit me a little over a year ago.  He’s quite tall, a couple inches more than me.  We had a cookout in the backyard the day after he arrived.  I remember he wore a t-shirt with birds on the front – finches and such, with their names beneath their picture.  He was among strangers but his conversation blended in effortlessly with the topics of interest to these people.  He has a natural reserve but it seemed appealing.  He appeared open to accepting everyone on their own terms.  Where he was comfortable I might have felt on trial.  I marvel at how well he handles people and situations.  He’s not like me. 

Christmas is still a bigger family event than Thanksgiving.  Both are bigger than the Fourth of July.  It’s arguable but I think Easter is a close fourth.  Thanksgiving definitely brings extended family together.  So do the others but maybe to a lesser degree.   Still, these all seem family oriented holidays.  The joy feels artificial without loved ones around.  There’s just no amount of hoopla and drinking that will make the day truly festive.  We simply need these times to connect with the people that matter most.  Merry Christmas.


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