Christmas Past, and a memory

I found it very hard to feel any real “holiday spirit” this year.  The holidays have become a seemingly endless crassly commercialized pain in the ass as far as I am concerned.  Between the ceaseless drone of seasonal music starting far too early in November to the in-your-face decorations going up well before Thanksgiving to the constant howling of advertisers exhorting me to BUYBUYBUY whether I want to or have the funds to do so — well, I feel like echoing The Grinch, howling “all that noise, Noise, NOISE, NOISE!”

But it’s now December 26th.  I’ve done my annual pound-cake-baking-binge for my family and friends; I’ve given the gifts I’ve chosen to the ones I love without going overboard; I’ve done more than enough of the essential socializing. Now I can pretty well stay holed up in my lair and rest until after the New Year and let life get back to normal…trying still to simplify and organize to make that life better still.

As I was baking yesterday, I thought back to the day after my grandmother Dot passed away (four years ago next month).  My sisters and I were all waiting until the next day to head down to Tallahassee, since there was no longer any rush to get there.  As we touched base with each other and with our aunt Lynda during that day, we were all doing the same thing — cooking.  I don’t know if you have to be Southern to really get it, but even though none of us are that much for cooking, we all had the same instinctive reaction.  Get in the kitchen.  Perhaps it was, in some sense, a way of honoring Dot ; I remember that after the service for Mac, my grandfather, we came back to their house and she herself headed straight for her kitchen, put on her apron, and got busy despite our initial urgings to sit down and rest.  Lynda and I, at least, understood what she was doing and why.

These days I don’t cook a whole lot, but when I do, I often think of her.