Random thoughts on Christmas Day


My own history will probably never be studied, unless I stop procrastinating and start writing. Sometimes I wish I had had Facebook for the first 60 years of my life. Is this a conceit? Yes! An elaborate metaphor. Exactly what I need. Just imagine 8 year old Ingrid posting a Christmas status: Mommy bought Karen and I matching dresses for Christmas!


Before you worry that this is going to be a sad posting, I’ll fast forward to the Christmas when I cooked my own goose. No picture. Just the memory of the smell of burning goose fat filling the house after I punctured the ridiculously lightweight aluminum roasting pan with my fork. My ex-husband was not amused. Somehow I remember rescuing enough of the bird for dinner.

OK. Happy memory followed by sad memory.

Another happy memory. I’m in Perth Amboy, with my Jewish mother. It’s Christmas Eve and I tell her that I want to go to St. Peter’s Episcopal for midnight mass. Well, my mother (who never goes out after dark any more) says she’ll come with me. We sit in a pew, closer than we’ve ever been, or, perhaps, ever will be again. The choir comes in, led by Austin Gumbs, my favourite teacher, and I think my heart is going to burst.

More happy. I’m at Karen’s, testing strings of lights for one of her two beautiful Christmas trees. She keeps sending Henry out for more lights. Was this just a year ago? It seems a lifetime ago. Her lifetime ago. But I bought a string of lights this year to decorate the tree I’ve nurtured from wee little indoor tree to the six foot sweetheart in my front yard.

I’ve re-centred my life this year around my own family, especially my amazing four grandsons: Tristan, Jager, Ash and Kai. I want them to remember their Oma years from now when I am on the far away shore. My favourite Christmas present this year is Murit, the elephant I fostered for Tristan at Kenya’s Sheldrick sanctuary. I hope I’m here on this wonderful planet long enough to give each of my grandsons an elephant they can read about every month. Because elephants never forget.

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