The wipers don't work and the horn don't blow,
But there ain't nothin' wrong with the radio.
Years ago I became accustomed to the fact that I would probably be spending the holidays alone. I was out of town working, or in transit, or filling a radio shift for an announcer who took a vacation day to be with his family.
In my youth the holidays were obligatory affairs. The coming together of a family that didn't particularly want to be together. Those who drank got drunk. The others either gossiped or fought with each other about something. The children, myself included, were bored, It perked up one year when my brother's kids were youngsters, But that was only once.
Frankly I was glad not to have to be a part of the so-called festivities. I was more content to be by myself. And so it has been most of my life.
There were exceptions. A couple of years ago I spent Christmas with a four star family of friends in Vermont. And several years ago I spent a few days with another family in California that turned unfriendly. Earlier this week I went to the local artists organization Christmas party and met some very nice people. But on the days of celebration I am usually alone.
I don't have plenty, no big Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, But I have enough. Sometimes not quite enough, but I make do with what I have. I don't have all the music I want or all the literature but what I have enables me to journey to great places where the joy of meeting and discovering new ideas happens. I can tuck myself into a corner of my small apartment, with a single lamp shining across my desk, a fresh cup of coffee and an open book. I am instantly with a friend, celebrating. It's a cozy way to spend New Years Eve or any other eve.
Some would say "But don't you miss the company of other people?" Of course I do. But I'm in the company of great thinkers and artists with the stimulating and inspiring conversations it brings me. And these friends never turn their backs on me. They may not always agree with each other, particularly about complex philosophical issues, but they are gracious and intelligent about it, They're my real family and I love them.
There's north country lore which says you can tell how much snow there's going to be in the winter by seeing how high the spiders are instinctively building their webs to prepare for it. I'm no spider (I am not!) but even before I knew what the weather forecast was I had the strong feeling I should stock up. So yesterday I went to the market and came back with enough groceries to take me into next week. Now I learn that beginning today we are going to have a major storm, the worst storm in 100 years according to the overly dramatic local meteorologists. Instinct is a wonderful thing.