Guest Author # 8
The best of my Christmases were those of very early childhood - when life was pure, uncomplicated, blessedly innocent: the enchantment of silver tinsel, colored lights, reflections in Christmas balls. The anticipation of Santa and new toys. And snow. Falling soundlessly in the magical night. When I was five, we moved three thousand miles away to the Pacific Coast. My first Southern California Christmas was in the sleepy town of Glendora. In the fertile foothills of the mountains amidst orange groves, lemon trees, date palms. Snow-capped Mount Baldy in the background. Postcard perfect in those days. Christmas decorations shimmering uncomfortably in the warm, eternal sunshine.
Later, the magic of Christmas vanished along with the innocence of youth. Somehow the holiday season regressed to nothing more than a time of overwhelming sadness, which only served to reflect the chaos and unhappiness that was suffocating my existence. The endless battle with my father's insane violence which, ironically, often peaked at this peaceful time of year.
There were Christmases that I can hardly bear to remember: the cold, foggy Christmas Eve when we had to hide in the farthest depths of the yard, scarcely daring to breathe, for fear that my father would kill us in his drunken rage. The terror. The beatings. He'd locked my mother and I out of the house and there was nowhere to go. Nowhere.....
Yet another Christmas Eve when my father left us penniless. We had no clue where he was or if he'd ever be back. Somehow his absence was a blessed gift........a rare gift of unobtainable peace. But I was very sick with a high fever and a cough that rapidly developed into pneumonia. In a hospital, an adverse reaction to penicillin almost took my life. When I awoke from unconsciousness, I was strangely sorry to be alive......
Other Christmases pass in distant memories (like a faded Christmas card packed away in a forgotten place). Christmas Eve alone on the mist-drenched streets of Hollywood. Me, nineteen and pretending to be tough. With a bottle of whiskey in my coat pocket and a switchblade in my boot. Chain-smoking. A fallen angel in a midnight cowboy disguise. Later, quenching the loneliness in the arms of yet another stranger......
Merry Christmas, whoever you are.........
But there were other Christmases, much more gentle and easily remembered: Los Angeles winter nights that were warm with the richness of golden memories. The opera, the ballet, concerts at the Music Center. Me, playing the harpsichord in a lavish production of Handel's Messiah. Me, performing an endless succession of piano recitals. Wonderful friends, unforgettable lovers. Some of the most interesting people I've ever known. Los Angeles at it's vintage best.
Later, in another time and place, an exquisite Christmas Eve in the mountains of New Mexico. A classic adobe church, the altar ablaze with candles, reflections in stained glass, the angelic sweetness of the choir. Soft, feathery snow falling in the depths of a blessedly peaceful midnight.
And it inevitably comes full-circle: another Christmas, a West Texas Christmas. A time to cast aside the unending burden of life's trials and tribulations and find the peace that was always within me. A time to savor and be thankful - - truly thankful for the friends and family that I have. A time, not for the accumulation of monetary gifts, but rather of spiritual gifts. Christmas is merely a grand illusion. It is what we want it to be and what we will it to be. It is in our hearts........
This is an invitation for anyone and everyone to post a entry of their own on my journal, Vagabond Journeys http://vagabondjourneys.blogspot.com/.
The end of the year holidays are soon upon us and since it is a time for celebrations, remembrances, resolutions and plans for the future I know that people have a lot to say.
Not to take away from the postings on your journals, but to add to the joy of my own celebrations is why I invite you to write for mine.
I want to read what your thoughts are about this magical time of the year. This invitation is open to everyone: Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Pagans, Agnostics, Atheists and the Uncertain.
Tell me your thoughts on Chanukah, Christmas, Ashura, Kwanzaa, the Winter Solstice, New Years Eve. or any subject you wish or associate with this holiday season.
There are no limits in regard to length. The only limitation is that, for reasons so far unexplained to me, my blog does not take photographs, animations, videos or pictures of any kind. I deal in words.
Please accept my invitation. Send your entry to my email address firstname.lastname@example.org I will copy and paste it into my journal and it will be displayed promptly. You may sign your name or not as you wish, and you may leave a link to your blog or your email or not, as you wish. I will do NO editing or censoring. Eloquence is not necessary, mind or heart or both is all.
All are welcome. Admission is free.