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"Tropical Depression" https://www.amzn.com/B0BTPN7NYY
On Friday, December 15, ten days before Christmas, I arrived home from a wonderful visit with my daughter and son-in-law in Chicago.
Before the day was done I came down with a cough, a positive COVID test, and the sinking feeling that Christmas was shot.
My daughter from Chicago was due to arrive on December 23 and my daughter from Los Angeles was due to arrive with her husband and children on Christmas Eve. My son and his wife would be back from Christmas with his in-laws on December 26. I was planning a beautiful family Christmas, full of food, laughter, and cozy holiday gemütlichkeit. What I read in the pink line on that COVID test card was, Ain't gonna happen.
And, indeed, it didn't happen. My loved ones sorrowfully cancelled their plans and plane reservations, and I sorrowfully gagged down my PAXLOVID, which gave me a horrible case of PAXLOVID mouth and three days of nausea, but did, nonetheless, knock out the COVID symptoms.
By Wednesday, December 20, I tested COVID negative and was feeling bad that I felt so well. But I decided I'd make the best of the situation. Though we'd be missing two of our daughters and our son, our local daughter would be here for Christmas, though she was feeling equally bummed that her siblings and nieces wouldn't be coming.
And so over the next couple of days I set myself to the task of creating Christmas cheer, buying a tree, decorating the house and making plans for fun things for the three of us to do, like going to see the downtown lights and eating Christmas dinner out at a Japanese steakhouse and making some fancy desserts. But my whirl of holiday activity was doing little to lift me from my holiday blahs.
I found myself engaged in magical thinking: If I got the house looking Christmasy enough,
...and hung up everybody's stockings,
...and if we rustled up the outdoor decorations,
...then my out-of-town children and grand children would somehow miraculously show up on Christmas Eve.
And yet I knew they weren't really coming. My Los Angeles daughter was down with a non-COVID cold and my Chicago daughter had rearranged her schedule to work over Christmas and all my magical thinking was accomplishing was to make me feel more blue.
But on Friday, December 22 my mate Tom was talking over the backyard fence with one of our neighbors. Our neighbor had just lost a loved one, was suffering from a case of bronchitis, and, like us, would now be spending Christmas without their children or grandchildren, all of whom were sick.
When Tom told me about our neighbor it hit me: I'm not the only person feeling lonely and blue. There's a whole world of people out there who could use some holiday cheer. I couldn't change anyone's life or bring their loved ones to them. But I could bring them cookies.
I shook off my doldrums and zipped out to Kroger's to buy ingredients for cookies and for chicken soup, a batch of which I soon after whipped up with some hot rolls to deliver to my sick neighbor.
That night my daughter and I - my daughter had been indulging in a bit of magical thinking herself - cranked up the Mariah Carey Christmas album, threw off our magical thinking and instead threw ourselves into a two-day Christmas cookie-baking marathon.
And as the batches of cookies grew,
...behold, our doldrums took off and our Christmas spirit arrived. For us, these were the cookies that saved Christmas.
My daughter and I finished up our baking on the afternoon of December 24 and began putting together the cookie plates.
The finished product:
I also lit my bayberry candle, which I burn every Christmas Eve, a tradition passed on from my mother, who used to say:
On Christmas Eve, a bayberry candle burned down to the socket
Brings health to the body and wealth to the pocket.
By late afternoon I was hurrying around the neighborhood surprising folks with plates of Christmas cookies. I don't know if any of those to whom we gave cookies were necessarily feeling any holiday sadness, but the cookies were appreciated and in any case we figured they gave the recipients a boost of holiday cheer, as giving the cookies gave us.
I also gave away to a friend whose grand children were visiting the gingerbread houses - with all the extra fixings - that I'd bought for my grand daughters to make.
I'd also bought for my grand daughters some chocolate Christmas tree ornamnets which I gave away to a neighbor's children.
After all the cookies and other treats were delivered it was time to start setting up the luminaries on our block, as our family does every Christmas Eve.
When the luminaries were set up and the street was all aglow, we had our Christmas Eve dinner of pasta, stuffed mushrooms, shrimp and hot rolls.
After dinner my daughter and I went for a walk around the neighborhood to enjoy the lights on this the clear, balmy night, where all was calm,
...and all was bright.
Then the three of us settled in the watch "Christmas Vacation," one of those movies that, no matter how many times you see it, still delivers the tear-inducing laughs.
After the movie I gave my email a quick glance before heading for bed. What I saw made me do a double take...it was a Christmas miracle!
To be continued...
by Patti Liszkay
Buy it on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BTPN7NYY
by Patti Liszkay
Buy it on Amazon:
"Equal And Opposite Reactions"
by Patti Liszkay
Buy it on Amazon:
The Book Loft
of German Village,
Or check it out at the Columbus Metropolitan Library
I am a traveler just visiting this planet and reporting various and sundry observations,
hopefully of interest to my fellow travelers.