Happy Eve Morning

“A lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together” — Garrison Keillor

At the risk of sublime irreverence, there were a few years when the boys were little, that we had a Christmas tree each year.  They may not even remember for all I know, but I loved the whole process (up to taking the tree down and cleaning up the pine needles).  And may I say, they were magnificent.  Plaid bows, white lights, the boys’ names spelled in blocks underneath the tree.  I would sit on the couch at night and just feel bathed in the gentle glow – I would forget that I had no idea how to pay the electric bill, didn’t worry about how I would kite a check at the supermarket and didn’t mind making a pot of coffee out of grounds that had already been soaked once.  Sounds so stupid as I write this, but my sons were so little and I didn’t want them to feel that they would miss a thing (given that their bio-dad and I are of different religions we celebrated both holidays.  Ok, I celebrated both holidays.).

I hope their memories are happy ones.  I always return to the visual of them wrestling with these big purple/blue stuffed monsters and giggling.  He-Man and Shera.  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Pajamas with feet.  Care Bears and “The Muppet Movie“.  We had no money, but we weren’t poor.

This time of year is one which we all experience together.  Most of us show the better part of ourselves (with the exception of those bizarre people who end up fighting in parking lots) and I like that.  I feel the exhausted anticipation in the air, the rush for people to be together.  The Salvation Army bell ringers outside the supermarket (who receives money from me every time I exit – I can’t help it – by the end of the season we’re on a first name basis).  I don’t get tired of the holiday music, parents invoking the all-seeing, all-knowing Santa as an effective means of getting little ones to hold their tantrums until they get home.  I cry each time I hear “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas“.  Such a sap.

Tomorrow Andy and I will join our brethren and grab some Chinese food and see an early movie.  I will be particularly sensitive to the silence in the morning, for it is a different sound than that of a typical morning.  And I will listen respectfully.  To those who celebrate Christmas, my wish is the same as every year – may you receive all that you wish for and may you wish for all that you have.  And to those who just allow themselves to be enveloped in a blanket of goodwill – snuggle in and enjoy it, extend it and I’ll see you at the movies.

“How To Be Perfect”

English: Logo of NPR News.
English: Logo of NPR News. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wednesday morning, driving to the gym and listening to NPR.  At that hour of the morning, Garrison Keillor presents ‘The Writer’s Almanac‘ providing interesting factoids about authors that would ensure victory in a game of Trivial Pursuit, if only I would remember them.  He then reads from the ‘Poet’s Corner‘ – and I literally had to pull over to listen to his gentle voice intone excerpts from Ron Padgett‘s poem “How To Be Perfect”.  Given my post yesterday, the juxtaposition was almost eerie and definitely surprising in the best of all possible ways.  I wanted to share it with you, for in keeping with the belief that we could be a bit kinder to ourselves in many areas and more honest with ourselves in others – there is no one who can communicate this like Ron Padgett.

Excerpts from “How To Be Perfect”

Get some sleep.

Eat an orange every morning.

Be friendly.  It will help make you happy.

Hope for everything.  Expect nothing.

 

Take care of things close to home first.  Straighten your room

before you save the world.  Then save the world.

Be nice to people before they have a chance to behave badly.

 

Don’t stay angry about anything, for more than a week, but don’t

forget what made you angry.  Hold you anger at arm’s length

and look at it. as if it were a glass ball.  Then add it to your glass

ball collection.

 

Wear comfortable shoes.

Do not spend too much time with large groups of people.

Plan your day so you never have to rush.

 

Show your appreciation to people who do things for you, even if

you have paid them, even if they do favors you don’t want.

 

After dinner, wash the dishes.

Calm down.

Don’t expect your children to love you, so they can, if they want to.

Don’t be too self-critical or too self-congratulatory.

Don’t think progress exists.  It doesn’t.
Imagine what you would like to see happen, and then don’t do

anything to make it impossible.

Forgive your country every once in a while.  If that is not

possible, go to another one.

 

If you feel tired, rest.

Don’t be depressed about growing older.  It will make you feel

even older.  Which is depressing.

Do one thing at a time.

 

If you burn your finger, put ice on it immediately.  If you bang

your finger with a hammer, hold your hand in the air for 20

minutes.  You will be surprised by the curative powers of ice and

gravity.

 

Do not inhale smoke.

Take a deep breath.

Do not smart off to a policeman.

Be good.

Be honest with yourself, diplomatic with others.

Do not go crazy a lot.  It’s a waste of time.

Drink plenty of water.  When asked what you would like to

drink, say, “Water, please.”

 

Take out the trash.

Love life.

Use exact change.

When there’s shooting in the street, don’t go near the window.

 

Lots to think about, lots more to smile about.  Please let me know if this struck you as wonderfully as it affected me.  Here’s to a fun-filled, thoughtful Thursday!