Sunday, December 27, 2015

My brain on Christmas cheer

Sometimes I sit down to blog, and I experience my Mary Bennett problem: "Mary wished to say something sensible, but knew not how." Sometimes you could switch in the word "witty" or "profound" for "sensible."

The secular Christmas season is ended, and the liturgical Christmas season has begun. Today is the third day of Christmas, per the song. No one has sent me three French hens. Yesterday I did not receive two turtle doves, and, of course, on Christmas Day, no partridge in a pear tree made an appearance. John Julius Norwich wrote a funny little book about this song.

It's all the thank-you notes from woman receiving the gifts. She starts out charmed and delighted and by the end her lawyer is writing on her behalf. Some years, some local musicians and a reader form an ensemble called Noel that performs throughout Whatcom County in the weeks before Christmas. They wear Renaissance costumes, play beautiful instrumental versions of Christmas songs and carols, and the reader reads poems in between the musical pieces. The reader is a talented lady with a British accent who really gets the most out of the poems, and this one, the Norwich Twelve Days, is always a huge hit, and the audience is roaring with laughter by the end.

This year, Noel did not perform. Every few years, they take a year off, and I suppose one can't blame them. Whenever they do perform, I make it a priority to attend their Lynden concert.

I missed a couple local seasonal events this year, just by forgetfulness. On the first Saturday of December, Lynden always has a lighted parade. Local businesses decorate their vehicles with lights and drive up Front Street in the evening, when it's dark out. My dear friend, who plays violin for Noel when they do perform, lives on Front Street, and she and her husband open their house to any friends who would like to watch the parade from their front porch. It's great, because one doesn't have to stand freezing out on the sidewalk for the duration. One steps out on the porch, with "a cup of what you fancy" in hand, watches until cold, then goes inside to eat some hors d'oeuvres and refill the cup of cheer. It's gezellig.

The Lighted Christmas Parade in a year when my memory functioned better than now

I was going to go, but when it was time to go I simply did not remember. I was in my pajamas and settled down to knit or read or whatever before I recalled the event.

A few weeks later, the friend sent out notice that members of the Lynden Music Festival were going to hold a Christmas performance. I made sure to enquire for the exact time, then, again, completely forgot about it when it was time. So it goes.

Another seasonal moment occurred one morning when I stopped at a store on my way to work to buy some supplies for my office. I loaded the purchases into my car and started the engine. As I backed out, my CD player kicked into action with the Christmas music I had cranked up for highway speed. One moment silence, then the roar of an organ and full choir "YOU MERRY GENTLEMEN LET NOTHING YE DISMAY!" But I was dismayed and in a panic groped at my dashboard desperately trying to end the noise. I ended up pushing the button that stops and starts the engine, killing both the noise and the motor. My new car's controls are still not familiar enough to me to be instinctual. I think I was trying to push a power button for a radio/sound system as in my old car, but in my new car the sound system controls are found either on a touch screen or a couple of toggles on the steering wheel. Fortunately, I was not in a dangerous place, just partway backed out of a parking spot at Cash & Carry. I sheepishly restarted the engine, turned off the music, and drove quietly to the office.

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