Over the years the decking of my house has become more elaborate. Every room had its share of holiday decor – figurines, snow globes, even action figures. Of course there was also the tree, the lights, the porch ‘treatment’ & of course festive towels & linens. Friends would add ornaments to the magic. Much of it was done for our Christmas feast guests or friends who would drop by. Thanks to covid19 restrictions that isn’t going to happen to the same extent this year.
Perhaps that’s just as well so that I could give some of those things a rest. Let’s leave the snow globe collection in the box for change, what’s the point of that kitch crèche? As a result things remain in their bins & boxes. In fact as I sorted what to put out this year I tossed things. Thanks for the memories but bye bye.
Opting for simplicity meant less staple gun noise 🙂 The lights went up, the tree went up, the linens got washed & will be used but the bulk of the treasure remain in their bins & boxes. You know not having all that hanging tinsel is fine. Next year maybe they’ll get hung in the trees on the front lawn.
The festive lights remained a must though because they aren’t just for me, they are for everyone & anyone who sees them. This year, in out neighbourhood, they seem to have gone up sooner & gotten fancier. I’ve going out some nights after supper to do a walk around different blocks to enjoy them. I stopped to talk to one woman about her lights & she said, what I figured most people are thinking, ‘we need lights in this dark covid climate.’
Yes, let there be less interior clutter & more external light.
The Word Is
this was this word
I knew a child
it was Welsh or Gaelic
it meant love
a kind of love
I no longer experience
I learned it from a neighbour
of my grandmother’s
when I was visiting Wales
she gave me toast
with mayo and tomatoes
she baked the bread herself
I’ve never tasted bread like that again
sort of burned and peppery
I didn’t really like it
but I liked her
she taught me all these words
how to say things
I don’t remember
about plants playing
the in sunlight
about kittens saving puppies
she made me laugh
then I came back to Canada
all I could remember was that one word
the word I’ve forgotten
not just any kind of love
I used to feel for a boy in school
he wasn’t even in my class
I would feel it whenever I saw him
but when I didn’t see him
I didn’t even think of him
I never even knew his name
just the way his eyes would make me feel
even if he wasn’t looking at me
I’d spot him
and feel this yearning
not to know him
but just to look at him
to watch him
playing with the other boys
they would run shout tackle each other
if you asked me what I was feeling
I couldn’t tell you
I might have said that word
I no longer remember
for a feeling I no longer have
I can’t in my mind
beyond his eyes
all I see is this scramble of bodies
tussling in the school yard dirt
then us lining up to go back into the school
sitting in rows in the class room
trying to learn math
that feeling gone in the terror
of being asked to answer the teacher
I didn’t want to be there’
wanted to be lost in the feeling
in that yearning
most of which have since been taken down 🙂
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I love these old school blow mold Christmas decorations.
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Decades ago I decided our fireplace mantle piece was too boring at Christmas so I got out my trusty staple gun & a festive table cloth & covered it with fabric. It, to me, had a sweet old-fashioned almost Victorian feel to it which I loved. Stockings were hung to complete the scene. Over the year it became busier & the fabric has changed a few times – always something festive.
In the mantle clutter is an angel balancing a horn – the horn is from a set of four that my Dad had – each of us kids got one. The horn makes no sound 🙂 The cherub that holds it is from some yard sale a few years ago.
The plastic tree once was eliminated but the light socket disintegrated. It is one of my Cape Breton work life souvenirs. It was given to me by one of my Famous Players co-workers & had been in her family for many years. The bead garlands are my own addition. Not so festive is the brass letter opener under it – it gets lots of use this time of year. Stacked along beside it are some gift boxes. The boxes nest inside each other & get un-nested every year for display on the mantle.
On the mantle by the wall is my Cock-of-the-walk. One of favorite kitch items, it spends most of year on the front hall table. It is mainly a rooster morphed into great clothes & human hands. I bought it up at a store east of Woodbine on the Danforth. It store is no longer there. Made of some resin, not plaster, it is beautifully hand painted. Dangling from one hand is a Starbucks ornament. The beads are my additions over the years.
Covering the mantle this year is fabric that I got at Fabric Land in Stratford a few falls ago. The previous mantle treatment was a more tradition poinsettia & holly print which I found too dark. The blue is more fun too. The tinsel swag & lights are more recent – the lights have four settings but I stick to the one glow that changes colours. We don’t need a light show. The fireplace works but it has been years since we’ve had gifts that deserved to be set afire.
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Next on the shelf is the first of 3 mp3 cd collections of French, German, Dutch etc music starting of with one of my favourite soundtracks from one of my favourite Roger Vadim movies – Barbarella. Jane Fonda is wonderful, though a Bardot clone, in this crazy mess of a movie. The music is lounge sweet & has absolutely no scifi tinges. I loved this music when I first saw the movie decades ago & when I got high speed was happy to hunt it down.
Here too is Plastic Bertrand: An 1. I have some of his other albums scattered though my French music collection. Fun, sardonic & odd. Some of his songs were repurposed by punk bands back in the day. Boudewijn de Groot: Nact en Ontij – glorious progrock electronica – a more rock version of Kraftwerk. Jane Birkin: Di Doo Dah – sweet French pop with an assist from Serge Gainsbourg.
Klaus Bloch: Extrem Musik a la Ping Pong – glorious progrock electronica – a fine version of Kraftwerk. Brigitte Fontaine est folle – psychedelic folk with charm & lyrics you don’t have to think about. Der Moderne Man: 80 Tage Auf See – punky punchy yet easy on the ears. Finally: Jean LeFennec: Phantastic – more psychedelic folk with charm & lyrics you don’t have to think about. All of these come 60’s/70’s and all (except Barbarella) reflect the influence of American pop music on European rock.
‘Rumba?’ Ped gave Jam a playful shove. ‘Where did you get that name from?’
‘Just came to me.’ Jam snapped his fingers. ‘A stroke of genius.’
‘Yeah along with ‘dat acc’nt mon’?’
‘Well, those guys had it coming. Snooping around here every night. Had to give them something they could enjoy.’ Jam began to wipe the green make up off his chin. ‘Did you see his face. Boy, looked like he was about to crap his pants.’
‘Yeah, but ‘Mambo.’ Good thing you didn’t give any of the others names.’
‘Good idea. You can be ChaCha. Pola can be Tango.’
‘I don’t feel right about it though. What if they …’
‘What? Tell on us? I can see them now at the Militia Office. These boys with red and green faces told us they would protect us from evil. That’d go over big around here.’
‘You did pick the red and green. Afraid of the blue and white.’
‘Ped this is for fun. I know enough not to cross the line. That would have been begging for trouble.’
‘Since when did that bother you?’
‘It doesn’t. Fear is an emotion I choose not to fear. But that doesn’t mean I’m an idiot either. Bad enough we used the right markings.’ He continued to rub at the make up around his eyes. ‘Is it all off?’
‘Sort of but I think you rubbed too hard.’
‘You too.’ He gave another playful hip shove that sent Jam sprawling. ‘You think the other guys got home okay.’ Jam stood.
‘Don’t they always.’
‘I don’t think …’
‘Then stop thinking. Let me worry about that. We’d have more fun if you’d stop all that thinking. It’s not as if we are robbing the tourists, just putting a little of local fear into them. Get their imaginations going.’
‘It’s not all imagination and you know it.’
‘Yeah! So. It’s no fun to play in safe places. So this had a little more edge than the rag doll and pins routine. Gives them more for their dollar.’
‘I know. I spooks me. That’s all. Mama Gre’loo says we have to be careful with the forest spirits. This is the Season of Change and all things that start a change now must follow where it leads.’
‘You gotta stop listening to that foolishness. You sound like one of those tourists. You know?’
‘I know. Come on, let’s get that stuff all washed off so we can get home.’
HotDamn! It’s A Queer Slam
June – dates t.b.a – Capturing Fire 2018 – Washington D.C.
With NaNoWriMo over you’d think I’d get a bit of a breather. Well, think again. I plugged into the out-of-control sleigh ride known as Christmas – which I know is not a pc thing to call the Yule season. Christmas parties have become Holiday or Festive or Seasonal but the word ‘Christmas’ has become so culturally loaded it offends those not of the shopping or drinking persuasion.
As I posted around this time last year ‘Lights Delight’ http://wp.me/p1RtxU-Z5 I’m too dazzled by the flood of lights to notice the daily mass shootings in the USA. Actually I haven’t been able to ignore that – I’m mulling over a blog post about ‘toxic masculinity’ as I write this one.
I’ve spent the past few days getting my house festivated – lights up, tree up Thursday & decorated. My first Christmas card arrived while I was decking the tree – in it were a couple of gift cards – one of which was for iTunes 🙂 When in doubt give me iTunes or take advantage of paypal.me/TOpoet.
I do the same things differently every year – ornaments go in different pots, not the same ones every year. Added more lights to the upstairs front windows. Shaped out the old light song he back steps for something more modern, but sadly not as illuminating but those colours are there all the same.
Burning cds for my friends – sharing some of the wild & crazy stuff I found to keep my fingers tapping through NaNo. I didn’t realize there was so much of it. As I’ve said in past posts when I flow with the season it moves a lot better around me. It takes less energy when I stop being a cynical prick & I am deeply grateful when it is over and I can get back to my real life.
I always wondered what happened
to those presents the magi brought
gold frankincense & myrrh
were they accepted refused lost
put away for a rainy day
because I don’t recall
Joe & Mary having a life of ease
while Jesus was growing up
did he ever ask about those presents
did he remember the magi
did he look at the myrrh
and think what the heck
how much gold
was there a few ingots
a darling little ankle bracelet
did he play with the jars
of frankincense & myrrh were in
till they broke
and another thing
what happened to Lazarus
after he was risen from the dead
is his still wandering around
cursing the miracle
eager to sleep
to dream of being able to die
but mostly I wonder about the magi’s gifts
I don’t have any of my first xmas gifts
my first toy car
my earliest gift recollection
is of wooden soldiers
I must have been about four
I’d found them hidden away in a closet
under some towels
I wanted plastic ones & was disappointed
but I have no memory of unwrapping them
did my folks decide to teach me lesson and not give them to me after all
did Jesus have a memory
the smell of barns
did the sight of camels
make him wonder
where is my gold mom
is Lazarus playing with my wooden soldiers
November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo
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I can’t say this luge lunge to Christmas is my favourite time of the year. One cannot avoid the season though. Sad events become even sadder in the face of the festive. Cynical grips about commercialism won’t stop that from happening. Humbugging is pointless. One can’t stop the this sleigh ride but I can chose how to respond to it.
My favourite part of the season is lighting. People do things to their homes that would make a drag queen blush. I take night walks to enjoy what people have done to their homes. The lights are, to me, the true spirit of giving.
They are there for anyone who takes the time to look. A free gift to me, I’m not the one paying their power bill. They get put up with the main thought being seen. Some people go overboard. TV has managed to turn it into a game show but most people don’t truly compete, they merely want to sparkle & share.
The lights are offered without judgments about who the seers are going to be. I doubt if the homeowners stand by the window making note of who looks, or stand ready to shut them off if that jerk up the street dares to even glance at them.
When I do my light tours I don’t judge – I like it all. Overdone, under done, doesn’t matter; not done – well not everyone gets into it, without the dark there is no contrast – such is life. My lighting isn’t all that spectacular – windows and such but it satisfies me to see it when I get home at night. My favourite lights here are the ones on our back porch – not for public viewing to the same degree as the ones out front. But I love looking at them at night & early in the morning. I’m sure the people in the houses along our laneway enjoy them too. Plus a few have started to do their own back porch lighting.
From a series of Dolly Dinty About Town
Festive readers, I am pleased to bring you a wrap up of the week-end’s events. The highlight of which has to be the annual Lighting of the Trees. Held in several locations in the hills about Crab Apple Corners the horizon is illuminated by the first official rite of the season.
I choose to attend the ceremony at Hijil’s Farm – they had obtained two of the remaining stand of ancient red wood sycamores and had them flown in for the occasion. Trees so large they needed two helicopters to carry each of them.
The first flame was applied to them by our local Miss Pig Driver, Tanis-Lotus Flatly. The trees did us the great honour of being slow to ignite, but once they had been engulfed in flames the look of joy in the faces of the children was worth the wait.
Once these two trees were in flames, burning torches were taken to the sites where other trees were ready for the ceremony. The Great Maple at McCracken’s of Daw Hill was the next to be torched and quickly one could see similar fires all across the country side. Hijil’s Farm perched atop Green Bluffs gave us a splendid view of the various tributes to the season.
Once the first two trees had been burnt to cinders our parish Vicar Father Frank did The Grinding and was quickly joined by the other men who were of age, to participate in this ritual.
I was thrilled to be offered by my one and only Hank Grebly the fruits of his grinding. A jar filled with these delicate ashes and moose fat can sit proudly on any mantle piece. There will be enough here to guarantee me a year of fertility and good weather. After all, it only takes a pinch a day, tossed into the wind to catch the eye of the spirits for protection.
The carolling at St. Sufferer’s Cathedral was once again a thrill, especially now that the bells have almost been tuned. The climax of each verse is a ringing of these bells that echoes though our happy valley and shimmers through the fragrant smoke produced by the Lighting of the Trees.
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