307) Home for the Holidays

December 24, 2008

Home: We are settling into being "home for the holidays" and it is so nice to just get up in the morning and DO NOTHING, so to speak. Of course we are always doing something... it's just nothing of real consequence... or, I guess I mean, nothing that produces income or sustenance. So, we are just spending time, money, and energy without replacing it with any product... for a change. Its called VACATION... but a variety that doesn't take you out to the Himalayas or to Florida or wherever. I am writing my Holiday cards and mailing them out, updating this blog, and thinking about holidays past with friends relations, etc. Shayna is sleeping. And Liz: shopping in the commercial world out there somewhere.

Last night I took Lizzie to Eddie V's for her birthday dinner. It was fabulous: we started with half a dozen blue-point oysters with a horseradish that Tennille the Waitress said was "atomic". Pfffft. Well, I mixed some up with the red sauce and took a little and it cleared up my sinuses and masked the oyster so well we had to start over with new red sauce and about 1/3 as much horsey sauce. We split a grilled swordfish topped with Jonah crab, avocado, red chile-cilantro and bits of anchovie, with a side of asparagus and hollandaise and Lizzie, of course, deserted with chocolate moose while we sipped coffee and listened to the jazz of the Mark Goodwin Trio... playing jazzy Christmas stuff, including Vince Guaraldi's piano pieces from Charlie Brown's Christmas. It was a great time and afterwards we walked back to the car in the impending fog.

El Milagro: I get here exactly at 10:30 am, like Jo the Nurse had reminded my twice in the last few days... and... of course... they're running about 40 minutes late. So, I take off and go by the LifeWorks' Shelter to see if they want my old X-mas lights. Jeff the Poet says "maybe" and calls Duncan to see... leaves a message about it. I hang out for a few minutes and then head back to El Milagro, where my chair is almost ready and I ready myself for my chair while Carmen the Tech from the morning shift readies the machine. The place is hopping with everyone trying to get in and outa here in a timely fashion owing to the X-mas Eve holiday bearing down upon us. I am happy to help!

Even tho they have KVET or some such radio station on with country Christmas music, I like John Aielle on KUT so I hook up my earphones and radio and listen away as John describes some new thing on his blog and then plays John McCutcheons'
Christmas in the Trenches*. A little later I here the Cedar Report... low levels pokin out now... and then I settle in to reading my new Kellerman book from Johnny for Hanukkah.

Later still I snooze and wake up and read and listen to the radio and snooze a bit more. Once when I wake up Rosie the Tech and Debbie the Tech are standing in front of me updating my data and talking and I open my eyes and say, Where's the Tamales?. They laugh and point down to the end of the room where Patient John has brought some dozens to sell. I buy a dozen for 8 bucks and stick 'em in my bag... still warm from his insulated bag. Wait til Liz sees these. Rosie claims they're really good and later she brings me half to taste. They are good and now I have taken care of one more errand while sitting in my chair! You just hafta open your eyes and ask whomever is in front of you...

I finish up being cleansed at about 4 pm and zip outa there... back to the house to get the lights for the shelter and help Lizzie make holiday cookies. What a day.

Notes: In at 77.6 and out at 75.5

by John McCutcheon

My name is Francis Tolliver, I come from Liverpool.
Two years ago the war was waiting for me after school.
To Belgium and to Flanders, to Germany to here
I fought for King and country I love dear.
'Twas Christmas in the trenches, where the frost so bitter hung,
The frozen fields of France were still, no Christmas song was sung
Our families back in England were toasting us that day
Their brave and glorious lads so far away.

I was lying with my messmate on the cold and rocky ground
When across the lines of battle came a most peculiar sound
Says I, "Now listen up, me boys!" each soldier strained to hear
As one young German voice sang out so clear.
"He's singing bloody well, you know!" my partner says to me
Soon, one by one, each German voice joined in harmony
The cannons rested silent, the gas clouds rolled no more
As Christmas brought us respite from the war
As soon as they were finished and a reverent pause was spent
"God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" struck up some lads from Kent
The next they sang was "Stille Nacht." "Tis 'Silent Night'," says I
And in two tongues one song filled up that sky
"There's someone coming toward us!" the front line sentry cried
All sights were fixed on one long figure trudging from their side
His truce flag, like a Christmas star, shown on that plain so bright
As he, bravely, strode unarmed into the night
Soon one by one on either side walked into No Man's Land
With neither gun nor bayonet we met there hand to hand
We shared some secret brandy and we wished each other well
And in a flare-lit soccer game we gave 'em hell
We traded chocolates, cigarettes, and photographs from home
These sons and fathers far away from families of their own
Young Sanders played his squeezebox and they had a violin
This curious and unlikely band of men

Soon daylight stole upon us and France was France once more
With sad farewells we each prepared to settle back to war
But the question haunted every heart that lived that wonderous night
"Whose family have I fixed within my sights?"
'Twas Christmas in the trenches where the frost, so bitter hung
The frozen fields of France were warmed as songs of peace were sung
For the walls they'd kept between us to exact the work of war
Had been crumbled and were gone forevermore

My name is Francis Tolliver, in Liverpool I dwell
Each Christmas come since World War I, I've learned its lessons well
That the ones who call the shots won't be among the dead and lame
And on each end of the rifle we're the same

© 1984 John McCutcheon - All rights reserved


Anonymous said...

Have your ears been burning, spent Christmas Day with Mrs Smith and Family, You know Toni,Mimi and Terry, and a whole bunch of other people .Had a great time,tried to phone you but the number I have didn'work.
Lot of stuff been going on in my life. The wife

Jack Nowicki said...

WoW Fred ~ I just sent the Smith's my annual X-mas card yesterday. Sorry you couldn't get me by phone. I'm in Dallas but will catch up with you when I get back to Austin. JN