11.30 Xmas morning. The turkey is in the oven, the son is on the sofa, the little boys and Wayson will be coming in about an hour for a new flurry of paper and presents. There’s no tree this year in the chaos of my ripped-apart house, but I’m sure no one will mind. Anna and I FaceTimed, so I’ve seen what Santa brought across town. Great excitement.
Last night’s pageant at Riverdale Farm was the best yet. It was a mild night, the crowd was enormous, everyone in the cast was in the right place, and so was the choir. My last year, after about 16, as producer and director, and I’m leaving it in good shape. It made me cry, of course. At the start, in the Drive Shed as we start the carols, I turned around; behind me, the huge crowd of 300 or 400, from the very old to babies; right behind, my neighbours Len and Beth with their daughter Janice, who was in nursery school with Sam, with her son, who’s Ben’s age. I felt such overwhelming gratitude to live in this community, to have lived here for so long, to be so tied to a piece of the earth. Roots. Big strong roots, for us all.
Anna was there with her family, and afterward we went to the party at Mary’s, where the fire was burning, the extravagant spread was waiting, and Sam was waiting too. Ben wanted to know which “chimbley” Santa was going to come down; he was worried about the fire. We ate and drank and talked and laughed with old friends and neighbours, and once more, I didn’t cry but almost. Sam joked to Gina and Paul how jealous he was of the GT Snowracer sled their son Ryan got one year, and how I made sure he got one a few years later. We talked about times at Riverdale Hill, the very tall sledding hill nearby – going toboganning a few Christmasses ago. No snow at all this very mild year.
Here are some pictures of last night: a house just up the street, the young innkeeper (son of our usual innkeeper) and his wife (who I thought was his sister until I saw them kissing, and kissing some more), the shepherd checking her messages, the holy family of such extreme beauty, and the final tableau.
From my neck of the woods to yours, I wish you joy, peace, health, kindness, friendship. Love. As someone once sang, it’s all you need.
They’re wearing sari silks I bought 20 years ago at Goodwill, plus a bathrobe for Joseph and a serape for the babe. Our budget for costumes was $0.00. And yet …