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Merry Everything

A quiet Xmas Eve, talking to no one – Monique is busy, Sam is resting, Anna is no doubt going mad preparing for her own Xmas after helping to prepare for 80 others. She and Holly came back yesterday morning to do the packing – we filled 80 containers with the cabbage casserole, she sliced two enormous hams, and somehow, along with 80 gift bags and two pans of mashed potatoes, we got it all into her small rental car. 

You know what I’m going to say: blessings. 

Got the last groceries and our 14-pound turkey from Mark the butcher. Annie came over with my Xmas present: an apron on which is written

As Sam said, “She gets you!” Yes, though there’s more – I also run on coffee, peanut butter, bread, and cheese. The essentials. 

Today, still mild but grey and rainy, turning to snow overnight, they say. Did my one final errand, riding to Ben McNally Books for the gifts he brought in for me – the new David Sedaris anthology for Sam, two for Anna: “Braiding Sweetgrass” and the children’s book “This is your time” by Ruby Bridges, and for the boys, “The Ickabog,” by J.K. Rowling, which just came in this morning. What pleasure not just to give these delicious books, but to buy them from dear Ben, who is such a friend to writers and has managed to keep his bookstore alive. 

Made the stuffing and finished wrapping, and now, 3 p.m., a long quiet day. No Xmas pageant at the Farm tonight. When I think back, I cannot imagine how I did it for years – the whole Xmas thing here, buying and decorating the tree, buying and wrapping the presents, filling the stockings, buying and preparing the feast – and producing the pageant on Xmas Eve as well. Well, I was younger then. 

Had the edits from the Globe, including one scientific fact that was completely wrong – thank the lord for editors! Three audiobooks sold – it’s a (very small) start, I worry about that, the fate of my book. More kind words from readers: from Lori, “Your book touched my heart and soul. I loved it. My book club is discussing ‘Gilead’ and I thought your book with ‘Gilead’ made a perfect combo for reflecting on one’s life.” 

Wow – to be linked in any way with Marilynne Robinson is a huge honour. And from Jessica, “I devoured it, honest and courageous, and of course, funny.” Thanks to you both.

On my way back from Ben’s I rode up Sherbourne, where there are several shelters, homeless encampments, and safe injection sites. And then passed the centre in Regent’s Park which distributes food – a long silent lineup. It was a confrontation with human misery at a time of celebration. My friends, this year has been brutal for so many. Some of us have evaded the danger so far; many of us have not. And many of us are so very wounded, pandemic or not. Let us be aware of everything we have to be grateful for – so very much – and think of the needs of our neighbours. 

For the rest of today, I will read as much of “Braiding Sweetgrass” as I can before wrapping it – perhaps watch something later. Solitude is also a gift, particularly as tomorrow there will be noise and paper and much food. Much wine and chocolate. 

Merry Everything to you all.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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