I hope all my friends and relatives had a wonderful holiday. Here’s what’s been happening in the tropics.
As usual, I planned on getting an early start for the holidays. Did I mention I live in my own fantasy land? I purchased my Christmas tree on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. A neighbor assisted me in getting the tree in water on my backyard deck, so it would remain fresh until I straightened the living room and pulled out my decorations.
Due to a family emergency, I left town the next day to return the following Friday. On my return, I found a toppled tree begging for water. I righted it and added water, but sadly many needles were brown and falling on the deck. I carefully moved the tree into the living room, losing branches and needles along the way.
As you can see, the shape of my tree is beautiful; but many of the branches are the color of my Cuadrado Mexican tiles rather than the verdant pine hue I was going for. I figured once decorated, it would be fine. That’s when a newscaster suggested that lights on a dry tree might set it on fire. “But,” my right brain said, “it’s near the sliding glass doors, so I could easily drag it outside.”
My left brain jumped in and said, Whoa, let’s use some logic here. The door is locked, and to open it, you would have to go around a burning tree.”
Forget the lights!
The only trimming of the tree was in cutting off portions that were very dry and brown. I was losing my enthusiasm for decorating the tree. In the end, I had a “slightly trimmed but (one could say) undressed” Christmas tree.
I was not feeling the cheerfulness and joy of the season, so I turned to several Christmas movies to get myself into the holiday spirit. My favorites are A Christmas Carol (the one with Alister Sim), A Christmas Story, It’s a Wonderful Life, and Miracle on 34th Street. As the days progressed, I settled into a happier mood.
And then Christmas arrived! While we didn’t have a white Christmas in Miami, we did have a cold front drop our temperature by about 30 degrees. Miamians take on the characteristics of iguanas when confronted with temperatures in the 40s. We don’t venture outside because we fear our bodies will become cold-stunned and we will collapse on the ground in a catatonic state. Not a pretty picture!
Back in November, ABC presented a Diane Sawyer special about the 20th Anniversary of the film “Love Actually, written and directed by Richard Curtis. It’s not actually a Christmas movie, although the story takes place at that time of the year, and I decided to watch it on Christmas day.
The film opens with Hugh Grant (who plays the British Prime Minister) giving a monologue. It started, “…general opinion is we live in a world of hatred and greed.”
Apparently, not much has changed in the last 20 years. Since 2019, we’ve endured a pandemic and isolation, the nation is polarized, and the evening news gives us front-row seats to a devastating war in Ukraine. Dysfunction is what sells in the news world. “Newsworthy” requires high drama, often seen in violence, murder, and other aberrant behavior. At the end of the day, I find myself weary of it all.
“But,” says the PM, “love is everywhere. Often it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there-fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.”
Wouldn’t you like to see the biggest headline or lead story on the news read like this?
Ah, well, one can dream.
The holidays are over, and the great crystal ball dropped in Manhattan. It’s time to get on with 2023. I hope the new year brings you happiness and joy.
If possible, a bit of love wouldn’t hurt. I hope you find that as well.