Hilly and I (and the Havanese Mountain Dog, Olive) drove ten hours yesterday, in wretched weather to get up here to Blue Hill Maine to spend Christmas with my beloved son Tim and his two little girls, Thea and Eliza. SO worth it. Late supper with them, then off to the Inn. Not the stable this time… a nice little stand-alone cottage, very cozy.
Woke up at two… not cozy. Electricity out… maybe until March… radio says through Christmas day. Temperature in the cottage is maybe 20 degrees. Put on all clothes, go back to bed… our three heads, in hats, lined up on the pillows, for “a long winter’s nap.” Waiting for Santa. Or for the heat to come back on. No such luck.
Get up…drive amongst the ice-bowed trees and frozen roads to Tim’s. His little house very old which means lots of fireplaces, thank heaven… including one in the kitchen with a “hob” or arm from which to hang cook pots. Which we do, for coffee and later breakfast. Pretty authentic. Look out window and think for a second that someone had put a million lights up in one of the trees. But no… it is the rising sun catching the ice coating the branches in just the right way. Miracle. We lug in presents to add to the pile under the unlit tree. The little girls are plenty excited, lights or not. Us too. Ice or no… there is at least a hint of miraculous warmth in the air. Hey… I have a corny, sentimental side; can’t be helped.
Hours later, thick coat of ice on absolutely everything, but electricity back on. Take moment to look at email. And Santa himself couldn’t have been kinder.
We get a ton of mail, but there were two Christmas letters that broke our hearts and had our spirits soaring, by turns. Two guys who had been in serious jams, not long ago, had dug themselves out with the help of the Younger Next Year books – and Thinner – and just wanted to thank Harry, Jen and me at this holiday season. For, you know, saving their lives. Wonderful, wonderful stories that fill us with gratitude and remind us just what we are up to in life, And how lucky we are.
SO… a Merry Christmas to all and to all a wonderful New Year. If you happen to change your own life a bit in the new year, wonderful. If you get to pitch in and change someone else’s life a bit, too… oh boy, even better. It’ll make your year… just the way those two letter made mine. Merry Christmas, Chris.