Bringing the Light

 

Merry and Blessed Christmas to all from Chez She! Xena leads off with a welcome:

I’ve been known to go a bit overboard with the Christmas decorations, but I love them so, especially the decorations on and under the tree, many of whose provenance extends back forty years to the time when Mr. She’s and my love–as they say–was young. Several are even older than that, dating back to World War II, and many of the “newer” ones were handmade by the kids and our granddaughter over the years, or were gifts from beloved friends and co-workers.

As I put them up each year, I never fail to think about the imperfect “barrel-shaped” Christmas tree that was all Mr. She and I could afford our first Christmas together, or about the times (a family legend this) that we waited until late on Christmas Eve when the tree vendors had abandoned their posts and left the few remaining straggly specimens on the lot. and we’d go steal one, because we couldn’t afford a tree at all. When we became a little more affluent, we’d buy a few nice (read–according to Mr. She–glass and shiny, and–according to me–wooden and rustic) ornaments each year. Until we got to where I am now. But I still have those cardboard ornaments from the early days, and they’re still among my favorites.

Then there are the ceramic and plaster “houses” under the tree, many of which I painted myself in the early 1980s, surrounded by the old fence that encircled Mr. She’s childhood model train under the tree. And so it goes, accreting more and more beloved detail each year.

Once I get started, I can’t seem to stop. I think it’s something akin to the flywheel effect:

Jenny and Miss Peachy are spending Christmas on the farm this year and, as usual, it’s a bittersweet time. So many memories. So much love. All our absent friends and loved ones whose numbers have grown this year on both the two-legged and four-footed sides.

But above all, so much light and hope.

For God so loved the world….

I think the enduring memory of Christmas 2021 will be set by Miss Peachy, who has dubbed a recent, almost-completed home improvement project the “Fairy Princess Bathroom.” It’s a nod to my oft-overlooked feminine side, with its double-slipper tub, heated towel rail, dimmable lights, and plenty of room for paste, potions, candles, and whatever else tickles my fancy. I’m currently on the hunt for towels, rugs, and fluffy bathrobes, and I love it too:

Merry Christmas to you all, and a happy and prosperous 2022. May we all spend it surrounded by light and love, and in the company of those with whom we belong.

Published in Group Writing
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  1. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    She: heated towel rail

    That is a detail that might have provoked a snicker, but having beheld the implementation, I can only pull my forelock in admiration. Sheer genius.

    Merry Christmas, She.

    • #1
  2. She Member
    She
    @She

    Percival (View Comment):

    She: heated towel rail

    That is a detail that might have provoked a snicker, but having beheld the implementation, I can only pull my forelock in admiration. Sheer genius.

    Merry Christmas, She.

    Thanks, @percival. It doubles as the room heater (I added a thermostat), so it’s not entirely frivolous. The back wall is built into the hill, and the whole place is super-insulated so it doesn’t take much to keep the place warm. Merry Christmas. 

    • #2
  3. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Merry Christmas!

    • #3
  4. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Percival (View Comment):

    She: heated towel rail

    That is a detail that might have provoked a snicker, but having beheld the implementation, I can only pull my forelock in admiration. Sheer genius.

    Merry Christmas, She.

    I thought the same thing! :-)

    • #4
  5. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Wow!  I love everything – especially your wonderful memories of each and every item.  So beautiful!  Does that kitty behind the tree ever get too curious? One year I had to take my cat with a cough to the vet, only to find out she needed to pass the tinsel! Which she did/and the last time I used tinsel…..

    • #5
  6. Dave L Member
    Dave L
    @DaveL

    Happy memories are part of what Christmas is about. Merry Christmas She!

     

    • #6
  7. KentForrester Coolidge
    KentForrester
    @KentForrester

    Helluva tree, Mrs. She.  Helluva tree, Mrs. She.  (I tried to make a little song out of that, but I’m not talented enough to pull it off.)

    I’ve always thought that Christmas decorations and all the rest of the holiday foofaraw would die out if they were left to males.  I know that in my household, Marie keeps most of the traditions going.  We have a tree with almost 60 years of decorations hanging from its branches.  It’s a very busy tree.  

    Each year, I beg Marie to let up on the decorations.  If it were up to me, I would hang a single Christmas ball on a stick and let it go at that. 

    I do love the look of your living room, though.  Very festive.  You and Marie ought to get together some Christmas, put two trees next to one another, and see who can cram the most decorations onto a tree. You wouldn’t be a shoe-in, Mrs. She.  Marie can cram a tree. 

    Merry Christmas, Mrs. She. Whoops, I’m late again. That was yesterday, wasn’t it?  

     

    • #7
  8. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Happy Boxing Day to you. Beautiful tree!

    • #8
  9. She Member
    She
    @She

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    Wow! I love everything – especially your wonderful memories of each and every item. So beautiful!

    Thank you so much!

    Does that kitty behind the tree ever get too curious? One year I had to take my cat with a cough to the vet, only to find out she needed to pass the tinsel! Which she did/and the last time I used tinsel…..

    I am gobsmacked at how few problems I have, actually.  Of course, I’m down to one–very large–dog these days (my high number there was 8) and four indoor cats.  I do put the less sentimentally valued, and more unbreakable, ornaments towards the bottom, and I encircle the lowest branches with a ring of bell ornaments which ring if someone is meddling where he should not. 

    My only run-in with the tinsel involved Fat Alice (aka “Psycho Cat”–the “P” is silent) several years ago.  We did end up at the vet, but things worked themselves out, as one might say.  She hasn’t bothered with it since.  Darlene and Wookiee don’t seem in the least interested.

    Which leaves Psymon (the “P” is silent).

    I’ve already documented here his ability to climb up the library ladder, even when it’s in its vertical position:

     Once he’s up there in the loft, he can waltz around on all those beams you see decorated with (real) branches, lights and garlands.  And he’d love to.  I averted a major disaster a couple of weeks ago when I was putting up the tree, and I caught him eyeing the distance between the beam he was standing on and the top of the tree.  Had he made the leap, there might be a different sort of angel up there on top, even today.  

    So for the last couple of years, I’ve taken a few off my pile of nice warm blankets and throws (which we love to snuggle under while watching It’s a Wonderful Life, or A Christmas Story, etc.), folded them, and threaded them carefully through the rungs to thwart his ambitions:

    This doesn’t stop him sitting close by, though, in the hope that they’ll suddenly all fall off and he’ll be able to realize his dream.  (I put this in the same sort of cat psychology bucket as when they sit for hours on the window seat staring intently at the bird feeder, in the certain knowledge that–at some point–one of the birds is going to fly through the glass and straight into their open mouths):

    I really can’t complain.  I take modest precautions, and my creatures seem to respect that.

    All bets are off, however, when it comes to next year.

    Come the beginning of February, Good Lord willing and the creeks don’t rise, I’ll be picking up a Great Pyrenees puppy (age about eight weeks at the time) from a working farm, and bringing him home.  I’ve not had a puppy since 1986, when I acquired an Old English Sheepdog, the same year Mr. She and I moved out here.  Loved him to bits.  I named him Wulfstan, after an Old English saint from Worcestershire (my home county).  I grew up understanding him to be the patron saint of lost causes and the mentally ill, but see now that he is called the patron saint of vegetarians.  LOL. Whatever.  Wulfie was a lovely dog.

    All my dogs since 1986 have been adults (sometimes geriatric ones)–either rescues, dumps, or strays. 

    Xena’s over ten years old, and starting to fail.  She’s (selectively) more and more deaf, and–although she had her back knees replaced a few years ago–getting rather doddery.  So it’s time to start a new generation, if I don’t want to spend the next few years mourning the deaths of one dear elderly pet after another as I assimilate and acquire (mostly without any overt action on my part) those who show up here.

    Enter, “Odo.”   I’m not sure which one he is, but he’s one of these (and not the opportunistic invader on the far left):

    Odo of Urgell” was a 12th century Catholic saint from the Spanish Pyrenees.  I figured that, in Wulfie’s honor, I’d continue the tradition.

    Oh, I am looking forward to this next challenge. In hoc signo vincam.  Stay tuned for updates.

    • #9
  10. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    She (View Comment):
    I grew up understanding him to be the patron saint of lost causes and the mentally ill, but see now that he is called the patron saint of vegetarians. 

    I see no inherent contradiction.

    • #10
  11. She Member
    She
    @She

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    Happy Boxing Day to you. Beautiful tree!

    Thanks.  One of my fondest Boxing Day memories is of the Christmas Mr. She and I spent in Worcestershire early in the 2000s.  It was (after 20 years) the first time he met my mother (don’t ask), and on Boxing Day he and I, in traditional fashion, hiked the Malvern Hills.

    • #11
  12. She Member
    She
    @She

    Percival (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):
    I grew up understanding him to be the patron saint of lost causes and the mentally ill, but see now that he is called the patron saint of vegetarians.

    I see no inherent contradiction.

    Of course you don’t!  ♥

    • #12
  13. Captain French Moderator
    Captain French
    @AlFrench

    Percival (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):
    I grew up understanding him to be the patron saint of lost causes and the mentally ill, but see now that he is called the patron saint of vegetarians.

    I see no inherent contradiction.

    This comment would have made a fine post in and of itself.

    • #13
  14. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    It’s snowing here today.  I’ll be doing a quick post on my blog, including some video.

    • #14
  15. Lilly B Coolidge
    Lilly B
    @LillyB

    Merry Christmas, Mrs. She!

    • #15
  16. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    This beautiful home tour is part of our December theme: “Winter Lights and Dark Winter Nights.” We have several open days left. Stop by today to reserve a day.

    • #16
  17. MoFarmer Coolidge
    MoFarmer
    @GaryBlake

    Beautiful.  And don’t forget that Christmas is 12 days.  We leave all of ours up through Jan. 6.  Christmas music, too! 

    • #17
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