Saturday, December 23, 2006

A Different Holiday

I was born and raised Roman Catholic. So for me Chanukah is an “easy” holiday. I came to Chanukah less than two decades ago, by way of the man who would become my husband. I have no childhood memories of latkes, dreidels and lighting the chanukiah. Therefore, emotions don’t get stirred up the same way they do at Christmas. Say the word Christmas and I’m back in Warwick. I can barely remember Christmas in Providence - all my holiday memories from there look like black and white photographs, not real, vivid, video style memories. I’ve written about some of those memories here already. They were exceptionally wonderful holidays, year after year. Impossible to recreate as an adult. Because as an adult I’m no longer playing the role I starred in and mastered as a child. Now I am producer, director, prop master, set designer and, oh my, “Today the roles of Mom and Dad will be played by Lee.” Wow. Totally different holiday production. No wonder so many of us enjoy Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. We get swept up in that dewey eyed nostalgia of Christmas Past, are confronted by the reality of Christmas Present and then, after being faced with a cold, grim future, like George Bailey finding Zuzu’s petals, we get a do-over. Our resolve is strengthened and we try to find some new production of Christmas that takes the best of what was and combines it with the realism of what is now.

Chanukah is nearly over, the last of the latkes have been enjoyed and the Chanukiah already cleaned and polished and returned to its place of honor on Grandma Rose’s sideboard. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. I can barely type the phrase without being overwhelmed by emotion. But this is now. We are a little family of two. Tomorrow I will make chicken soup, then chicken salad. Gagee, my mother’s mother, first made it and created a tradition. Then my mother took up the torch. Now my sister Karen knows how to make it, as do I. So tomorrow Chuck and I will have our Christmas Eve dinner of chicken salad on little finger rolls, with pimento stuffed green olives, sweet pickles and potato chips. We will be dining together. We will be dining with my memories. We will be dining with angels.

1 comment:

Gail said...

If only things could remain the same, at least the innocent enjoyment of Christmas and all it's wonder and promise of better things to come.

It sucks getting old....