Saturday, December 10, 2011

Silent Night, Holy Night.

So this is my first Christmas without Christmas music. Ok, I should actually qualify that because I can still hear *some* music with my iPod and a device that hooks it up to my bluetooth hearing aid. But the funny thing about Christmas music-- at least for me-- was that its all-pervasiveness during the season is what really made it feel like the holiday.
I mean, how many people complain about that music in the grocery store, or the bathroom in the gas station, on the radio and in line at the post office. For a month, everywhere we go we are accompanied by St. Nick, Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer, and Frosty the Snow Man. Not to mention the Hippopotamus someone wants under their tree. It's a very quiet Christmas for me, and I really have to learn to appreciate the holidays in a new way.

I can smell evergreens when we walk toward the store. That smell immediately brings me back to my childhood, gathered around the tree with my sisters telling stories of each ornament we hung.

I love the smell of baking cookies, and cinnamon. The funny moving stuffed animal decorations, and the feeling of ribbon, garland and the hard cold metal ball of a bell in my hand.

When people express amazement that I have a real tree in my house, I smile. The tree is one of the few parts of the season which I can experience. I love the prickly branches, the scent of pine, and the tasks of every-day maintenance. And always there are the ornaments.

When I was a kid, my mother started giving me ornaments for the tree every year. When I moved out, I took the ornaments and hung them on many of my own trees. In August of 2005 they were lost, like so many things were, in the destruction brought on by hurricane Katrina and the failure of the federal levees.

Mister Pawpower and I had gone to Memphis and we had no ornaments. We decided to make our own and so we took a trip to a craft store for pipe cleaners, bulbs, buttons, and puff-paint.

We sat around our little table and created another chapter of our history. That was also the last Christmas I was able to hear any holiday music without amplification.

When we moved back here, we started collecting more ornaments. We still use the ones we made, because they remind me to persevere during the trying times. We have dog-statue ornaments, and many home-made ones from wonderful artist friends. We have funny ones shaped like Bigger (because he's a lot like Mill'E-Max), We have ones with big hearts (for Bristol), We have ones for Rudy, Gracy, and all the other dogs we have had in our lives. This year I believe we will have a striped ornament for our very special striped dog. As we decorate the tree, we tell the stories of how this particular bit of history came to us. So that by the time the tree is decorated, it is a story in its own right.

I have really been making an effort to find new ways to appreciate this time of year. However I can't seem to get away from the music! This morning, I was in Walmart with my SSP. I was surprised I could hear some kind of high pitched noise. I didn't know what it was and more and more, it sounded like someone moaning in pain, or a wounded farm animal. I asked my SSP if she could hear that moaning noise and she replied that that was not moaning, but that song "Angels We Have Heard on High." They were on the "glooooooooooooria" part, I guess. Only it didn't sound very glorious to me. We instead had a good laugh about barn yard animals singing Christmas music, because it really did sound like that! I've ruined Christmas music for her forever now!

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