Friday, June 5, 2009

Love's Christmas

When I was a very young child, still young enough not to understand that there are certain ways of thinking of things, I lived with my Mom and Dad, my older Brother and my younger Sister, in a beautiful old balloon-frame triplex on a not-so-fancy street in the city which was in those days and is again, now, my home. There were two Russian Olives in the front yard, two Silver Maples in the back and some Lilacs along one side, with a round, tiered rock garden full of Snapdragons and Others on the south, adjacent to the brick-red concrete block wall that was also the back of a convenience store. The back and side yards were protected on the East and West by a wood fence which kept our two-foot soft plastic pool and cat-piss-yellowed igloo out of sight, and separated our small-scale card table events from the stinky alley junkies who from time to time stumbled out of the Red Owl parking lot to relieve themselves on the garage. Inside, we ran on oak floors and squeezed in between fluted pillars, under high plate rails and faded wallpaper; there were doors that swung and doors that hid, windows of glass both beveled and stained, lights that turned on with the pop of a button, radiators resting soundly under pots and plants, a fine old black piano in the foyer, that round mirror, the big metal sculpture we cracked our heads on, many lots of books and a turntable, among other things--clay and costumes and dangerously massive wooden blocks (with killer ramps) and tiny cars and marbles and myriad musical instruments, serious forts and unabashed nakedness--with nearly all the furniture having been built by my father, to hold (it seemed) the many softer things that had come into being through my mother's hands.

In this house, every Christmas Eve, we sat in the round at the dining room table and shared a fine steak dinner on stoneware, after a ritual champagne toast, while listening to Mozart or Claude Bolling or Erik Satie or something of the sort. It was the seventies then but I can tell you now, with a pretty high degree of confidence, that I must have been--if not the happiest--
the most self-centered kid in the whole Universe.

And so it came to pass, in this incomparable little world of mine, that we ate steaks, again, one sweet evening in June. In my heart of hearts, there was nothing more I could have felt to say, than what I said (and I might mention here that it was not until only a few years ago that I understood, again and at long last, what I'd meant by it) and that was this: it's like Love's Christmas. And so it was. None of us remembers the date anymore, but we all know the name, so I'm just gonna call it. Let's make it 6/6, and we'll remember it that way, with all our smiling faces in a circle...

Happy Holidays,

1 comment:

fremenine said...

It was also in this house that I had the first dream, or nightmare, that I can still remember, of a deck of cards, life-sized Kings and Queens and Jacks and all, walking through the darkness down the hallway to my room. It scared me then, but probably only because I didn't know how to play cards yet...