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Posts Tagged ‘holidays’

For months leading up to the Nov 6 election, I was obsessed by politics. Then, by Nov 7 or 8 it had all disappeared, except for the moans of the losers. It was like a big sporting event that seems so meaningful in the run-up, but by the next day for most fans the emotions have been forgotten. Now we are like the football fanatics after the Super bowl, wondering how we will face the long winter without our diversions.

The holidays are looming, another one of those long build-ups of frenzy that ends with the wreckage of wrapping paper and the long dreariness of New Year’s Day. I walked across campus this week on a clear and cold November morning to meet a friend for lunch downtown. The shops were putting out their holiday decorations and the shop windows were glittering with lights and artificial snow. Silver is the color of this season.

I met my friend José at the Thai restaurant across from the library. He is in his early 80s, though you would take him for a decade younger. He has been many places and seen the world, from Czechoslovakia during the war, to the Boulevard Saint-Michel at its most beautiful to Cancun, Mexico, when it was still a fishing village. José goes to his study when he can’t sleep in the night and works on stories about the people he has known and the places he has been. It is a good obsession, unlike politics.

The big Thanksgiving dinner is yet another run-up, with eight hours of frantic cooking and baking followed by cleaning up and exhaustion. This year we decided to try an alternative Thanksgiving dinner without the usual turkey and mashed potatoes and the rest. We got a plump chicken to roast from a local farmer who grows grass-fed beef and free roaming chickens. We will add a shrimp dish, some kind of winter vegetable casserole, a salad, wine, and a homemade pecan pie. Everyone seemed happy about the change, especially the cooks and dishwashers.

I do like this season, though it is cold for a boy with Florida blood in his veins. That blood is thinner and like the orange crops does not do well when the frost comes. This morning on the drive to work the trees were bare and coated with frost that sparkled in the sunlight. There is a stark beauty to the countryside, which I admire in a distant sort of way. It is not like the riotous colors of early autumn that fill me with a deep nostalgia and a desire to travel back-country roads across America as I have done so many times in the past, moving from place to place. This season is chill and silver, not yet winter, austere but not bleak. I can live with this weather, though my breath hangs like steam in the air.

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