The radio is playing Nat King Cole. A single, sweet candle tosses shimmers around the room, the light refractions sliding around the walls, like they’re dancing to the music. A filled mug of rich cocoa sits to my right on the desk as I write. A sip of warmth and sweet rolls over my tongue, and again and one more time. A knot loosens in my mind. Another sip, perhaps three? Still unwinding, unloosening is the knot. Now it’s just a pile of string free in my thought. String, something a cat might play with. I’ll play with the string awhile. I fashion a bow with the string. I picture it atop a gift to my dad, even though he’s no longer here with us. Neither is the bow, really, neither is the string. All, fabrications of my mind as I sip cocoa and sense a wonderful, cleansing calm slide over my shoulders, down my back, through the tips of my toes. Could it be? Might it be? Another sip of the lovely, lovely cocoa. Now it’s Karen Carpenter on the radio, cooing about Christmasing without her lover. And I know.
Yes. It’s the Christmas spirit. I’m visited by memories, so grand and golden and soaring through my mind and re-warming my heart…Christmas Love, in thoughts and images. I see my Grandma Hazel, the trays of fun cookies and the sweeter kisses she’d give all of us, her grandchildren. I’m looking at the unbridled, joyous, bawling face of my little brother tearing at the race car set beneath the silver wrapping paper. The singular, fierce love witnessed in my mother’s and father’s eyes as they tightly hugged once all the presents were unwrapped. They look ageless, even 40 years later. I hear Bing Crosby’s velvet baritone saying he’ll be home for Christmas. The lights on each and every tree, blinking brightly, just for me. And for you.
I could go on. And on and on and on, world without end, amen. But I want you to take this moment and play with the string. You have wonderful Christmas memories of your own – I so very truly hope this. Take your memories out for a little stroll. It’s a beautiful night for a walk. Bring some cocoa along, too, if you like. Everything’s better with a little cup of cocoa. Merry Christmas. -J