The ghosts of Christmas past have visited again. I've just returned from Mason's walk along Fremont Street -- right alongside the Rose City Cemetery in Northeast Portland. It's not unusual for me to stare through the fence at the grave stones...thinking and wondering....I'm just that kind of guy. And tonight is deliciously cold. Perfectly clear with a strong possibility of fog. I checked out the stars above and I always take a moment to enjoy the amazing color of the sky after the sun has set.
And we're alone, Mason and I, until hubby arrives in a few hours from his working trip. And it's not unusual for me to be reflective during alone times. I've been considering the many Christmas Eves, year after year, that we spent at my grandmother's home in south Boise along with every other possible family member living nearby. There would be about 30 of us complete with a table of sliced ham for sandwiches, potato salad, a giant green salad with Fritos on it, and baked beans. Great Aunt Ruth would have made what seemed like a million Santa Claus cookies for each person. And my father would drive us slowly through downtown Boise on the trip back home -- so that we could look at the department store windows with their displays and decorations. Christmas morning would find us in our pajamas, cavorting and frolicking around the living room and tree. My mother always having prepared a special holiday breakfast for us. I swear, my parents took the best care of us. I miss my dad on days like this. And I am highly aware of the nearing of the end of my mother's life. It makes me sad. I miss those days.
But tonight, happily, my lover will be home -- in the city and home that we love. We may go to our favorite late-night Christmas Eve service at a beautiful old church in downtown Portland complete with top-notch organ music and followed by everyone going outside onto the nearly-deserted streets to sing Christmas carols at midnight. Mason will be with us, of course. And tomorrow brings ten of our favorite friends and family over to share the holiday with us. We'll dine on spiral sliced ham, roasted pork tenderloin, brussel sprouts roasted with walnuts, garlic green beans, scalloped potatoes, and some delicious dessert. And it will be all better. The ghosts will be gone. Until some other memory prompts their soon return to my head.
Merry Christmas -- to friends and loved ones -- those we see frequently and those who we may never have the opportunity to meet. For those who put up with me, for those who love me and have stood next to me, I thank you. I wish you the best Christmas ever.