LETTER FORTY

Dec 25

It’s Christmas morning—Happy Christmas! Joyeux Noël

I just woke up a few minutes ago, I haven’t even finished my first cup of coffee yet, and I was just about to read the paper when I saw your letter. I have only a few minutes before my family wakes up and the booming-bustle of Christmas merriment begins, so this’ll be a short one.

Right now my house is quiet. The only sounds I can hear are the noises of the few brown, winter sparrows poking around outside and the hum of our old electric Christmas tree lights. I love mornings, even if they do always seem to slip away. I’ve got on a pair of heavy wool socks and a sweater and I look properly bundled up—settled in for a cold winter’s morn. There’s frost on the windows, and the sky is gray, so with a little luck we might get some more snow later on. And look at all these presents! I told my grandmother that I wanted no gifts, but my Grammy will be damned before she ever listens to a word I say. It’s funny to remember years back: me waking up at the crack of dawn to creep down stairs and see if Santa had come. Christmas is never the same was when you’re a kid, is it? I am excited, but for years now it’s been a smaller, quieter excitement. Do you find that?

Soon the afternoon will be full with the smell of roast turkey, red potatoes and parsnip, and the cold North-wind coming in through the kitchen window; with Christmas music, something jazzy and soft; with talk and chatter and talk of politics and rememberings and speculations; with the floral smell of my grandmother’s perfume, (l'air du temps—there’s a small bottle of it for her wrapped in red paper a few feet from where I’m sitting now); and with all the other sounds and smells of my family’s small Christmas. For now though, I am enjoying the quiet and calm.

I hope you have a nice day. I miss you, and I am really looking forward to seeing you.

Happy Christmas, Sally-boy.

Come bring the noise,
My merry, merry boys,
The Christmas log to the firing;
While my good dame, she
Bids ye all be free,
And drink to your heart’s desiring

H.