Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve

We four kids can blame our lifelong expectation of getting a boatload of toys Christmas Eve on our my middle class boomer parents. Many had survived the depression and come back from wartime with an opportunity to make a decent living, with real disposable income, for the first time in their lives. Still thrifty in every way, they would uncharacteristically open the spigot of their savings and let it just pour out and over us kids at Christmastime. Add to that the passing down of immigrant family traditions and you have the making of a magical out-of-body experiences.

In all honesty, I don't remember much about the toys I got except for a new bike every now and again. As an adult looking back, I think the real magic was being awakened at midnight on Christmas Eve by the ringing of Santa's bells, always a chronic near miss. We'd tear down the hallway so fast we'd miss the tree buried with gifts as we rounded the corner at full speed, flying mid-air out the front door to see if we could catch even the slightest glimpse of Santa.  Every year, we'd find ourselves standing breathless and barefoot in the cold on the stoop, but so sure we could still detect those bells somewhere out there in the darkest of dark. I remember scanning the night sky, and maybe for the first time in my life, noticing how dark but utterly beautiful and magical it was especially when the stars twinkled silently and brilliantly so far up there. Then someone would remember the toy thing and we'd push each other back through the front door and dive under the tree where we'd tear into our gifts and play with them way into the wee hours of Christmas morning.

Our parents loved being with us that night. We were all so happy. Delirious with joy, way past overtired, and bursting with excitement, we were introduced to a magical moment in time I think we tried to replicate for the rest of our lives. All of us chased it down different paths and maybe found it in different places.

But what never changed for me personally, was my firm belief in Santa and that huge, dark and utterly mysterious and magical midnight Christmas Eve sky. It continues to be a vast canvas for the infinite number of things I have yet to discover, know and understand.

Christmas Eve • 8" x 8" watercolor framed to 12" x 12" • $200

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