Christmas day has come and gone. My father used to say that "it's as far away now as it will ever be." He was full of those kinds of sayings that would make the child Syd sad. Now I realize that he was just being real. And I remember a lot of those sayings now and smile.
It was a quiet Christmas day. My wife went to her parents' house on Christmas Eve night and just got home this morning. I went over there yesterday to have Christmas Day dinner with the parents. We ate leftovers and watched them open Christmas cards. It's interesting how they get a hundred cards every year. Sending cards has become somewhat of a lost art. I remember how carefully my mother would choose the cards and address them. We haven't sent cards in years. Somehow, e-cards just don't quite have the same effect as getting a handwritten note from someone in a card.
I went over to visit some friends early last evening. They had their family for Christmas dinner. It was nice to enjoy their company and the lively conversation about politics, books, and movies. My old girl, Stella, who died on November 27 was in a short movie that they filmed. I'm going to be getting a copy of the movie and the raw footage of her. I could feel the tears in my eyes when I saw her in the movie. It was her first and last time on a couch. Her part was to be on the couch and be called into the kitchen by one of the characters. She had never been on a couch before so I had to coax her up on the couch. She must have thought that I'd lost my mind--"A couch, really?? What is he doing??" She was such a trooper.
Later, I came home, turned on the Christmas lights, took the dogs for a walk in the rain, and read some more from Hemingway's Boat by Paul Hendrickson. It's about his sport fishing boat "Pilar" that he had custom built, fished on through three wives, the Nobel Prize, and his ultimate ruin. "Pilar" was his sanctuary which I can identify with in so many ways. In Hendrickson's words, "Pilar" was:
"A place to weather the storms of professional criticism and escape the anxieties of broken marriages and ruined friendships. On her deck, he entertained celebrities, propositioned women, wielded his firearms, saved swimmers from sharks and relaxed with his children. Pilar represented this little encapsulated existence where for a long weekend, or just an afternoon, he could get away from the pressures of the writing desk."
I think we all need something like "Pilar", whether it is a boat, the woods, exercise, meetings, rooms filled with people or just sitting in meditation. A sanctuary. Yes, we all need that.