I’m grateful for Ordinary Days–Tuesdays, like this one, with no appointments and no planes to catch. For me, it’s thanksgiving. I can write. My dogs are nearby, and my cats. (The horses, alas, are still up the road at boarding school, but I’ll have the barn up by spring.) There are wild turkeys beyond the fence, pecking at the ground and singing their gobble-gobble song. And my beloved pines stand sentinel in the draw, awaiting their lacing of snow.
Speaking of Thanksgiving–Canadians celebrated it yesterday. I think they’re smart to have it then–ours is too close to Christmas. I’m nostalgic for the old days, when Hallmark didn’t have their cards and ornaments on sale in July. We had time to appreciate holidays back then, it seems to me, and they were clearly differentiated from each other. Halloween was great fun in Northport–there were pumpkins and scarecrows taped to the windows of the schoolhouse, and deciding on a costume was something to savor for weeks. It was safe to trick-or-treat at every house in town, and a night’s haul would fill a pillowcase. Thanksgiving, too, stood separate and distinct. Turkeys on the school windows then, and little pilgrim figures in the middle of everyone’s table. No one rushed out to shop the next day–we were still digesting the feast. Christmas came in December, not November, and certainly not in July. Dad would take my brother, Jerry, and I up into the woods to pick out the tree, somewhere around the 14th of December. I will never forget that piney, snowy scent, clinging to the lush branches of that tree. I loved to plunge my face into those prickly branches and breathe deep. When we returned home, Mom would have cocoa ready, or cider, and Jerry and I were in a sweet agony of waiting, because the tree had to ‘set’ a while, dry off and let its branches down. Finally, the time would come to put it up in the corner between two picture windows in our living room. Dad muttered as he untangled the lights. Mom unwrapped precious ornaments, scuffed with memories, from tissue paper and bits of paper towel. We decorated the tree, and that in itself was a holiday–we loved the waiting, the anticipation, counting down the days. We’d stand outside, Jerry and I, in the gathering dusk, marveling at the way the multi-colored lights glowed through the frosty window glass. We looked forward to the lighting of the Lion’s Club Christmas tree, at the center of town, and the programs at church. Uncle Harry used to play Santa–he had a mop for a beard, and he was skinny, but it was still utterly magical.
Magical days. It’s the ordinary days, Tuesdays and the like, that make them special.