…and we’ve had our first snow here in Maine!
A few inches fell the other day. It was barely enough to shovel, but shovel we did—the sound of neighbors working at sweeping their cars and clearing their drives and walkways is nearly musical to me.
I took a break, stood at the end of my driveway and just listened.
Although I choose to ignore the religious trappings and crass commercialism that dominate our lives at this time of year, I still find promise in a few traditions from my childhood—a very few, to be sure, but ones that give me small pleasure.
And speaking of “promise,” here’s one kept: another shot of the wonderful calendar I found for this year.
Here’s the snowman.
He’s refreshingly traditional!
He’s got a black top hat (with a bright red band), coal buttons and a carrot nose; he’s got a scarf, knotted jauntily around his non-existent neck!
When I was little, we used to stick tree branches in his sides to make arms; the little twigs at the ends made fantastic fingers! We never had a top hat, but used instead one of my father’s fedoras or the real bomber hat he wore during his stint flying for the US Navy during WWII—an old, fur-lined, moth-eaten horror that resembled a dead rodent; my mother threatened to throw it away for years.
She never did, though; she knew what was important.
I opened the little door for December 8 right after I took the picture of the snowman: here’s the inside.
Those eight tiny reindeer: “Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen; Comet, Cupid, Donder, Blitzen…” (If you’re from Boston, by the way, those names are second to those of Robert McCloskey’s famous ducklings: Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack and Quack).
On Christmas Eve, we used to leave a bowl of dog kibble for those reindeer, right next to Santa’s Budweiser and Ritz crackers with cheese—my father always told us that Santa liked stopping at our house better than any other house in Maine, thanks to our creative snack offerings!
He was right, I’m sure.