Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Memories

I have none....except for a few enduring images which don't qualify as memorable.

There were those school songs about one horse open sleighs, singing angels and shepherds, which I lip-synched in P.S. 99, banished to the back row with a voice labeled, listener.

You can't be good in everything, I said to myself, but then there was Art class demonstrating that I was good at nothing. All I could manage were green triangles for trees and a snowman with coins of three sizes.

If there was any justice in this world I'd still be in 6th grade trying to draw a passable winter scene. Between piloting flying reindeer and tending flocks of sheep I didn't see any career opportunities for myself.

I do remember my nose falling off or at least leaving my body when I worked one brutal day at a Christmas tree lot. My mother who was a completely self-taught practitioner of medical science, knew that fresh air was both the cause of all illness and it's cure. One got a cold from the dreaded draft and was restored to health by fresh air. I can't recall which of these happened to me that day at the tree lot.

There must have been a moment when I both believed and didn't believe in Santa Claus. I knew he ran back and forth between Macys and Gimbles. One morning a game of Monopoly turned up. I would have settled for Parcheesi or Chinese checkers. On the board game of life I figured I'd spend my days between Baltic and Mediterranean and never get to Marvin Gardens. But here I am with hotels on Park Place (metaphorically speaking).

I still can't carry a tune from here to there but I came to enjoy the exile and did become a close listener over time. For fifty-three years as a pharmacist, empathetic listening may be the one gift granted me, by a stretch, from Christmas.


  1. Take heart my friend, So you can't sing or draw. I'm sure there is something that you might excel in. Have you tried poetry?

  2. Another doppelganger moment!! Jack

  3. I tried poetry once but the teacher couldn't read my penmanship.