A Merry Keshmish, Froeliche Weinachten, and Merry Christmas to all! Happy Hannukah (over), Eid, Kwaanza, and Solstice! Let us reconcile the deep human need for light and warmth at the darkest time of year with all expressions of celebration both traditional and tacky, homegrown and commercial, religious and secular, pine green or pink aluminum. At the same time we are humbly aware of the desperation and intense want and need in places near and far. When we light the candle to warm our hearth and hearts we can use it to see as well the whole planet. In my head is the world; let my heart hold the world for a moment or a lifetime. Let us not be blind but see by the candle's light the world.
Heading west over the Tappan Zee Bridge in the river fog, you can't see Manhattan's towers to the south or the huge houses high up on the banks. I always wave hello to Simon Schama up there when I cross the Hudson, though he'd be baffled if he knew. It feels good to get west of the City, and to be headed for New Jersey and down to Pennsylvania. Radio is super as you drive through NJ: rock stations up and down the radio dial. Pennsylvania is good for surprises. You might be lucky enough to get an hour of polka music, including some modern polka folk-fusion, or you might, as I did this time, get to hear the incomparable "Second Week of Deer Camp." New Jersey rocks, Pennsylvania rolls. Though I'm glad to be going back home I'll miss these when I get to Virginia, where country and pop radio rule and local stations announce the upcoming Baptist funerals. ("Maisie Bledsoe of Clear Forks Community will be buried from the Clear Fork Hand of Jesus Independent Baptist Church on Thursday at 2 p.m. Mrs. Bledsoe was born in Grass Patch in 1918 but lived most of her life in Hay Stack. She will be missed by her six children, thirteen grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Mrs. Bledsoe was predeceased by her husband of sixty-four years, Elmer Wayne Bledsoe in 1998, her brothers Jack, Elmo, Lewis, Delmar, Buddy and Bobby, her sisters Della and Virgie, and a special friend Louisee Raymer. Memorials may be made to the Hay Stack Chihuahua Rescue Fund or to the Clear Fork Volunteer Fire Department.")
Enough. Glueckliche Neues Jahr!