Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Complex December

December has always been a tricky month for me. Being Jewish and growing up in a largely Christian community, I was raised with all the beautiful trappings of Christmas: a tree, lights, music, carols, baking, shopping, Santa, presents, ribbons, ornaments, etc. Singing in choir and a cappella singing groups all the quintessential songs of the season (and some not so quintessential songs).  Running up to San Francisco with the Madrigals and singing all over the city.  Fondly remembering singing on the cable cars.  Driving up to Hillsborough with friends in search of Bing Crosby's home so we could carol outside to him.  Through my high school years, I had no conflict of religious identity. 

My final year of college, I came to New York City for the first time for Winter break.  I was meeting my family for a week and then remaining on with friends. That was the most life altering moment of my life.  Arriving Christmas time in NYC was the most beautiful place I'd ever seen.  I felt "home" for the first time. I belonged. The energy was infectious. I did everything in that trip that would make a person fall in love with this city:  Tavern on the Green (now gone), a horse and buggy ride (before all the controversy). Cafe Des Artistes, going to see the windows at Saks, Lord and Taylor, Blommingdales, the tree at Rockefeller Plaza, saw Jim Dale in Barnum, Linda Ronstadt and Kevin Kline in Pirates of Penzance, David Bowie in Elephant Man, and Tim Curry in Amadeus, Joe Allen's on New Year's Eve (the closest I would ever get to the masses of people in Times Square). If you've never been to NYC, come see and experience it once in your life in December.  It is stunning. I moved to New York Labor Day weekend 1981.

On December 2, 1981, I went out on the most stereotypical terrible blind date that my Aunt had arranged.  Ugh!  Never doing that again.  Horrible.  I got home that evening and had a message from a man.  I didn't want to even call him back after my evening's experience, but my Mother said go ahead. I did.  On December 3rd, I met the man that would become my husband on a blind date.  We hit it off right away, but never in a million years did I see what the future would hold.  It's hard for me to believe that it's been 31 years, when I feel like a 16 year old in my heart.  

Decembers have evolved over the years.  There are still conflicting feelings of the Jewish/Christian tug, but I have come to realize that all those incredible lights, window displays, and songs are for us all, though I could do without 24/7 Christmas music in the stores and on the radio for a month. In spite of myself, I am still singing along wherever I go. The crowds in midtown have gotten out of hand at Christmas time, that real New Yorkers avoid the area like the plague.  I still enjoy it, but pick my times very carefully. Traffic is terrible. Gridlock alerts are every day.  Shoulder to shoulder walking at times. 

A few years ago, I was bemoaning the fact that my children have never been to a tree trimming party.  The next week, a friend sent us a beautiful little tree with lights and faux snow.  I have put it up every year since with our Chanukah ornaments and beautiful blue balls.  This year, the first night of Chanukah begins Saturday night, so we will light our menorah, eat our potato latkes, give gifts, and still get two more weeks of the general holiday season.  

I know it's an incredibly complex time of year for people, and I am no exception.  These are my feelings right now.  Ask me tomorrow?  Who knows?

Sidebars:  The Voice is down to the final four.  It has been a remarkable season.  The Amazing Race is down to the final four teams. The finale is Sunday. Homeland continues to keep me breathless, only two more episodes left for the season. Bob Costas made remarks pro- gun control on Sunday Night Football, took tons of heat from people on the Right, and yesterday was stuttering and stammering to back pedal his stance.  Too bad. I am so happy about the Royal baby to come.  I hope that Dutchess Kate gets through this terrible bout of morning sickness.  Question posed to me yesterday:  if she has twins, who is first in line for the thrown?  The first baby shoved out?  

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1 comment:

  1. December 3rd, 1981--a day that will live in least for me, the lucky guy who had that blind date with Diana.