We gathered things we’d received from parents, other relatives and girl friends (maybe), not by plan but spontaneously. Timing mattered and had anyone thought beyond the day it all might have happened differently; no one did and the result exceeded the potential result from good planning. It kinda just happened.
I find the commercial promotion related to the end of each calendar year to be sad, painful, disheartening and myriad other negative adjectives. Certainly, there are hopeful and uplifting stories and incidents that reflect an awareness of the alleged meaning of the time of year. Too much, though, focuses on extremes of indulgence: Black Friday’s hysteria; that there is such a thing as Black Friday; Cyber Monday; having to have this or that or some other matchless toy; and the too common familial conflagrations around a tree, bush or candle array.
For me, the events mentioned above were a part of one of the more meaningful holiday gatherings I experienced. Cookies and a cake or three, all parts of “care packages,” along with not very tasty, purloined oranges arranged atop a 4 by 8 piece of plywood (mahogany, at that), some cobbled together decorations and a synthetic, odd representation of a pine tree acquired by someone “off the economy” made the day’s brief gathering a real event of caring and sharing. Not surprisingly the warmth dissipated by day’s end, too much alcohol and returning to “work,” but for the hour or so before the Oreos softened from the high humidity, the cakes were consumed and the oranges ignored, it was a perfect moment.
French Indochina, known then as Vietnam; December, 1966. Welcome home those of you who made it and are still hanging on.