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MARTHA SEZ: Random thoughts on the holiday season

December 9, 2011
MARTHA ALLEN , Lake Placid News

Hey, how's it going? As I write this, it's almost Thanksgiving, which means that the holiday season is launched. You have this Chrismas thing under control? I've about got it wrapped. So to speak. Just a few more last minute details to finish up now!

Like painting the kitchen, the living room and the upstairs bathroom and then putting away all the stuff that's piled up on every surface, including the floor - because of course I had to move everything out of its usual place in order to paint - and then cleaning the house before company comes.And, oh yeah, presents.

Find a Christmas tree ...Are you sending out Christmas cards this year? Do you think I should make my own?

Why does this happen every year, just the same way? You think you have so much time. Christmas is so far away, some event off in the distant future. Then all of a sudden Thanksgiving is over and time starts to go faster and faster. No rest for the weary now until Christmas day, when you can't do anything more anyway, and you just fall blearily back into the sofa cushions with your mug of coffee and think, next year I'll really do it up right.

I was over visiting my friends Gwen and Laura the other day. As we sat at the dining room table and looked out at a few errant flakes of softly falling snow, we talked about how Christmas is upon us, and about people we know who get the blues every year at this time. And I said to them, do you realize how many years we have sat in this exact same spot and gazed out at this same scene - except for first of those years the barn was still standing picturesquely in the background, before it caved in under the weight of spring snow, and then it was rebuilt as a house, and now a new addition is going up - and said these very same things?

The political and economic climates have changed a bit during this time, as well as the meteorologic climate. I believe winters are getting warmer, which is a good thing, because the government is cutting back on heating fuel subsidies to the poor. And from what they say, there are more and more poor.

I think I'll keep it simple this Christmas. I want to concentrate on light. I have this picture in my mind of colored lights and candles in the deep darkness of the winter solstice. Christmas comes at the darkest time of year, and those lights awaken a powerful atavisic feeling. A glorious, exciting feeling.

How did our ancestors get through the dead of winter before electricity, before kerosene lamps or candles? I'll bet our cave ancestors sat around the fire, their faces rapt in its glow, just as we do today, with the same sense of awe. Little Cave Bobby playing with burning sticks - don't play in the fire, Bobby! Little Cave Jenny staring dreamily into the coals, imagining heaven knows what.

They must have cooked their winter feasts over the fire. I wonder if the men were in charge of roasting the mastodon steaks, just as men today often specialize in barbecue?

Here's a gift idea for that man on your list! A deep fryer for turkeys! Remember? They are still popular, although not so new anymore, and I hear that men are the main people who operate them. Will you have deep-fried turkey this Christmas? Pretty cold out there. Rugged. The womenfolk can stay inside and yell out the back door. "Zip your coat up, Fred!"

How about a bigger deep frier for the Adirondacks, a deep, deep frier, capable of cooking a deer? There's an idea. You can't just throw the buck in there, either, splashing boiling peanut oil all over. You'll need to set up a winch, a special deep-frying buck winch.

Lower 'im in, Fred, easy does it, there you go!

I think this could work.

I wonder if our cave ancestors made music, too. Do you think they sang, rejoicing in the cold and darkness? The more I think of it, coming together to share light and music - and of course feasting - in celebration of the renewal of life is the best way to get through the dark season.

Maybe I won't paint after all. By this time next week I should have this all under control.

Have a good week!



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