Thursday, January 13, 2011

Santa's Helper

After an early morning flight to the east coast and rush hour traffic on the NJ Turnpike I arrived at my parents' house in time for dinner.  I found them slower and more fragile than the last time I saw them, a mere six weeks ago.  The car accident has worn them out, aged them, and made it impossible for them to take care of simple domestic tasks like putting away the Christmas decorations. Well, simple is an overstatement. From a unlit crawl space behind a hall closet filled with winter coats I unearthed five large plastic bins filled with stuff -- bowls, vases, framed photographs -- that had been removed from shelves and table tops to make room for angels, Santas and snowmen.   Under my mother's direction, we made progress.  "I'm not doing all of this next year", she confessed.  "No you're not," I concurred, "It's too much." Too much stuff.  Too much effort.  Too much consuming, although she swears the majority of items were gifts.  I believe her.  Knowing my mother's philosophy -- if someone gives you something you display it -- I  comprehend how the holiday decorating had reached this level of absurdity.  "I wasn't even able to entertain this year, between the snow storm and the accident," she said with regret.  The twinkling tree and jolly St. Nicks were on display, but no one saw them.  The proverbial tree falls in the forest.  My mother's perfect presentation of Christmas is unseen, and the motivation to do it all again next year is thankfully questioned and hopefully not a distant thought next December.  Seven more bins, neatly stowed in the attic, await me tomorrow.

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