Christmas has not been a particularly joyous time for Jeff and me in recent years. We used to be quite well-to-do with our good jobs and abundance of disposable income. We would host lavish Christmas Eve parties in our home and dazzle our friends and family with our fine food and drink. As if that weren't enough, we would also give them fine, tasteful and thoughtfully chosen gifts. Then we went into business for ourselves (our restaurant in St. Louis), failed in two years and bankrupted ourselves. As it turned out, our vast experience and professional credentials before the business failure are largely worthless now: no one wants to work with a failure anymore. The budget cutbacks, forced frugality and general discomfort of economic decline which a lot of Americans are only now beginning to feel as the recession deepens has been with Jeff and me for four Christmases now. I'm not whining about it: I am well aware that millions of people have always lived with that deprivation and worse and have never had the good times that we were so privileged to enjoy in years past. Nonetheless, it still sucks to not be able to buy anyone any gifts and to find oneself hoping (at 37 fucking years old) that Mom or Dad will send a card with a hundred bucks in it. Honestly, I couldn't care less about Christmas in terms of its cornball "real meaning," its attendant pseudo-religious claptrap and its embarrassing all-American materialism. I'm not a Scrooge, however, and I do value it as a time during the year for people to connect with their loved ones. It seems a good and gracious thing for people to do during what is otherwise the (literally) darkest time of the year. So I guess in that way it is sad for us to be far away from most of our loved ones and living through the great holiday just like it's any other stupid and pointless day. (Jeff did put up a really pretty Christmas tree, however, and its glow warms the room in which I now sit).
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Tuesday, December 23, 2008
But one loved one that we are not far away from this year is our nephew Drake (nephew by custom rather than blood: he is the son of our dear friends Pat and Heather). He lives right here in OKC about a mile and a half away from us. He is about two and a half years old and will be, tomorrow, the recipient of the only Christmas gift that I have purchased this year. Naturally, it's a book. It is a 1980s-vintage oversize hardback copy of Jean de Brunhoff's The Story of Babar the Little Elephant (the cover of its original French edition is the accompanying image--thanks Wiki). We have given Drake books before and we tend to inscribe them with notes that he will be able to read and enjoy (or be embarrassed by) when he is much older. This copy of Babar, however, was already inscribed. I found it at the used book shop and discovered that at some point in its history it had been a fourth-birthday gift for a kid named "Conner" and given by someone with the improbable name of "Mommy." Cleverly, I used the computer to create a new leaf, containing our inscription, which I glued over the mostly-blank page, forever hiding this Mommy person's scribbling. Our own inscription to Drake is too sweet to quote in such a place as this blog.
Happy holidays, M-Brane readers. Issue #1 of the zine is on schedule and may even hit early.Related Articles :