Freezing drizzle in the early a.m. kept me housebound this morning. No errands beckoned me to scurry out in that mess and I was happy to linger over breakfast and enjoy that second cup of coffee before getting my day started.
Today was relegated to Christmas activities – decorating and addressing cards.
Decorating was placing Marcella the Christmas Moose on the corner cabinet in the kitchen. She is about 8 inches tall, soft and cuddly with red plaid antlers and makes me smile every time I glance over at her. The wreath, adorned with a row of Christmas characters, was hung on the steel door before the screen door freezes up again. It took me five minutes and I was done.
Gone forever is the all-day tree trimming and decorating as detailed in last year’s post (https://lindaschaubblog.net/2013/11/30/on-the-sunny-side-of-the-street). In a small house, for every item you remove to put out a Christmas decoration, you must find a temporary home for it. That’s a rather tedious affair, and now I find it easier to simply remember what the whole house looked like when it was so very festive and save myself the aggravation of all the work.
Next on the agenda was addressing the Christmas cards. I gathered the address book, cards, stamps and stickers. I have enough return stickers to last me the rest of my living days, and then some. Over the years I’ve contributed to charities for guide dogs, wildlife preservation, animal welfare and veterans – my reward is calendars, cards, notepads and address stickers – endless stickers.
I perused the list of addressees and noted happily that I was not crossing anyone off due to their passing or just dropping off the map. Sadly, it seems like the past few years, I’ve written out less and less cards for just those reasons.
It is hard to lose someone near an important holiday time because that holiday will forevermore be tainted by that loss. My good friend Marge lost her son Easter weekend, her grandson Mother’s Day weekend and her mom just passed away Wednesday, so this Thanksgiving and going forward will be bittersweet for Marge. My heart goes out to her.
The past two weeks a thought has niggled at the back of my mind and I cannot shake it free. It revolves around remembering a woman that recently passed away, but whom I never met.
Marge and I went to Elizabeth Park two weeks ago today and on the way home we passed a sign advertising an estate sale. “C’mon, let’s see what they have” Marge said and I responded that I’d never been to an estate sale. So this was my first time.
We looked outside, then entered through the sunroom and stood in a short queue which soon dispersed as attendees made their way to different rooms. While we didn’t know anything about the homeowner, we knew it was a woman by the array of goods available. As I walked around I felt as if this band of folks, including myself, were intruders as they perused the woman’s possessions.
Yet … I felt a small connection to this person.
Her interests mirrored my own.
In the basement were various pieces of exercise equipment, among them a bicycle, very similar to mine.
She was an avid reader – paperback novels lined several bookshelves.
But the items that captured my attention the most were dozens of red plush Christmas stockings, some stacked, some strewn about on a long table. Nearby was a plastic bin that contained baubles, ribbons, trims and packages of unopened glitter, no doubt intended to personalize those plush stockings. One day. Someday….
I have, through the years, been somewhat of an “artsy-fartsy” type myself as that expression goes.
I took art classes and liked doing pastels of flowers and animals.
I designed and did crewel work onto sweatshirts. They were beautiful, then I didn’t want to wear them in case they got ruined.
When I worked onsite, my mom and I crafted small holiday items and filled them with treats to surprise my coworkers when they arrived for work on all the traditional holidays. It was a pleasure for us to do so, and, though their treat was not unexpected, I enjoyed seeing their happy faces nonetheless.
This woman obviously lived alone, and, somehow my glimpse into her life made me gulp a little and I felt somewhat sad. Wow, this could be me one day.
Just before we left, I noticed a digital burglar alarm in the kitchen with the words “Navarre residence” displayed. When I was online later in the day, I matched the name and address and put a face to this woman – Jane Navarre. Somehow, it seemed to personalize her a little more, for me anyway, and take away from the harsh reality of seeing her treasures and trinkets scattered on long tables throughout what had been her home. I looked for an obituary notice but could not find one.
I’ll guess I’ll just let it go now, since I’ve committed my thoughts to this post.
I am, however, reminded of Jane and others, who have left us too soon, especially every time I hear James Taylor’s melancholy rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and the words about being together if the Fates allow.
It’s all heady stuff.
Hug those who make you smile.
Through the years
We all will be together,
If the Fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.
And have yourself A merry little Christmas now.