Friday, December 22, 2006

These Last Days Before Christmas

point blanket capote
It's always seemed to me that, these last few days before Christmas, time slows down and assumes a different pace. Things move as if in slow motion. The world pauses. Christmas vacation has begun.

When I was a kid we would go out and ride our sleds down the hill in our back yard. My sled had originally belonged to my Grandfather, and it dated back to before 1900. In those days we were on easy terms with the past.

We were waiting for Christmas. Waiting for Christmas presents. One year I got Mike Hazard, Secret Agent. Another year I got Major Matt Mason and his Space Station. Oddly enough, I never believed in Santa Claus. We weren't brought up that way.

point blanket capote
The Christmas tree was already beginning by now to shed needles all over the living room rug. In those days we had a real Christmas tree. There were some bulbs on the Christmas tree with fluid-filled glass columns, bubbles would bubble up in the fluid when the bulb was on and it got hot: these dated back to the 1930s, when my Dad was a kid. There were ornaments on the tree, such as a bugle, or a paper castle, which dated back to the 1890s, when my Grandfather was a kid.

My brother and I used to play a game called Journey to Bethlehem. I think it had originally been a greeting card. It folded out into a board game. The idea was, we were journeying to Bethlehem to see baby Jesus. You would draw a card and move to the next square with that symbol on it. The symbols were: blue angel, green shepherd, yellow star, red cup. I'm not quite sure what the cups had to do with it all. Some squares were like "move back two squares" or "lose one turn." This game was always a very special part of Christmas time for me.

In later years, I remember the time when I was living in North Carolina, 1100 miles from family and unable to afford the trip to see them for Christmas. And in these last few days before Christmas, I went out and got myself a gyroscope and a deck of Rook cards to amuse myself with, there alone in my apartment.

point blanket capote
Now this year, once again, time slows down in these last few days before Christmas. I have to pull my sermon together for Sunday, but I don't have much else that I have to do these next few days. I'll have a busy Sunday, and then Christmas morning, Monday, I'll be heading over into Wisconsin to visit my folks for several days.

My insane Christmas project this year involves turning out a wool coat to my own specifications. I got a Witney point blanket, and a couple of patterns which I've been mixing and recombining, from a historical reenactors' outfit. Old fashioned buttons made of horn from another outfit. And llama braid for edging from yet another outfit. All bought online. I've talked my Mom into doing the sewing while I'm over there, and the result ought to be a very usable winter coat, also a reasonably historically correct simulacrum of the coats, or capotes, made from wool point blankets and worn by Indians, French voyageurs, and whatnot, back in the old days up in Canada.

point blanket capote
Also, there's no snow in the forecast. Looks as though, for the first time in many years, we won't be having a white Christmas. Hunh.

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