music in the park san jose

The older I get, the more nostalgic
– a wistful or sentimental longing for places, things,
acquaintances, or conditions belonging to the past – I get during
the holidays. I’ve also noticed that I can only tolerate short
visits to that internal mystical kingdom or I start sliding into
the not-so-pleasant state of melancholy.
The older I get, the more nostalgic – a wistful or sentimental longing for places, things, acquaintances, or conditions belonging to the past – I get during the holidays. I’ve also noticed that I can only tolerate short visits to that internal mystical kingdom or I start sliding into the not-so-pleasant state of melancholy.

For example … making Christmas goodies reminds me how much I miss baking a quadruple batch of sugar cookies rolled and cut into bells, Christmas trees, stars and gingerbread men. How I miss sitting at the kitchen table with my kids while we pasted every hue of powdered sugar icing onto each cookie and then finished off our beauteous creations with sprinkles, jimmies, red hots and raisins. How I miss laughing and talking and getting silly when we’d eaten too many broken boo-boos. How those cookies never seemed to taste as good when they weren’t eaten warm with co-conspirators at my side.

Planning my holiday menu reminds me how much I miss having to special order a Christmas turkey because there’d be so many guests at the table that we needed at least a 30-pound bird to feed them all. In the last three years, we’ve lost so many of our older (as well as some not-so-old) family members that our holidays gatherings have shrunk considerably. Then, this year the last two familial contingencies picked up and moved to Oregon to escape California taxes and traffic. That means there’ll only be four of us at the dining room table in 2005. (I’ve decided to serve prime rib – something that would be ridiculously expensive if all of our ghosts could eat.)

And of course watching the Sunday School department put on this year’s Christmas pageant reminds me of all the years when my little angel’s halo kept slipping or when my house coat robed shepherd had to dodge straw fights started by the Wise Men acting like Wise Guys.

At least Matt and Melissa can both make it home and we’ll be able to repeat some of our Christmas rituals. We’ll watch “White Christmas” and sing along with Bing and Rosemary in goofy melodramatic voices! We’ll watch “Christmas Story” for the thousandth time even though we know that Ralphie gets his Red Rider gun and does shoot his eyeglasses out.

We’ll open one gift on Christmas Eve, have a glass of egg nog with fresh nutmeg shaved on top, read the Luke 2 Christmas story and talk about the things we’re grateful for.

We’ll have the Bonnie-Brunch special in the morning with glasses of iced orange juice and hot, chocolaty coffee. Then, we’ll open the rest of our gifts and try them on or plug them in to see if they fit or work.

And, since it’s just the four of us, we’re planning to test out some new activities as well.

Mike bought us tickets to see a hockey game. That’s something we enjoy and rarely get to do together. And, it’s something we’d never give ourselves permission to do if other Evans’ needed us or our home during the holidays. We’ll trade our red-and-green outfits for teal and black, yell and do the jaw clomp during power plays … Sounds like a memory to me!

I’m hoping we’ll get to see the “Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” too. When the kids were little, each of them got to pick a book to have read to them before our last good night. When they got older, they didn’t enjoy the Dr. Seuss or Animal Planet books any more so I looked for a chapter book to read nightly. And, so it was that we began the Chronicles of Narnia together. Then, lights out and sweet dreams of lions who saved the world and children who acted courageously. Seeing the movie now will conjure up wonderful images of freshly bathed children in flannel pajamas, skootched together on the edge of a bed reading one chapter from a marvelous book. “No more,” said mom; and, “Never one word less,” said the kids.

Yes, this year will be different in many ways. But, I’m convinced it’ll give me my favorite Christmas present: more rich memories to add to my collective past.

And then, just like every other New Year’s Eve, I’ll turn with hope toward January and welcome all of the challenges and changes 2006 chooses to bring my way.

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