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Sunday, December 26, 2010

THE DAY AFTER CHRISTMAS

"Tis the Day After Christmas, and the snow has been falling placidly and steadily since late this morning.  From my window I can see the big flurries falling on top of the neighbors' roofs and in every flake I pretend to see memories of this festive month: my grandaughter's  little face lightened by a wide and beautiful smile,


 my younger  son's graduation from college in the midst of an explosion of joy coming from students family and friends,


 the loss of our longtime car while driving back home moving all of my son's belongings because the motor was too sick to work anymore, my 11 hour round trip to Cortland to move his stuff into my car and inmediately head back home on the same day to continue with my Christmas preparations, buying food and presents which may or not please my never pleased husband, cooking for 35 people who might come or not depending on the menacing snow, a solemn midnight mass with an ocassional snore or two coming from my nose while my  amused bench neighbors looked at me,

 coming home for a hot chocolate drink and  opening the presents...this time only one son sadly unwraps his presents missing those times when everybody was around..,





 the party and grateful friends eating good food and enjoying nice conversation, the next day early breakfast with an occassional friend who has slept over, and eating the leftovers. A solitary Christmas Tree cookie half munched by one of the kids, lies on top of the table as a reminder of this past day. 

And I am oh so glad the heavens spared us yesterday so that everybody could travel to visit their loved ones in this part of this looooong island!
This is the first real snow of the season, and oh it has hit us real hard!  The storm is a result of a low pressure off the North Carolina coast, which was strengthening as it moved northeast, according to the National Weather Service.


Thousands of airline, train, and bus passengers have been stranded because of cancelled transportation,  due to the icy roads, and the city and private shovels have started their way,  digging into the falling snow  and throwing tons of salt to prevent the  cars from sliding. New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina are suffering the embattlement of the  storm. After Christmas sales have been postponed...and how I wonder how many people have been affected by not being able to go to all these after holiday sales or exchange those undesirable gifts.
In the hovels set up by the homeless, it's just the start of one of these days of crude cold in which they must get hands on whatever way they can to heat their  bodies and miserable dwellings...maybe burning some coal and logs they borrowed or got from some charitable businesses, inside a big steel drum, while extending over them their arms covered by shredded pieces of clothes and worn out mittens; maybe sleeping real close to one of their companions, so as to capture the inner heat of their fragile bodies.  Some of their kids  maybe went stranding around one of those middle class neighborhoods to just take a peek through some of their nicely decorated windows and watch dreamingly their wishes of a Christmas family celebration.This reminds me of that sad but beautiful story written by the Danish author, Hans Cristian Andersen, and first published in 1845: The Little Match Girl.  It is the story of a little girl who is selling matches in the street on a very cold winter Christmas night.  She is frightened to go home and get beat by her father.  And so she starts lighting up a match in hopes of getting some warmth. As they glow, she sees visions of a family party around a Christmas tree.


 She raises her face to the sky and sees a shooting star, and remembers that her deceased grandmother, who was the only person who treated her with love and kindness, told her that the star is a person who has just died and is going to heaven.  As she lights one of the matches, she sees her grandmother, who wants her to come with her.  She keeps striking all her matches to keep the vision alive.  The next morning, passerbys find her dead by a nook.  She has a wide smile  in her face.This story has been adapted by various media, and it has been turned into a short film and a television musical.
What a contrast!  Eveybody in the cities, every family has a story, sad or happy, conformist; all of them share in one way or the other the season.  And it is our duty to help in some way or the other to make the less fortunate, those ones who have nothing, so that they can share and find their ways to be able to also give a better life to their families and to themselves.  This can go on to political issues...to the obligation of our national and local governments to try to find ways in which we could share and give access to the less fortunate to all these inmediate needs they may have.  May the blanket of  a dusty snow wash us gently tomorrow from all our selfisness and cover us with peace, understanding and lots of hope for those who need it the most...not only at Christmas, but ALL YEAR ROUND.