My time in Boston has flown by in a whirlwind of holiday socializing and sister-izing. It's been grand, but it's time to head back home … to David and Nine of Cups. All the ordered boat parts arrived in plenty of time to stuff them into the two 23kg (50#) duffels that have been sitting on Lin's basement floor, slowly filling to capacity with every UPS delivery. I weighed the unwieldy duffels on Lin's bathroom scale. I had an ounce or so to spare in each one, but I had not yet packed any of my clothes!
Before leaving, I promised Lin I'd help to take down all the Christmas decorations and stow them away. It's a full-day's job, so I packed the duffels early and we planned our last full day together as a de-decorating day. We hauled out all the storage boxes and I de-ornamented the tree while Lin carefully wrapped each precious bauble in tissue paper and packed it away till next year. Then the lights came down and all that was left was a bare tree and millions of dry pine needles on the hardwood floor. We wrapped the tree in a sheet to contain it … a shroud of sorts … and dragged it down the stairs to the chiminea in Lin's woods leaving a trail of needles behind in our track. As is Lin's tradition, we planned to burn the tree. Goodbye to the old year and hello to the new.
There always seems to be one stubborn ornament that remains hidden on the tree. This year it was a brass elephant stuck in the middle of the tree, close to the trunk. As I lopped the branches off the tree to add them to the chiminea, there he was. It made me wonder how he had migrated to the inner branches to hide. Surely being stowed away till next year was preferable to be tossed into the fire!
We sat in wooden chairs on this crisp, cold day, sipping hot cider and rum, avoiding the smoke and cinders from the burning tree. We walked through the woods and reminisced about the challenging year past, talked about how lucky we were to have each other to share these challenges and what 2015 might hold for us.
As we say goodbye to the Christmas tree and 2014, don't forget First Foot Day. It's celebrated on New Year's Day in several countries including Greece and Scotland. The first person to set foot in your home after the stroke of midnight on New Year's Day is thought to bring good luck. It's not usually a resident family member and the person cannot be in the house at the stroke of midnight. The visitor usually brings some traditional gifts like bread, a coin and perhaps some whiskey or wine signifying that you'll have enough to eat, drink and spend for the upcoming year.
Just a hint … if you haven't checked out Days and Ways to Celebrate 2015, it's available here in .pdf format that will work well on you computer or tablet, or in Kindle format at Amazon. It's a whole year's worth of celebrations … day by day!