My neighbors were out in force this weekend decorating their houses for Christmas. I got the yearly flyer, printed on seasonal green paper, reminding me of (a) the holiday progressive dinner, (b) the tradition "many, many years old" of placing one dozen luminaries in front of each house thereby "creating an unbroken chain of light" throughout the neighborhood on Christmas Eve, and (c) the equally ancient tradition of putting a large red bow on every mailbox.
Last year, my daughter was across the street helping our dear friends place and light their luminary candles at the curb, when Dr. Z exclaimed, "I wish I knew what imbecile thought this one up!" Katharine could hardly contain herself and ran home to tell the imbecile - also known as Mom - what he said. We laughed so hard we nearly knocked over the dinner table. The progressive dinner was also my idea, as were the beribboned mailboxes. Back those "many many years" there were only about 50 houses and I was president of the Homeowners Association. I also started a Fourth of July Parade with bikes and wagons and baby strollers festooned with streamers and balloons and other red, white and blue do-dads and froo-froo. It culminated at the park with a huge picnic and super games like "Dunk The Dads." (Getting enough dads to agree to being dunked was one of the most difficult tasks of my administration). Apparently, as the years rolled on it became more difficult to get people organized; the 4th of July party was dropped. But while it lasted, it was great fun.
But getting back to Christmas. Christmas is not my favorite holiday. I far prefer Halloween and Thanksgiving. In fact, I far prefer just an ordinary day. The beauty of Christmas, and its true meaning, has gotten so lost it has become almost foreign to it. Inevitably, the hawking started even before the trick and treaters came ringing the doorbell. The odious commercials of the Lexus sitting on the driveway with a big red bow attached to the roof run several times an hour. Now, in all fairness, this year's commercials include the suggestion that a lower end automobile, such as a Kia, are also acceptable. You know...in such a bad economy we are allowed to make such concessions.
Thinking through all the Christmases I've lived through, I tried to remember if I have ever ever known someone who woke up on Christmas morning to a Lexus sitting on the driveway with a big red bow attached to its roof? No one came to mind. To whom are these commericals directed, I wonder. Why stop at a Lexus? Why not a private jet, or a swiss chalet, or a rocketship? Why not King Tut's death mask or the Hope Diamond? With expectations as magnanimous as that, what chance does the hand-knitted scarf or the bath gel have, you might ask? If you're lucky, and the people on your gift list are the right sort, the scarf and bath gel will be received with happy joy, and not one of the dear ones will expect a Lexus. I am as lucky as that. Nevertheless, the tinsel is losing its shine and I wish the hawkers and hype-sters would simply leave Christmas alone. Go sell something else.
Well, I really didn't come here to talk about Christmas at all. What I wanted to do was steal a meme from Baker's Daughter, who in turn borrowed it from Litlove. Caterwauling about Christmas was simply a tangent brought about by one of my...
10 Best Friends From Literature:
Mame Dennis, Auntie Mame. Because we all (even a Grinch such as myself)need a little Christmas every now and then - if we're being perfectly honest. Besides, she throws a great party.
Winnie The Pooh, "If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you." No explanation necessary.
Nancy Drew, she solves mysteries and drives a blue roadster convertible. She also has a handsome single father who would be a very cool date...for me!
Atticus Finch, To Kill A Mockingbird. Because sometimes you simply need a lawyer you can trust - or a Will that can't be broken.
Scarlett O'Hara, Gone With The Wind. Yes, she is selfish and willful and narcissistic, but she'll always land on her feet. A very practical friend to have.
Jean Valjean, Les Miserables. To remind me of redemption of the soul.
Glinda, The Good Witch Of The South, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. "She knows how to keep young in spite of the many years she's lived." I figured she'd also be able to get me back home should I ever get lost.
Severus Snape, Harry Potter Series. He knows how to yield a mean wand; and, I saw through to his goodness right from the start.
Sir Simon, The Canterville Ghost. Dear, sweet ghost...because he helps us understand "what Life is, what Death signifies, and why Love is stronger than both."
Black Beauty, Black Beauty. But not for what he might bring to me. We would explore our little world together. I'd feed him apples and sugar cubes and tell him he is the most beautiful horse that ever lived. He would have a warm place to sleep and sunny fields in which to run. No one would ever abuse him again; I'd make up for all of it and I'd always be ten years old. The same age I was when we first met.
It is hard to limit these friends to ten. Impossible, really. It's like trying to choose a favorite child. But here are the ones that spring immediately to mind. The others will, I pray, forgive me and not keep me up all night demanding to know why they didn't make the cut. They can be a pesky bunch.