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The Sweet Smell of Christmas

Tuesday 11/29/22

Having done a lot of work today, I did what I usually do each year and texted my sister to let her know that Rudolph was airing tonight, so that my nephew and nieces could see it. Rudolph airs other times, but there is something about seeing it on TV "live" each year, when it first comes on. I send her things I think the kids will like. I do that with my friend John, too. His kids are older than my sister's. For instance, over Thanksgiving weekend, I texted my sister a link to the 1983 version of The Wind in the Willows, which features Michael Hordern as Badger, with Hordern being such a key figure in my book on 1951's Scrooge. That adaptation of The Wind in the Willows is the best production of many. I try to suggest things that kids and adults can love equally, though for different reasons, probably.

My sister sent me a photo of a Christmas book her kids have about a family of hedgehogs, and I mentioned a book that I loved so much as a child, which was about a family of bears at Christmas. How I loved this book. I wore this book out. There were places that you could scratch and sniff, and smell a pie, a candy cane, or the forest. The forest one was my absolute favorite.

Turns out it's still in print, and my sister has it, or her kids have it, anyway. I see things like this, and it makes me want to fight and try even harder to get past these bigots and get everything I have coming to me. To be in my house in Rockport, with a book like this--perhaps my mother has the original--on the shelf, and someone I care about with whom I can share what this book meant to me.

It's amazing how something can transport us, and inspire us to move forward. I see the cover, and I envision myself and feel what I felt at three, four, five, six, as I read this book. I memorized all the words from having it read to me so often by my mother. I'd read it with a cup of cocoa as I looked outside into the cold, and the woods behind our own house, where perhaps my father was working. He'd burn brush, and that smell in late November and throughout the Christmas season has always been a part of my consciousness. I'd get bundled up after, and head out to be with him. My parents were so loving. Very different from each other, but I loved being with each of them alone, and then when it was all of us together.

I must not give in. It'd be the easiest thing in the world to give in. I remind myself throughout every day what I am fighting for. All of the things I'm fighting for. For the world, for myself, for society, for culture, for people. Those reminders take all forms because I allow myself to be open to all forms. Even seeing a photo of this book's cover today was one of them.


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