This Holiday Season
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It's Christmas Eve and La Casa de Los Gatos hasn't felt so un-Christmassy in years. In our somewhat misspent youf, we regularly attended (for us) Midnight Mass at the old church near our school. The lurid stained-glass windows depicting the beating and torture of an unarmed man sort of really gets you into that Christmassy mood, but fortunately, was not quite so overpowering at midnight; and the procession began and ended at the nearby statue of the Blessed Virgin (lemme tellya, there was plenty of questioning about what exactly was this thing called "virgin," especially after the introduction of "virgin" oils and wools, and the like. You can't explain virgin without explaining sex, and the nuns would probably have preferred a red-hot poker up their collective ass to explaining sex to us kids). Said Blessed Virgin was a gentle, rather faded-looking lady with a sort of blue and gold burnous about her and lots of candles burning at her shrine. But in those days, Christmas for us meant a religious festival, and the joy of lighting one's candle at the shrine and proceeding around the church to the chanting of prayers and the singing of hymns had its own special beauty. Some of us who shall remain forever nameless appreciated that in our shrivelled black atheistic little hearts, for the sonorous beauty of the music, the grave measure of feet marching around the old building, the sight of tiny golden tongues of flame licking at the pitch blackness around the gray church walls.
So it's Christmas Eve, and tomorrow we pop a fat goose in the oven and roast a ton of little potatoes, parsnips, sweet potatoes, yams, rutabagas, and onions in goose fat, and braise some brussels sprouts with a little pancetta, and saute some red cabbage with wine vinegar and tiny currants, and handfuls of herbs and spices and orange and lemon peel, and La Casa de Los Gatos will smell like our idea of heaven, and we will eat a Christmas dinner with our beloveds.
We hope you are all doing the same. Our love to those of you who will be missing loved ones this year. We've suffered some heavy losses this decade, too, and will be remembering those who are gone. And remember, THIS is the REAL reason for the season:
Love each other and hold each other close, dear ones. We don't do it often enough, so use the holidays as an excuse if you must, but reach out to your loved ones with all your heart.Stumble It!