... Christmas. The only contact we had with family was via iPhone, Skype, and Face Time! Which, this time, should be considered treasured gifts. We spoke with my younger son, Jason, in frigid Iowa, on the telephone. He fares well, with his beloved guitars--a wall of them--his carefully appointed house, his art collection, and his dog Louis. We had a lovely Skype session, connecting in the warm South of France with my older son, Matthew, along with his wife, Diane, and their three children, Alice, Georgia and Joe. They are spending the holidays at the home of Diane's parents, Helena and Leslie, and we managed to spend a few moments with Leslie, too. Our daughter, Sarah, Face Time'd (a verb?) us from Washington D.C., where she and (now 4-year old!) Luka are staying at the Georgetown home of Sarah's friend, Tim's parents, David and Chloe, and having the best of times. A stream of images arrived from them in the course of Christmas Day...
So, yes, a wonderful family. We loved hearing from them all, but could not help feeling sad that we are all so far distant from each other. We're more than grateful for the electronic contact, but it's not the same as sitting around a table. Come August this year, we plan to do this--sit together, as many of us as possible--around a table, to celebrate the Very Big Birthday I'm anticipating then.
Also strange, because no family, to go to the movies on Christmas Day. Though, it seems, not so strange, because we never saw so many people at the multiplex we frequent. What were they all doing there? What were we doing there? The line was so long at the box office that most of us, ourselves included, missed the start of the movie they had come to see and had to choose another. I ended up googling, as we stood in line, and buying tickets online instead of waiting for the box office. Then we had to stand in a second line to pick up the tickets I had managed to buy on my telephone. As John Lennon said in song I love, "Strange days, indeed."
Our second choice turned out to be truly terrific movie: The Danish Girl is the story of a delightful couple--painters, both--confronted with the man's slow and painful acknowledgement that he is, in fact, a woman. Their journey, from light-hearted pretense to mutual agony, is told with slow deliberation, in images as carefully constructed and as affecting as the paintings they both make... But this is not a film review. It's just to say, don't miss this one. You'll end up in tears, but of the good kind.
A bowl of soup and a piece of toasted bagel for Christmas dinner. We even forgot to light the fire in the fireplace. We wish to all our fellow human beings as many blessings as we have ourselves.