Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Roots and Branches

Margaret's mom - the one and only Suzy B. - died on June 2, 2009.  In less than two weeks her family shall gather as they have since time immemorial at her home on Christmas Eve.  It is on Christmas Eve - and not on Christmas Day - that the lion's share of the Christmas celebrating gets - well celebrated I suppose - on my wife's side of the family. 

What once was able to comfortably be conducted in the kitchen at 113 Howard Avenue has outgrown its original environs.  The combination of the horizontal growth (expansion) of the family unit from its orgins and the vertical growth of its individual, component members has driven us underground.  We shall celebrate this Christmas Eve as we did last year - in the basement at my in-law's home.  

While it seemed to me from my day-to-day exposure to them that Nanny (Margaret's grandmother) and Suzy B. applied themselves with unparalleled zeal and fervor to every family event and occasion, Christmas Eve was the one that they geared up for months in advance.  It was their night.  And in the Christmases since she said goodbye first to her grandmother and thereafter to her Mom my bride has picked up the Yuletide ball and run with it.  She has deputized Joe (and to a far lesser extent her ne'er do well spouse) to assist her in her efforts but truth be told (and who wants to chance a fib THIS time of year) she is a one-woman organizational gang. 

In the last few years of her life as Suzy B battled valiantly against the bastard that would eventually kill her, she and Joe had a small, tabletop Christmas tree on the table in their living room.  Margaret decorated it with pink ribbons and pink balls in her Mom's honor - a color scheme emblematic of the war she waged every day against the ravages of that insidious disease.  These past few years, while Suzy B. is no longer with us in person, she remains very much involved in Christmas Eve.  On Sunday afternoon I helped the Missus as the Nona Christmas Tree was set in its place of honor.  It is now situated in the space it shall occupy on Christmas Eve and from which the family matriarch can look down upon those she loved most of all spending Christmas Eve in her most favorite place of all....

....in one another's company.

Suddenly it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas.  Quite a bit in fact.  Quite a bit.


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