In the days before Christmas, I awakened from time to time with a whole bag of chilling thoughts. What if I had forgotten someone, neglected to carry out some holiday task or other? What if the free range organic turkey breast (and all the stuff that went with it) was a complete fiasco and our holiday meal was a disaster? What if guests fell on our sidewalk, had an accident on the way over for dinner? In predawn darkness, my unsettled mind worried, fretted, pondered and spun on its axis like a tiny, cold and unknown planet somewhere beyond the rim.
What was I worrying about? Refrigerator and larder were stuffed full of good things to be cooked up or roasted. Gifts were wrapped and waiting to be opened. There was a fine list clipped to the refrigerator and getting longer by the hour. There was a telephone to use in contacting guests and offering to provide alternative ways for them to get to our threshold. There was e-mail.
Somewhere in the midst of all the toings and froings on Christmas morning, I looked down at one of my lists and found myself engaged in what can only be described as a moment of eccentric pleasure: at the lovely thick lined paper I was writing on, at my old Waterman pen and how it felt in my hand, at the color of the ink and the effortless way it was flowing onto the page, at the sound of the silky nib lightly caressing the paper.
In hectic times, such small pleasures are vivid, graceful and unexpected, a comfort in one's life. They are also a powerful reminder that things usually turn out somehow, if not as one expects they will, then certainly as they should.
Christmas was perfect, and I would love to be around for several more.