Attention non-believers! There is a Christmas miracle taking place in middle Tennessee. For real. There are signs.
The first sign of the coming miracle took place on Thanksgiving, when, for the first time in five years, I had a guest and cooked a full-blown Thanksgiving dinner. There was a roasted turkey, dressing, potatoes, fresh cranberries, apple pear and nut side dish and chocolate bread pudding -- and wine. And a guest. This is the sort of thing imagined when I bought the house five years ago, but since that time, ambitions failed miserably, hosting just one New Year's party, one birthday party, and now finally, a Thanksgiving dinner.
Friday and Saturday brought the second sign of the miraculous. After years (ahem, decades) of mocking the Christmas movie genre, I watched many specimens a year ago while convalescing with a busted leg. Back then, the movie viewing was attributed to being in pain and on medication. Certainly, when in possession of full mobility and not under the influence of a controlled pharmaceutical, this would not be the case. Ummmm ... not so much.
This year, I embarked on Christmas movie viewing the entire Thanksgiving weekend. Willingly. Sought out the movies and to maximize the experience -- used commercial breaks to scan the TV guide, read the movie synopses and plan the next movie. Even with a recognition of the formulaic patterns in the plots -- parent/child reconciliation, frazzled person finds (or rekindles) love and becomes less cranky, family business is saved, widow/widower finds love/moves on, pretty girl must chose between two suitors, pretty girl hires fake boyfriend to avoid another holiday of family scrutiny for her spinsterhood, etc. -- I watched (and get this) without snarky commentary AND cried during practically every happy ending. This is much more like the kinder, gentler fifth grade version of me than the crusty cynical me -- closer to the me that existed before school bullying and life and love and disappointment were allowed to erode the candy coating and the iron clad walls were erected around a badly dinged heart.
The Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend, the third sign of the miracle came to pass -- Christmas decorations were installed in the living room and on the porch for the first time in several years. Cheerfully. Maybe the Christmas movies are rubbing off. The annual (feeble) excuse of "I won't be here at Christmas, and no one will even see them, so why bother?" was cast aside and replaced with "I'm doing it." There suddenly seemed to be more reasons TO decorate than to not. Everything needs to come down from the attic for moving anyway. I want to pare down the decorations to be moved. Why not get rid of Christmas stuff when someone else will actually be able to use it?
For the third night, I sit in the lovely glow of the shimmery silver tinsel tree. The picture window frame is trimmed at the top and sill with nine feet of artificial pine that perfectly fits each span, the 100 white lights casting soft shadows onto the ceiling. Unfortunately, after one night, the 100 lights woven in the pine on the sill ceased functioning. Maybe they got tired. Or maybe one of the dogs murdered them when trying to look out the window to bark at a deer or turkey trespassing in the front yard. No worries. I'll just pull another strand of lights from the massive storage container completely filled with lights and replace it this weekend.
And there's the fourth sign of the Christmas miracle -- I'm not even bothered by lights that broke after a few hours. Didn't even comment on it aloud. Someone should notify the proper authorities and get this miracle on record.