Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Front Street Christmas/Joseph Nathan

So I have been working at the Christmas bureau, a joint venture of the newspaper, Volunteers of America and Catholic Charities. On the first day semis dropped off trailers jammed full of toys and it felt like, on so many levels, that Santa had arrived.

Monsignor Bach hustled around stocking the bathrooms with kleenex and paper towels and when lunch for the volunteers ran short, hopped up and ordered pizza. Paid for it himself. This man has been helping other people in whatever fashion possible for his whole life. My old friend Marilee was there; we partnered on opening the first shelter for street kids here in The 'Kan EWA. She, too, has been at this her whole life. I knew many of the people there who were taking freight off the big rigs with lift trucks, hand trucks and in a truly inspired fashion, with office chairs. I have worked with them before on arts fairs, alcohol education in public schools, Catholic school magazine drives, puppet shows about developmentally disabled people, foster parent initiatives, and yes, all those other hugely important things that a community needs and must have in order to take some pride and some courage in itself.

So I was touched, but not surprised to see people that I have not seen in quite a few years scurrying around getting ready to open the Christmas bureau up and touched and disturbed by the amount of toys, games and sporting goods that are necessary for a lot kids here in The 'Kan EWA to know that Santa cares about them. I can't help but think about Bob Barker, who was Santa's buddy for his whole life and now lives with Santa. And my mother, who had impressive holiday standards and traditions by any measure and passed most of those on to her sons. It touches me deeply to see how my brothers decorate their houses for Christmas.

my mom's nativity

Not this chicken. I drink in the glory, the splendor, the hope of this time of year that is my children. I decorate and celebrate them. Together we put up a tree and cook and watch movies. Then they run back to their friends for New Year's and the silent snow of January looms.

It's foggy and very cold here this morning. That's not necessarily a bad thing--it's just quite still. And possible to hear all the voices of the ages swim together, laughing about old times and old jokes, past presents and impossibly wonderful surprises waiting, singing the carols of really happy times-- stuffing the turkey, kneading the rolls, wrapping presents and stomping off the snow of the outside dark just inside the back door.

It's just that when it's cold and still, I can look out the window into the fog and hear the voices clearer and clearer and clearer.

The 'Kan EWA


Lindsey said...

I do miss the stillness that a fresh snow brings. :)

toadman said...

That isn't Bellmaison, is it? Nope.. didn't think so..

Also, really liked this piece. Well written. I like the fog, but am anticipating the silence of the snow blanket that is to come.

JBelle said...

LL: :) back. And thanks for not teasing me about the voices in my head.

JBelle said...

No, this is not Bellemaison. This is Front Avenue in Coeur d'Alene. Isn't it magic? The snow's coming, Toad. Coming for you and for me. ;)

inlandempiregirl said...

I really love your mother's nativity. My mom always has hers on the entertainment center but now has an amazing collection of angels that surround her nativity. I hope you are feeling better... just read the comment on HBO.

JBelle said...

heeey Mrs. Roosevelt :)

I would LOVE to see your mother's choir of angels. Is it possible that one of you will photo it? I got the Monsignor's mother's nativity. I was so ashamed of myself. It's absolutely gorgeous. Just The Holy Family in figure about 9" high in a matte finish. A*maz*ing.

I am feeling much better this evening after spending all day in bed, with no phone, no computer, no work at all. sigh. I am so screwed. But I am feeling better tonight! Thank you so much for your concern.

Carla said...

Lovely writing. This one made me nostalgic. There is magic in the air. Your mother had a lovely nativity.

JBelle said...

Carla, She painted her nativity in ceramics. She LOVED ceramics. She did her Kings and their camel in bright jewel tones but did The Holy Family in neutrals with gold accents. I don't have another nativity with that idea!