FROM THE SUBLIME
TO THE RIDICULOUS AND BACK AGAIN
25 December 2002
Technically, nearly midnight 24 December. It's been quite an...interesting day.
Walt was gone yesterday (went to San Francisco to pick Jeri up at the airport, and then
they both spent the night at my mother's). My plan was to get a lot done in his
absence. Unfortunately I ended up working most of the day (at the office) and then in the
evening, sat down to watch Jerry Falwell on Phil Donohue's show (why does anybody
listen to that pompous idiot?). Anyway, as is my wont, I dozed off and didn't get anything
done. True, things were in better shape than usually at this time of year, but that didn't
mean everything was done, by a long shot.
So at 5:30, I leaped up, realizing I'd slept way too long, and got to work. Got the
floor clean, got the table cleared (a monumental task), got bills paid, even finished most
of the Christmas cards that I had intended to send, but hadn't gotten to yet. It was 9:30
when I looked at the clock, realized that it was not, after all, Saturday, but Tuesday,
and that I had missed the WeightWatchers weigh-in. First time in nearly a year. So I have
no new accurate numbers for my tally here. Probably just as well, given that this is
Instead, I continued on with my chores and by about 2 pm, I realized that actually, I
was about as finished as I was going to get. Furniture still needs to be moved, but that's
a Christmas day task. I had finished with 30 minutes to spare before I had to go and work
at the city's Christmas dinner.
This dinner was started several years ago by some newcomers in town who had no family
and who wanted to be around other people for Christmas. It evolved into a meal for the
homeless and in recent years, it's just a dinner for anybody who wants to come. The
emphasis is on people who have nowhere else to go or no one to be with, or who are
homeless or low income, but nobody is turned away. Members of the community act as
cooks, servers, and cleaner-uppers.
It's Davis at its finest. The food Co-op sponsors it, with contributions from many,
many other merchants (except for Albertson's, which steadfastly refuses to contribute a
thing, so I am now going to change my supermarket to Safeway, which donates tons of food
for this dinner, for the weekly Community Meals, and for Gay Pride Day. I've shopped at
Albertson's (formerly Lucky's, which wasn't any better, apparently) for 30 years, but no
The event is held at the community center, which is beautifully decorated. Some
fraternity guys who heard about the dinner came with a tree, which they decorated. I
didn't see all the food, because I worked the early shift, before they actually started
serving food, but the dessert table was heaped with both donated and home-made desserts.
There was a big table piled high with bread and pastries which people who wanted could
take home with them. When I was leaving, the servers were arriving, and several of the
obviously homeless people had wandered in, shivering in the cold, and sat down to await
their dinner. A musical group had set up and was playing background music.
(that's the former mayor in the Santa hat)
People who came to work, or to join with the street people, all dropped
generous contributions in a box. The money will go to pay for the food and the extra money
will go to support the community meals.
It's a real feel-good event. Because of my yearly nervous breakdown, which means that
on Christmas Eve, I'm running around like a chicken with its head cut off, I've never
attended or worked this event. I think I will factor it into the plans for next year.
By the time I returned home, my mother and Jeri were there and we sat around chatting
and getting caught up. Then the phone rang. It was my cousin letting us know that her
father had just died. I just wrote about him a couple of days ago, when he had
open heart surgery the same day as his wife, my aunt (the one with Alzheimers), broke her
hip and was transported to a different hospital. Bill's surgery did not go well and his
recovery has been iffy since day one. Then he developed an infection and today they
discovered he was bleeding internally. My mother hoped he could hang on through Christmas
so his children and grandchildren didn't have to remember that Grandpa died over
Christmas, but alas that was not to be. It is a blessing, really--but still very difficult
to hear the news in the midst of all the happy celebrations.
But we couldn't dwell on it because we had to meet Ned and Marta at the home of Marta's
father and stepmother for a Christmas Eve dinner. There were a lot of us and the dinner
was quite nice, but at the conclusion, Marta's stepmother passed out party favors, among
which were kazoos. We have now done the entire standard Christmas carol repertoire in
kazoo chorus. Very, very silly, but a lot of fun.
(we may have warped 2 yr old Izabella for life!)
And then it was back home again to gather up the little
holly-and-evergreen arrangement I made and we're about to head off to the cemetery to pay
our mid-night respects to Paul and David.
As the day ends, I'm not sure whether to laugh or to cry. Instead, I think I'll just go