Well, Christmas 2012 is almost in the rear-view mirror and what a Christmas it was. It was unlike any Christmas I’ve ever experienced. Warm, sunny palm trees decked out in lights. Garland and wreaths adorn fences and front doors. Christmas balls decorate the numerous yucca plants bursting from the sandy soil. I feel a little like a visitor to a strange land, the land of the Tropical Christmas. I’m used to crisp, chilly or even down-right frigid weather on Christmas. Frost coating the remnants of summer’s lawn and the air heavy with the smoke from neighboring fireplaces. Not here… not now. We had no tree. I’ve always had a tree but this year, we decorated the mast with garland and lights. A red bow marks the “top” of our tree and we purchased one ornament. A tiny, plaster Santa who dangles precariously just above the opening into the deep dark bilge. No worries Mr. Claus… You didn’t have to navigate any dark, dirty chimneys for us this year. Nope… We woke up late this morning. We exchanged not a single gift. When I opened my eyes, my gift was all around me. My family, my boat, my life wide open to the sky. It’s an amazing and scary moment when you open your eyes and realize you might just be happy. Very happy.
I didn’t frequent one Mall or Big-box store this holiday season. I didn’t rush to a single party or stress over a last-minute gift that I didn’t get. I actually didn’t even have the “Spirit” until Sunday night. We’d just finished decorating the mast, poured a glass of wine and turned on some Christmas music. With the passing of Mel’s Mom recently, we had mixed emotions about how it would all feel. Palm trees decorated with Christmas lights, wreaths hung on pool and patio fences and christmas balls strewn on yucca plants don’t do much to evoke the NYC or Philadelphia Christmas vibe but we were trying. Then… something amazing happened. We heard music playing and we poked our heads out of the companionway to see where it was coming from. Low and behold, a sailboat adorned with beautiful, twinkling lights blasting “White Christmas” slowly passed by our stern. Dag-nabbit! Our tropical version of carolers… Instant smile. A rush of warmth ran through me as if I’d just tossed back three-fingers of Tennessee whiskey. Hello Spirit. You’re just in time. Follow that up with some Nat King-Cole and it all began to feel eerily ok.
Darla Smith says
Chris, I will Never stop loving your stories and your writing. This Christmas story was sooo like ours has been for the last 13 years.( Thats when we moved here ) It is such a strange and different place, especially the year I lost my mom, 2005, and lost my Kat, 2012. I have gone from decking out with lights and trees to having No spirit at all. Thats how it is ( I guess ) when there is No family around you. I dont regret a single moment coming here, although it is a sorta different world. I really cant compare mine to yours, ( being on a boat is WAY different ) but the situation is much the same. Love you bunches and Cannot describe the love I have for my sweetist Niece!!!
Lyn Lewis says
Love the story! The boat decked out in Christmas lights & playing White Christmas…so cool!