Decking Halls

Deck the halls and hit the decks…lots of eggnog, not much sex.

Yes, it’s Christmas. And I spent the day overeating…and either I have forgotten Christmases past, which is entirely plausible, or my overindulgence was a bit feverish this year. I mean, when you experience compulsion, you do have to ask, what’s so compelling? And for me the most fever-inducing news comes from a research arm of the United Nations. Which has set out to study poverty in America. While asking a most obvious but disturbing question: can democracy stand this? Can people self-govern effectively when they can’t read effectively? When they can’t discern the merits, or demerits, of ideas…or worse, don’t want to?

Well, never mind the last bits. That’s me. Poverty is pulling the nation in two in ways that are frightening, with consequences that are historically predictable. And I’m overeating and trying to think about something else. And what I’m thinking is that with so much poverty visible in San Francisco, I might worry a bit less if I turned my attention to local human suffering. I’m volunteering with foster kids in 2018. A start.

I am old. What can I do? I can’t go on. I go on.

Yes, let’s get Beckett out of the way, and recall last night’s nativity play at Jane’s church. Great to see the place packed. Everyone likes a full house. And what’s even better is a house full of kids. In a costly city where raising children is fraught with challenges, Jane has managed to attract families to her church. How does she do it? I’m not really sure, for I don’t witness this firsthand. But ‘inclusive’ is probably the key word. Human bonds being the key concept. Families in this turbulent world form and then reform. And as long as they form around caring and commitment, who cares about the rest? That means gay couples with kids. It means divorced and remarried or divorced and single. Or just single with kids. It means parents, or people doing parenting, with at least one child doing childhood. Let’s enjoy this and make it work, being the operative concept.

And guess who was away in the manger during last night’s nativity pageant? Jane’s grandson Michael. His appearance in the leading role was no surprise to me. The kid is destined for stardom. True, Michael’s main stage debut did not involve a speaking part. Nor did it need to. His character is pivotal to the plot, and all eyes were upon him. Well, maybe not all. Many were directed to Mary and Joseph, each around 10 years old. They were attempting to discourse upon the availability of accommodation in Greater Bethlehem but were interrupted by a one-year-old, a little girl wearing floppy bunny ears who had wandered away from her parents and now stood next to the manger and, as it were, right in the middle of the dramatic action. In another era, someone would have wielded a giant hook to drag the kid off stage. But not in Jane’s church.

This experience left everyone hearty and happy. Joy to the world, indeed. And particular joy to Jane and joy to me for having her in my life. Merry jingle.

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