Samain and the Holiseason Moon
Friday gratefuls: Thanks giving. Kate. Who was always prepared. Ruth, who did not want to talk about Grandma. Then, did. Good stories, well told, bringing Grandma to Thanksgiving. The Ham. The Stuffing. The Pecan Pie and the Cranberry sauce, both made by Ruth. The Texas Toothpick Gabe got me served the ham. “It was the best present ever for you, Grandpop.”
Sparks of Joy and Awe: The kitchen remodel
Tarot: doing a spread later
It has come and gone. The first major holiday without my wife, without Grandma, without the oldest sister, without Kep and Rigel’s and Jon’s mom. These are holes in the fabric of our family, dug by Azrael. Left to be filled in as we knit together a new family, one without her physical presence.
Since I have long cooked the holiday meals and since Kate’s presence as an active participant in the holidays began to fade a couple of years ago, it was not as painful as it might have been for me. Ruth, less so. Jon, too. Gabe seems pretty level.
We spent time talking about Kate. Jon remembered when she brought the makings for pizza when he was in rehab. Ruth remembered Kate and her cooking. Gabe said he didn’t remember much. I told about the time in the Galliard Cut of the Panama Canal when a woman sitting with us pulled out wet wipes, just like Kate always did, and I gave in to her be prepared way. Then there was that time in Pizarro’s house (really) in Lima, Peru. She leaned her head on my shoulder. So much more.
On our honeymoon I got pneumonia and spent most of the time in Vienna recovering. Thanks to the antibiotics Kate had packed. Kate as the ninja weeder. Her name for her dogged attention to the plants out of place in our garden. A bandana around her forehead, a spading trowel in her hand. She gave so many things all she had. The ski bags she made for Jon. That dress she made from six-year old Ruth’s sketch. The shirts she made for me. Her medical practice. Her quilts. What a woman. So lucky I met her and got to love her. Be loved by her. May her journey be what it needs to be.
Slept in for an hour this morning. Cooking and cleaning up after a big meal. Whew. I find myself now able to do all that, not cringe. Just do it. What I’m not is a great host. Kate had that gene though neither of us enjoyed the role. Wonder if I could learn? Not sure. The introverted me finds shepherding an event and cooking/cleaning for same just too much. Not sure if I want to learn though it is an ancient and honored part of entertaining. Making folks feel welcome, seeding good conversations, maybe a game or two.
Whenever reading books about the Middle East, especially historical works, the rules of hospitality are so prominent. No matter who, even an enemy, deserved and received at least three days of food and shelter and freedom from attack. Don’t know whether that reflects actual practice, but they did lift hospitality to a prominent social norm, for sure.
Sunday night, the first night of Hanukkah, Jon and the kids return. I’m making brisket, traditional, and Jon has the making for latkes. We got a gift from Schecky and BJ, a box of lox (hah), latkes, apple sauce, sour cream, Hanukkah candles, and gelt. The presents from the sisters, the wrapped ones, are on the downstairs table. Not sure yet how we’ll handle the 8 days of present giving and candle lighting. We’ll decide on Sunday.
Another first without Kate.