Christmas, 2012: Progression

Christmas Eve

Toy basket
Toy basket
Christmas Eve gift
Christmas Eve gift
Gift basket
Gift basket
Cautionary measure
Cautionary measure

Christmas Day

Snuffling
Snuffling
Trying out new doormat (itchy)
Trying out new doormat (itchy)
Assembling
Assembling
Kibitzing
Kibitzing
More assembling
More assembling
Still assembling
Still assembling
Still kibitzing
Still kibitzing
Examining
Examining
Admiring
Admiring
Charred cheese toast
Charred cheese toast
Greek yogurt with scruffy sections of clementine
Greek yogurt with scruffy sections of clementine
Messing with Texas (aka litter)
Messing with Texas (aka litter)
Cleaning up
Cleaning up
Watching the clock
Watching the clock

The rest of the story: David and I watched the clock for twenty minutes and then headed for the nearest movie theater to see Hitchcock. Of the seven viewers, six lasted to the end of the movie. One bailed out early. He looked too young to know who Alfred Hitchcock was. If he’d stayed, he’d have seen a pretty good show.

Tuesday marked my first visit a movie theater on Christmas Day. For my first four or five decades, my mother’s family clumped together every Christmas, singing carols, tearing into packages, eating too much, laughing, watching my grandmother try out a toy in the living room accompanied by protests that we kids had to play with them out by the garage.

But time passes and things change, and now David and I are the family. Our holiday was quiet. Since we’ve been married, I’ve cooked Christmas turkey, duck, Cornish hens, and goose, the last in homage to the Cratchit family. The experience of parboiling a goose prompted me to give up the pretense of enjoying domesticity. After the movie, we went to a Chinese restaurant, where the scales fell from my eyes. Everybody in Austin was at the Asian Lion, most of them queued up in front of David and me. But the chicken and green beans made the wait worthwhile. I came away feeling no guilt for breaking with tradition.

That wasn’t the first time I stepped out of my comfort zone around the holiday. Our first Christmas together, David and I spent Christmas Eve night in Cuidad Acuna, across the Rio Grande from Del Rio, Texas. It was cold. David managed to turn off the hotel room heater the wrong way, and it refused to come back on when needed.

He had originally wanted to spend Christmas in San Miguel de Allende, but I knew we would be beset by banditos or federales and wouldn’t get home for New Year’s, so he settled for Acuna. I should have  kept my mouth shut. I didn’t realize at the time that David knows what he’s doing, and he has no intention of walking into danger. But the moment has passed, and now I’ll probably never get to see the church that I’m told looks like a birthday cake.

Come to think of it, there was an atmosphere of anxiety during the trip. That was the Christmas Osama bin Laden had threatened to attack the U. S. At that time, I was oblivious to the possibilities (as were most of us before 2001), and focused on eating tacos Tapatios, tacos pastor, and tacos barbacoa, and on using as much of my thirty-year-old Spanish as I remembered, which consisted mostly of saying to David things like, “Como se llama soap?”

Anxiety arose on the way out of the country. A lot of traffic goes across the International Bridge every day, and pre-9/11 it seemed a mere formality. But, showing my drivers license to the guard, I remembered that this weekend, authorities were on alert. The guard asked where we were from. David, with his lawyerly background, answered the question he was asked:”Austin.” The guard looked a me, and my mind shattered: I was from Austin, well, I’d driven from Austin, but I lived in Fentress, but I was born in Luling…” I forgot to mention three years in the dormitory in San Marcos.

The guard gave me a l-o-n-g, speculative stare. I looked him straight in the eye. Finally, he nodded us through. I resumed breathing. I’m sure he’d concluded that if I had a secret, it would have tumbled out by then.

Well. I started out to say we had a good Christmas, and I wind up nearly eight hundred words later trying to get back across the Mexican border. But it’s a pleasant memory, right down to my bare feet on that cold, cold tile, so I’m glad I allowed myself to meander.

12 thoughts on “Christmas, 2012: Progression”

  1. It looks like you had a perfect Christmas. We, too, have seen our holiday traditions morph and change over the years as we’ve lived so far away from our family. I’ve come to enjoy our quiet and solitary day very much.

  2. Lovely trip. I had thought I would go see Les Miserable on Christmas Day, however, it was suppose to storm here so I did not go. Storm was much later so, like you, I wish I had gone.
    I enjoyed your meanderings.

  3. I know what you mean about “where are you from?”
    When somebody says “Are you from Austin?” I usually say, “Well, I’ve lived here THIS time since 1972, although I was born in Tyler…” Too much information, probably.
    I like your pictures. Are those little things that look like straws in the cats’ basket…straws?

  4. Looks like those kitties were quite spoiled at Christmas! And we have two other things in common; I would love to spend Christmas in San Miguel de Allende and my sis lived in those San Marcos dorms!

    1. Spoiled is the word. If you get to San Miguel de Allende, please let me know what it’s like. Where did your sister stay? I was in Butler, Falls, and Sterry. All of which may have been demolished by now, of course.

      I hope you have a very happy year.

  5. That was the most entertaining Christmas post, Kathy: there are not many who would take me to a movie theatre and also New Mexico on a round up like this. Those cats. They really are stars…

    1. Thank you. One note, however: It was Old Mexico, not New Mexico. Very different things when it comes to border town hotels. If we’d stayed in a hotel in New Mexico, there wouldn’t be a story at all!

      The cats send their best to Macaulay and Clive Bond.

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