23 December 2014

thinking about a solo Christmas about 20 years ago

My family is supposed to gather for Christmas dinner at my sister Carol's house in Branchport. She and Barb will prepare the meat and the rest of us will fill in around the edges. My sack of potatoes and yams, with a pound of butter, is waiting in the front hallway. Barb had been in the hospital over the weekend but is home now. Jeanette is up there already, helping prepare space and food. Doug called a while ago to see when I was going up and reported that there was some weather concern. Doug and Ian will probably go up today. I don't especially look forward to the idea of being stuck in Alfred while they're all up there but thinking about that has reminded me of a Christmas I did very happily spend alone, probably 1994, when I was living in Texas.

I had been reading about Our Lady of Dallas, a Cistercian abbey on the outskirts of Dallas in Irving. The church was designed by Gary Cunningham, a Dallas architect, and completed in 1992. Built in that wonderful sandstone you see around Texas, I had wanted to see it and figured that I'd just go to Christmas mass and listen to the Cistercians filling that space.
It was lovely. After mass, I went off to visit the Solana corporate park designed in the mid 1980s by Ricardo Legorreta. It was decorated for Christmas.
And then on to Decatur, another of those great county seats with a central square and courthouse. Much has been written about the courthouses of Texas. When coming back from Albuquerque to Fort Worth one time, I did county seat-hopping across western Texas southeast from Amarillo and Canyon. It's mostly flat country, the counties are about equal-sized, and the county seat is often central and on the principal blue highway. The route therefore becomes rather like steps. Anyway, I meandered around the mostly empty Decatur, listening to the piped Christmas music around the central square.
I don't remember feeling the least bit lonely. Being alone does not mean you're lonely, just like being in a crowd doesn't necessarily mean you're feeling cherished.

So I'm not sure how this Christmas will work out if the weather turns crazy (wintry mix being the last choice) but I'm willing to try another solo if necessary.

No comments: