There's something about snow and Christmas. At least here in the northeast. How many Christmas tv shows end with "Hey...look!!!! It's starting to snow!!!" I'm at least as cynical as the rest of you but danged if I don't feel just a little choked up during "It's a wonderful life." C'mon man....the angel got his wings!!!! And when Scrooge sends that kid down the road to buy the goose? Well....let's just say my feminine side comes out.
I remember one Christmas Eve in Piscataway, NJ. It was probably around 1970 - 71 and I'd spent the evening with a few of the fellas at one of their parent's house down the road. Just doing what twenty year old guys do. Around midnight or so I took off and walked the mile and a half home through a fresh snowfall. The climb up Rivercrest Drive had a magical air. A night to remember. The snow made everything so quiet. Just me crunching my way home. Clear, clear sky. And stars. I stopped at the baseball park about halfway and pulled up a seat in the dugout. Again. (Did some of my best thinking in that dugout.) It was one of those moments you don't want to end. Moments that usually come when I'm alone. Or does it just seem that way. Floods of memories. Christmas will do that. Another Christmas Eve/Christmas morning an old flame and I were sitting downstairs in my parents house....probably watching "It's A Wonderful Life"... when a pal knocked on the window and he and his soon to be wife dropped in with a bottle of Amaretto. We did a few warming shots, laughed, wished a merry and said adios. Another moment....memory. Going out with my mom for a last minute Christmas tree and cringing as she worked the guy down from a dollar to fifty cents. ("Hey, what's he gonna do with it tomorrow?") Touche, mi a mama!!!
But that's what life ultimately is, isn't it? Just a bunch of little snapshots strung together. The big ones are great....graduations....weddings....vacations. But it's the in - between stuff that really ties it together. They say...and I'm badly paraphrasing.....that while you're planning for the future, or remembering the past, life happens. You could drive yourself crazy trying to decipher the coincidental lines of life. Remember the old poster of the Acid Cat? If you don't, I could never explain it, and if you do....no explanation necessary. Dayglow at its best. Roads. I was on my way to band practice one night in 1974 and stopped into Somerset Farms for a battery. Ran into an old friend who was also in a band......we reconnected.....combined the two bands and had a pretty good run for about five years. I could give you eighty five examples of serendipitous moments.....as you could give me....but it's still a hoot!!!!
And then there's the snapshots that don't lead to anything earth shattering, but that you just know are special and don't want to end. .....like the aforementioned Christmas Eve snow walk.
Linda and I spent a wonderful day in Central Park this summer. I've never had any special affinity for the park .....having been through it, but never stopping, oh about eight hundred times. But as belated birthday wishes must be honored, in we went. And dangbangit if I didn't have one of the best days of my life. It was a spectacular summer day and NY and Central Park were at their most entertaining. Bands, solo musicians, food carts, mimes....and who doesn't love a mime?.....Oh yeah....everybody hates a mime. Spent some time in Strawberry Fields. A few somber moments across the street at The Dakota. Dinner in Greenwich village. It was ALL good. We were sitting on one of the park benches in Strawberry Fields (really nice job, Yoko) and I remember reminding myself that this was one of those special moments. I didn't want it to end. And if some street folks didn't start brawling amongst themselves we probably would have stayed a while longer. Hey!!!! Give peace a chance, wouldja?
Think about your current job, wife/girlfriend, living situation, car, friends. How'd they come into your life. It's kind of cool unraveling these things we rarely think about. Like the great philosopher Ed Norton once said, "See Ralph...the SMALL details." (I refer you to The Honeymooners where Ralph inherits his "Fortune". Mayhem ensues......... homina...homina....homina.)
I think I use the phrase, "as I get older" a lot these days. But, as I get older, I see these moments more clearly...recognize them. Maybe not as they're happening....but soon. I look around the room. How the heck did I wind up here? Oh yeah...this...and that....and that other thing. What if Paul didn't get on the bus that summer day in Liverpool and run into John? Well, our day in Central Park may have been a little less special. Or would we have even been there? Submitted, for your approval. (Cue Twilight Zone music) We must appreciate what and who we have. A lot of people don't....have. And, as for you..... have a wonderful Christmas and peaceful New Year.