diumenge, de desembre 26, 2004

The Day After, or the Aftermath (English)

Here we are, the day after Christmas. Is it only I, or do other people get sick of seeing and nearing Christmassy things after the day has come and gone? As an adult, I have found that I actually enjoy Christmas almost as much now as I did as a child, but after the event has come and gone, the meal eaten, the presents bestowed, the last thing I want to worry about for about 340 more days is Christmas. Unfortunately, it will be almost two months of snowmen and wreaths slowly withering amid the mid-winter weather, the feelings, good, bad, mediocre, will be largely forgotten in the coming weeks as we return to work, school, etc. These little symbols of the holiday will serve either to keep open old wounds or stir btter sweet recollections of something we can never repeat again.

Perhaps it's just something that I have a problem with...

It's the aftermath. I like the English word aftermath, by the by, we have such a negative association with it, but it's really one of those rare old complex Anglo-Saxon words that we still use in common parlance. The aftermath was the second reaping, after a field had been cleared, the farmers would return to collect the little left over bits from the first mathing, the first cut - they would go in and gather in the aftermath, not so nearly a negative term in that light. These days after Christmas are a little like the aftermath, in both the Anglo-Saxon sense and the contemporary.

Today has been pleasant. The first part was tranquil enough with only periodic old women outburst from my mother, now entering her dotage - conveniently this excuses her traditional bad behavior, now we can just blame it on her age and pretend it's almost cute!

In the afternoon family friends came by for coffee and doughnuts and a belated exchange of gifts. The husband, James, has recently finished a course of chemotherapy and radiation for esophageal cancer; inspite of the serious nature of thise disease, the doctors prognosis is positive; in the coming weeks he will most certainly undergo surgery to remove the cancerous section of his esophagus and replace it with a section of his intestines. Only a few years ago he suffered a significant heart attack and required a multiple by-pass. His situation bespeaks the reality of genetics and health. He has always been an active person, jogging, hunting, and working in a heavy labour job (a welder for a steel plant) . His behavior was not always perfect, for example he ate fairly poorly and smoked, but it seems clear that his active lifestyle helped offset this factor as well as what is a marked familial prediliction for heart related illness. Shortly after his heart attack and subsequent srugery, he was fully back in the swing of things. Likewise, now after his course of chemotherapy and radiaton, while bald and suffering from some sores related to the therapy, he is alert and active. His body is still quite strong. Of course, his relatively young age helps in this as well. Nonetheless, it was heartening to see him in such fine spirits, and I have little doubt that he will come back from this in flying colors.

Then in the evening, I went to visit blogger's own Tantrik chick, Theresa. Theresa and I have known each other for more than 25 years, since first grade. It was good to be able to spend time with her and catch up. You can read about her life in her own blog, so I won't spend time repeating it here; I'm just glad that she is so much closer to Schenectady than she had been when she was in Maine. We had a great meal of Indian food, and then I came home to find the neighbors here with my mother and brother playing Texas Hold'em. I joined in for a few rounds, and now I'm finishing up the night with the blog. Tomorrow I will rise at 7AM, so I can pack the car and head to Molly's on Main Street in Stroudsburg to have breakfast with another old friend, Suzanne.