i wish, i wish….

soon as the snowflakes started to tumble from the sky, i threw on my puffy old coat, slipped in my boots, went out to play elf, quite early this morning.

never mind that the sun wasn’t yet out from under its covers. sleeping in, that sun was.

i’d been up hours already–16-year-old pulling an all-nighter, 8-year-old burning up with a fever (the yin and yang in my house really is something sometimes)–so why not shuffle through snowflakes, make my deliveries, greet the dawn with that rare, lung-filling mix of seasonal tiptoeing around.

might as well finish the job is more or less what i was thinking. fact is, i’d been up late into the night, filling my sacks with holiday breads, studded with cranberries, swirled with almond-y paste. i’d dropped in a helping of clementines, enough for every house along my way. and candy canes, too.

such was my merry christmas this year, up and down the alley. draping the bags over the knobs of so many doors.
christmas is simple this year. simple with purpose.

seems right to pare down, for a whole host of reasons. indeed, so says the look from my mate who happens to think not so much of the giving of holiday gifts. oh, don’t take that wrong. send him off to the store for a little something, he comes back with a thoroughly thought-out, utterly generous choice.

it’s just that, well, he does not–in any way–equate the giving of “stuff” with holidays. (sorry news for the two boys in this house who are living rebuttal to the notion that all jewish-catholic kids are holiday double-dippers. alas, they escape with not much more than hanukkah gelt and a christmas sock stuffed with an orange and various old-world trinkets.)

but that doesn’t stop me from wishing.

i wish, i wish this time of year, my head filling with a list that goes on and on.

oh, no, it’s not what you might be thinking. it’s not for me i’m wishing.

what i wish, darn it, is that i could be the merriest elf that ever there was and give and give till my old heart’s content.

i seem to find my december delight in thinking back over all the year, and wishing i could fill the arms and hearts of all of those who’ve sprinkled some sort of magic dust here upon my path……

i wish i could fill a basket, first off, for my little one’s teacher, a teacher who buried his very young wife, not even a year ago. i’d give him a blanket, and home-cooked breakfast, i’d wipe away the tears that surely will spill plenty of times in the long weeks to come.

i wish i could wrap up a house with an orchard and mail it off to the brother i love up in maine. i wish i could do the same, sans the orchard, to my very best friend in sunny LA, who feels very cramped in her tiny apartment, with a dog and a daughter besides.

i wish i could make the cancer go away for my across-the-street neighbor.

and i wish i could find a job for my friends who have lost them. especially the one with the newborn, and the wife who can’t bear to leave that baby for 10 hours every day, but will if she has to, if he can’t find work before this hard year ends.

i wish i could knit a sweater for the old man who lives next door, who tells me how his wife is dying, as tears run down his very sad face.

i wish i had time to bake beautiful cookies, and wrap them in bright shiny paper, for each of the very good souls who sit beside me on the days i toddle off to work, all of us typing away in what might be the end of the newspaper era.

i wish i had enough left-over sweets to make one heaping platter for the wonderful man at the front desk of the tower where i type, a bear of a man who greets me every morning with a heart-melting smile, and gives me reason to not mind the 45 minutes it took to get there.

i wish that each one of you could come to my house, pull up a chair, and dive into a big bowl of oranges, pour the coffee, slice through a nutty cinnamon cake.

i wish we could sit and watch the birds flutter by. i wish you could see the sunlight begin to filter in. and the candles flicker.

i wish, in one last outrageous wish, that i knew the address of the wee little boy who sat beside me on the train the other night, showing off his brand new construction boots, size 3 at most. i wish i could knock on his mama’s door, and hand over a tree, and a basket filled for christmasy dinner. and a bright shiny something for that kid who made the whole train car laugh out loud.

i wish for all the world to be blanketed in a holy comforter of peace. i wish for houses filled with joyful noise. and the utter silence of two dear friends who needn’t say a word.

i wish for whatever’s deepest in your heart to please, please, please come true.

i wish you merry almost christmas.

what do you wish for? let the wish list begin….