I’m sitting on the porch writing this story. Taking in the view of the San Antonio bay and listening to holiday music. It’s not particularly warm, it’s muggy due to the moisture on the island this time of the year, but the view is spectacular, the way the afternoon sun is lighting up the Mediterranean blues. I’m sitting here listening to Chris de Burgh’s “A Spaceman Came Traveling” letting my mind wander back to Christmas’s past. As a child growing up in Dublin in the 70’s, out with Dad, dropping off his holiday gifts – personalized embossed leather-bound calendars, a box of biscuits, and either a bottle of wine or whiskey, depending on the client’s, no doubt. A thank you for the business done. He was some Auctioneer back in the day. He touched many people over the years with his charismatic charm, his pure energy, and his wonderful gift of storytelling. Those evenings sitting in the back of the car, with my siblings, taking in the lights of all the Christmas trees lit up along the way home. Bright shining colors and that sense of excitement everywhere. Christmas magic that comes with childhood. Fondest memories.
Then my mind wanders back to Liam & Connor, my beautiful boys, and the many wonderful ones we had as a family in Brooklyn Heights. The festive season always kicking off around my birthday in early December and the excitement of putting up the tree. Hanging all the colorful ornaments, those special handmade ones from over the years, some with photos of their precious little faces inserted in them. “Home Alone” playing in the background, enjoying a smooth glass of Pinot as something delicious roasts in the oven. The warm exciting feeling of being together, the start of the holidays. These memories I hold dear inside of me, so grateful for every one of them.
Many great memories in the bank. Seeing their little faces mesmerized watching the Rockettes, in the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall. The night drives down 5th Avenue to see the tree at Rockafeller, the opulent windows to get lost in at Saks & Lord & Taylor ……… really for me. The delicious hot chocolate drinks from L.A. Burdicks off 5th Avenue that was needed to keep us fueled & warm – yum! To the latter years sharing our annual Christmas Eve lunch, always in or around Union Square, Blue Water Grill, Craft or Union Square Cafe, because our final scramble for last-minute gifts was usually done at Paragon Sports. Dodging each other in the store to keep the magic alive. The number of tennis balls, tennis rackets & ski gear we bought for them over the years! Wow, the abundance at Christmastime to be felt in New York. I can see it clearly. A thousand fond memories.
And while the spirit of Christmas on this island is very quiet, the population is always smaller during the winter months and particularly more so this year, people had to leave, no business to be had. Choice of stores to shop in is a fraction of those you have in Manhattan. The glitz and glamour that comes with an American Christmas do not compare here in the Med. This will be a different Christmas for me and for so many everywhere. Restrictions are all around and so different from country to country. Will we ever experience a normal year again? Thanks, Covid-19, you really made your mark. 2020 goes down for looking more like George Orwell’s 1984 dystopian world to me and I’m saddened to see how so many are been affected. The collective energy on the world and the political world stage were being played on. This year when the world had to stop. When we all had to take stock and go within. And where it seems there will be much more of that after Christmas.
But all that said, as much as I miss family, old friends, and especially my precious boys this Christmas, I’m thankful that the spirit of these festive times past is so present with me today. I continue to tap into the energies, tune in to the music, watch the holiday movies, enjoy traditional treats, and hold onto the energy stored deep inside me, I’ll keep it alive. The memories will stay bright like the Christmas lights a glow. My way of keeping the spirit of Christmas going and the chance to create the brand new ones here in the Med.
Happy Christmas all and especially to those living abroad.