It’s the Holdays: Simple Joys at Home and the City


We used to think of the “The Holidays” as encompassing perhaps what we could call the advent period, those days leading up to the celebration of Christmas and running into New Years and the extension of the college football season and bowl games.
These days, in this town, in our town, it seemed to me that holidays have become cyclical—the media outburst—we contributed to it—on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK seemed to fold itself into the holidays, if not the holiday spirit, because of its commemorative and ceremonial aspects.

You started thinking in those days about the coming holidays, about birthdays, about time and reunions and remembering, which is as much a part of “The Holidays” as turkeys, family get togethers, punch and finding a gift-wrapped car in your driveway, snow on the ground, sleighs and thousands of frequent flyers in the air, and the faint odor of ongoing local, state, country and world affairs bearing both hope and the scent and sense of unreality.

Maybe it was my birthday falls in December, maybe it was the nuttiness about the—excuse the expression—breakout of the affordable care act, but I wasn’t so interested in the news. Instead, I found myself touched every now and then by a simple and heartfelt fact—I have been a part of Georgetown through the Georgetowner for longer than I care to admit, as well as admitting that I care. This was brought home to me when I attended a CAG meeting at the City Tavern as old as Gerogetown itself, where Steve Kurtzman and the graceful Barbara Downs told tales of of Georgetown and of being former CAG presidents, along with Chris Murray, who gave the village an electric, edgy touch with his Govinda Gallery and rock and roll connections, as well as Pie Friendly, sharp-minded and full of memory.

I was reminded again being at the Georgetown Seniors Center for Thanksgiving lunch as festive as any I can recall, an occasion full of songs.

On Thanksgiving, we watched the Macy’s Parade, and the National Dog Show, but not football. We celebrated the day with friends, and we went to the Downtown Christmas Market. I used my Barnes and Nobles Gift Card to buy Doris Kearns’ latest gift to the history of America, a tome on Teddy Roosevelt, Taft and the crusading muckrakers of the turn of the century.
Things happened: Former Treasury secretary Tim Geitner was seen giving a dollar to a homeless man in Georgetown, according to the Washington Post. Someone robbed the buckets from a Salvation Army office. Pope Francis told the world that he was not happy with the gap between wealthy and poor, with rampant consumerism, sounding more and more like he was preaching parts of the Sermon on the Mount.

We went to see “The King and I” in Olney. I saw a grown old man cry at the end of this terrific production which overcame the memory of Yul Brynner and stands up in its own right.

And so it goes. Or, as the King of Siam would say, right on both counts, “It is a puzzlement,” and et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. The holidays remain still bright and beckoning.

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