Monday, December 28, 2009

Things That Matter to Me, Christmas Edition

This tree.

It is made of propofol bottles. When she was getting radiation, we met a gruff anesthesiologist in his 80s. He had retired, but came out of retirement to do anesthesiology for the radiation patients. See, the only people who need anesthesiology for radiation are those under the age of about 5. So every morning, he comes in and works a few hours, for those “special” patients who are all scheduled first thing in the morning.

The most common anesthesia is propofol. His nurse explained that he takes all the empty propofol bottles, cleans them, runs them through the sterilizer, then takes them home. He and his wife glue them together with special glass glue, stuff them with tinsel and Christmas lights, back the whole thing with a special Christmas Tree shaped piece of felt, and give the trees he’s made all year to the pediatric patients he sees in December.

Little Warrior was treated in May. But she got one anyway.

You can keep your Fitz and Floyd, your Spode. This glass tree holds a place of honor in our household.

This crèche.

The BFF-DRE’s father made this for me, at her request. Each piece hand-carved, carefully put together. Each piece came in one of Dad’s old socks, gathered by the BFF-DRE’s mom, to keep them unscratched.

But see, that’s how the BFF-DRE’s family is. My house is full of mouthless teddy bears (so you can tell them anything when your sister is going through chemo, and they’ll never tell a soul), heating pads, baby blankets and other goodies, all made by the BFF-DRE’s mom. There’s one reason the BFF-DRE feels called to serve the world. Did I mention that the BFF-DRE’s father “retired” … and stays busy busy busy with Habitat for Humanity? Apple.Tree. Not far.


It’s taken different sizes through the years, but I am not ashamed to say that it’s also a big part of our Christmas season. Poor kitchen table, during December, it sees us only at breakfast time or when we’re cooling cookies. The rest of the time, we’re in the living room for meals. Meet Me in St. Louis, Christmas Vacation, It’s a Wonderful Life, Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas. Only one is my Moby Dick, and that is the original of A Christmas Memory, with Truman Capote doing the voice-over. (Reportedly slowed-down, because his natural voice was so so high. Apparently the master tapes have been lost. So sad.

But there are others to fill the gap. Polar Express, Elf, The Grinch (the original), A Christmas Story. Rudolph. Frosty. sigh. Home Alone. The Husband likes his humor of the Three Stooges type.
Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol. You don’t want some Razzleberry Gravy? REALLY?

So I'm not ashamed to say it. This time of year, I'm thankful for our TV.

A Christmas Feast

Not a meal, it's a book, long since lost its cover. My mother gave it to me Christmas of 1979 and it's filled with all the familiar Christmas stories to thrill a little girl's heart. "Yes Virginia," and "Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents," and Gift of the Magi and A Christmas Carol in Prose and "Think of having a whole penny for your very own. Think of having a cup and a cake and a stick of candy AND a penny. There had never been such a Christmas." And some other, less familiar, but no less wonderful stories, like Agatha Christie's "The Water Bus." Oh, it's so wonderful. Read it, please. And "The Peterkins' Christmas Tree." A family who gets a Christmas tree and it's taller than the ceiling ... so they cut a hole in the ceiling! Fancy that!

Every December, I crack it open again to read a couple of these familiar friends.

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