Friday, December 24, 2010

Reflections of Christmas Part 2

As an adult I spent Christmases in lots of places. I remember the year my Mom came to visit me in Los Angeles, 1980. I had a cute little house and it was going to be her first visit to me out west. As I decorated my little tree, TV on in the background, they announced John Lennon had been killed.. As a surviving original screaming Beatlemaniac, I just sat down and cried. Why? I'll never forget that day that put a huge damper on Christmas spirit all over the world.

Above is my mini Christmas tree and my Maine Coone Tigre, saddened that one of our personal heroes had been senselessly murdered. And so this was Christmas.

On a brighter note, I worked in the entertainment biz and my Mom got to meet one of her favorite stars that year, one of my "bosses" Paul Williams.

There are great memories of Christmases at my brother's renovated Victorian house in San Francisco's West End, where my mom drank her first tequila and accidentally ate some of his roommate Bruce's magic brownies set out for Christmas snacks. I remember enjoying many a Christmas gathering in San Francisco with my brother Larry, cousin Higgins, other former Toledoans, and new California friends .

Jumping back to Hawaii, I'd have to say my happiest years there were the ten years we lived in our rented coffee shack. It was affectionately known as the "Halfway house"...because it was halfway between the bay where we all worked on the Fairwind boat to everyone's homes. It was a funky house you'd expect to find in old Hawaii. The 100 year old house was constructed of one-by- twelves, with so many coats of paint, we felt that it was only that paint and the termites holding hands that was keeping the house standing. That coffee shack, where our good friend Dave is smart enough to still be living at $500 bucks a month, was the epitomy of my idea of living in Hawaii. We lived on acres of fruits and coffee trees with a wide open view of Kailua Bay. The coffee trees often flowered at Christmas creating a look of snow covered branches.  The poinsettias bloomed everywhere, big red splashes of color with bushes of white snowflake poinsettias next to them.  It was beautiful and felt like Christmas to me. People say the tropics 'just aren't Christmas' without blinding snow, freezing ass cold and blizzards.  But I disagree.  The photo below of the coffee trees flowering looks like fresh fallen snow but smells like lilies of the valley permeating the air. Give me the flower scent over the freezing ass cold any day.

I kept a patch of globe amaranth that I strung every year in fifty foot strands to decorate our tree.

But first we had to take the trip up the mountain and find our tree.  After a few years of driving up and marking our tree, we lazed into calling in an order. So we'd climb the mountain (in our trucks), walk around the tree farm looking for a ribbon with our name on it,  and came home with an almost identical tree every year. Below are Jim, me, Naomi and Jerry.  There are more pictures like this in my albums with other fellow annual tree seekers.  Not present, who should be, are Jack and Lisa who went up  the hill with us nearly every year for maybe 15 years? My apologies, I started getting carried away with the scanning!

Left to right, Dave Winters, me, Marylei Drake and Barbara.  We made the most of tree decorating parties.  Ok, we made the most of any occasion to party! We were young!

We liked to dance while we decorated.  I came to Mexico to dance more often, but my Hawaiian friends were such spontaneous dancers we didn't need any organized dance time.  Someone would just pop up and say, "Time to dance!" and we'd all follow suit. Dancing below are Robin, Jerry and Naomi. Not in the picture is James Dean, who jumped up and said, "Ok, everyone dance naked now!" and proceeded to strip down to his skibbies and dance on the railings.  He'd want me to pay him for the right to print those pictures.

This half decorated tree below and the above photos might be from 1995, but I'm not sure. The years ran together and.the trees always looked amazingly alike, so our parties every year also had the same constant components.  Lots of friends, food, drink and fun.

Slow dancing to- probably to Ray Charles Silent Night or something like that - (below) are two of my oldest friends. No, that's wrong, they're not old! These are two friends I've known for a long long time.....can you see the love?  Here I see the spirit of Christmas. Dancing a slow song while loving eachother eye to eye.

These are my cousins who come from the beautiful house on the river in Michigan.  They loved spending the holidays in Kona with us, and this is just one family shot of us enjoying Christmas Hawaiian style.  In the shot below we have, left to righ, Bill, Therese, Bruce, Lin, Dave, Megan, Amy, Reina, (behind)Anne, Ian, Chris(hiding), Richard, Renee and Jim. 

My reflections of Christmas really only touch the surface of great memories. Let's face it, at my age one has to have a shitload of memories of Christmases.  Once I started pulling pictures to scan from photo albums, I realized it would be a huge project to actually pull from every era.  So this is kind of a recap of good memories from Christmas seasons past.  I wish I had photos of lots more friends and family gatherings scanned to share here.  For me Christmas is about sharing, and remembering, and showing love and living peace.

The City of Merida spares no expense on Christmas lights or decorations.  The stores are packed with people and traffic is snarled.  For the wealthier residents, I imagine their gatherings to be like a typical American Christmas, with a huge tree in color coordinated decorations, underneath it an excess of expensive toys and presents inspired by US TV commercials.  The poorer people, today, on Christmas Eve, are taking their annual bonuses and scrambling to find a bargain here and there so they have gifts to exchange.  More than likely they will have a great family dinner, but often no Christmas tree.  Instead the priority is to spend time together, eating and drinking and telling stories.  Showing love and living peace....until they get too loaded and start fighting. That's another topic for another day. 

Christmas dinner at the coffee shack in 1995 with Mom and the Nolands.  

I guess I get nostalgic for Christmases past.  Although I've been in Merida for over three years, I'm going to have to say it's not that easy for me to make friends.  There isn't the comradery that I felt in most other places I've lived.  But this is a big city and I think that makes a difference.  When I first moved to LA I found it difficult to find a circle of friends.  It took a while there too.  Unfortunately this place is unique in the way that the foreign population doesn't socialize much with the local population, so that creates limitations I'm not familiar with.  I haven't bonded well with the expat community here, it's a tough nut to crack because I don't fit their mold.  I've gotten used to it and look forward to Christmas being quiet time at home together, eating well, and letting the madness go on outside and all around us.  Peace to all.  


norm said...

I think my wife found your Maine Coon cat, he lived under our deck for about two years before she got him to come in the house. Merry Christmas.

Linda Dorton said...

Tigre didn't go missing, he lived out his years in West Hollywood. Cool cats, aren't they?

Merry Christmas, Norm!

norm said...

We have two Maine cats, both walk ons, a pure black one about 3 feet long and one that looks like yours. We think they are related, both came fixed but in bad shape. Both are on the mend.
My daughter lives on Otto street, do you remember that street from your old hometown? I'm expecting her any moment.
As to friends in Yucatan, your a ruin fan, next time I'm down, I'll let you know and we'll try to hit a few of the out of the way ruins.

Linda Dorton said...

Just catching up on comments, sorry. Your offer sounds good, I love checking out the lesser known ruins.