Sunday, December 31, 2006

One Last Christmas Card

When I was a child, I took all that you told me and built a fantasy village. In the snobby part of town are castles. The castles of Cinderella and her Prince, Scrooge’s elaborate dwelling, and the home of the wicked Queen (who thinks she is fairest of them all), with more mirror tiles than West Edmonton Mall.

Nursery rhyme characters live in the middle-class part of town. Jack Sprat and his plump wife are only a hop down the street from Jack be Nimble. Mother Goose runs a kind of animal drop-in center on the corner next to the Woman on social assistance overrun with children whose house was built by a shoemaker with raw hides rather than wood. The residents in this part of town worry little about street lighting as they are forced to retire early. Every night Bill Winkie runs up and down the streets in dressing-gown-drag demanding that they all go to bed.

There are parks as well. The park where the Queen and a bunch of flimsy and foolish cards gather often to play Croquet. And where rabbits in vests scurry about checking their watches while vision impaired mice fumble and feel their way around. The swans in the pond are so beautiful. But always with them I see an ugly duck with a tuff of hair fluffed across it’s head that is as close a copy to Donald Trump’s as Rosie’s is. (Oops, shouldn’t have done that but I just couldn’t resist.)

But across the tracks, there is another part of town where things are pretty dire. This is where you will find the Lamplighter, and the Little Match Girl, and the hollow gaunt faces of Tiny Tim and his family. But there is still a beauty to that slum part of town. Characterized by the street lamps. In winter as shadows gather and snowflakes fall, the old Lamp Lighter limps down those streets and with a long torch lights each lamp. Magically, the falling snow flakes catch the reflection of each tiny light and surround them with great globes of orange-yellow warmth and color. And therein is the beauty.

Why am I telling you all this? Because you need to understand it to know how thrilled I was to find that ED (eldest daughter) gave me something connected to my fantasy village for Christmas. I never told her. I don’t know how she knew. But she gave me a tall old-fashioned street lamp with three globes with Baroque tops and curved supports under those globes mounted on a tall ornate pillar.

Our old-fashioned house has extra-high ceilings in the livingroom so Christmas Day Hub stood it up there and turned on the lights. I looked at it and slipped from reality into an old-fashioned Christmas card where carolers with fur muffs and large music sheets stood in falling snow under a street lamp singing “Joy to the World”. I began to wonder if I really wanted it mounted by a sidewalk outside.

And then a few days later, the little twins came over from next door to walk the dogs. They stood for some time admiring the street light. Boy twin is always thinking. Always creating in his mind another collage. And always those collages are a thing of beauty with mechanical intrigue.

Suddenly, he grabbed at my sleeve. “It’s beautiful, Roberta,” he said. "Let’s use it to make a Christmas float. Let’s mount it on big truck flat-deck with a battery pack. And then with the lamps burning, we’ll get Mr. Smith to drive us through town while we bunch around the lamp and sing Christmas carols.”

Well you could have knocked me over with a feather. Sometimes I swear, though not blood related, that boy and I have uncanny imaginative connections. Obviously when he gazed at that street lamp he skipped off to that same imaginary village that I love to frolic in.

So now we’re off to a New Year in a few short hours. We’ll be leaving all the old stuff behind but don’t forget to pack your imagination. I’m no ‘snake-oil saleman’ when I tell you that a vivid imagination is the wondrous salve that so quickly heals the dreary wounds of everyday life. So pack it up and take it along. In the meantime...

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! (hugs, all 'round)


Anonymous said...

I'll join you, singing carols beneath the streetlight! Lovely post, Roberta.

Happy New Year to you and Hub!

Roberta said...

Thanks anonymous. I think I know who you are but hate to hazard a guess in case I'm wrong. Does your name start with a 'B'?

Regardless thanks for the greeting and the jolly offer to sing along. A Very Happy New Year to you as well!