Sunday, December 20, 2009

the tree fell over tonight; it was jammed into a bucket of water and was pretty stable, but the boys were rough-housing on the couch and apparently something just made it tip, bucket, water, lights, everything, onto our new wooden floor. what a disaster. we unplugged everything and got out a bunch of towels.

i had actually made it a somewhat traditional evening by getting out an old odetta cassette that i'd been hankering to hear for a long time. just finding it, and getting out the cassette player, was a major undertaking. odetta's voice comes through clear and strong in spite of the old tape and there are songs on there that i definitely need to learn; i couldn't find them on the web. i have no idea where i got this cassette. it's like the afel boucum one. it just appeared and became one of my classic all time favorites. for us, especially the older boys, it always went with decorating the tree.

the tree disaster happened just as the pizza was arriving and that made it possible for kids to flee into the dining room and let me deal with the mess. four boys altogether, not counting me; my wife was out at the time also. the dogs had some idea that things were amiss and kept up with the yelping just to add pressure and atmosphere. i pointed out that it was the shortest day of the year- the solstice, the yule- it was a kind of festive occasion, even though it had its bizarre elements, the lit lights swimming around in spilled pine-water while i try to soak it up out of the cracks between the wood. the younger boys are in bed now- excited of course about the impending holiday; the older ones are out and about. it's cold here, but no snow yet, nothing like the two feet that socked the east coast, or some of the good stuff that has hit the southwest, west, north etc. none of it here, but some travel plans may be changed anyway, as an older son is off to nyc, supposedly, tomorrow. this is one reason i'm home. i need the walk; i've been making a movie; but, if there's a chance i can see him before he goes, i want that chance. we gave him something to remember, i think, with the falling-lights show, but, the night was young, and he still had some places to go, people to see, after seeing us.

not much success with the christmas card this year, or letter; i just haven't got it off the ground. tried to make the boys draw, but inspiration wasn't in the air, and dark pens weren't in their hands. maybe a good camera is more to the point, but, we have no snow. i have to think quickly here...time is running out.

i did the 180 degree, right-angle turn- from grading finals and crunching numbers, to doing the christmas thing- both hectic, frantic, all-consuming, a little too much. in my free time i read the biography of woody guthrie- how he kept the ballads coming, even amid stunning changes of scenery: small-town OK, TX, LA, NYC, Wash. DC- where he runs into the Lomaxes and they collect his songs. where people that meet him recognize him as unchanged by the circumstance, as a pure voice in turbulent times. this would be something i'd aspire to; don't know if i'd get it the same way, or want it, once i'd got it, but, that pure devotion to the music, and unflinching bent toward saying it the way he saw it- these were admirable. they give me a kind of spirit, to carry with me as i stand in line at the post office.

sorry about lack of titles, it's just not taking, with me. you could read my stories- they've got titles! pardon the language too; only the first one is even the slightest bit off. the rest are pretty durn polite, though not exactly bland.


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