Tensions at the feeders have been running high the last few days. There are hundreds of birds and only 2 seed feeders and a suet cake. I looked out yesterday and it had come to blows on the ground under the feeder as they went for the few seeds that fell. It was like a perpetual hockey face off out there. So in addition to filling the hoppers each morning, I’ve taken to scattering a healthy scoop on the ground as well.

Things have gotten much more civil with more to go around.Hmmmm. More to go around would seem to contribute to more civility. Something well worth pondering, I’d say.

Sitting in the glow of our sweet little Fraser Fir, replete with old-fashioned-as-God-intended incandescent bulbs and little red bows. Early in their life as husband and wife, my parents found themselves short on Christmas decorations as well as funds to purchase them. So mom tied some red and white gingham bows to make the tree more festive. I came along around the same time, and those bows stuck around for several years into my childhood…long enough that I remember them. So a few years ago when D and I were having our first holiday together and found ourselves a little short on ornaments, bows were just the ticket. I love how they seem both humble and cheerful. So they’ve stuck around too.

Oh, and that book on the couch was a gift to 5-year-old me…we won’t talk about how many years ago that was, only that it was my favorite Christmas story other than THE Christmas Story as a child. We read it so much that I’m surprised it has held together. There’s a random stamp imprint on the inside cover…the kind used to on the back of checks when endorsing them for business deposit…that my sister stamped in there when she had her librarian phase and all of the books in the house became available to “check out.” I was pretty upset about it at the time. Now, facing our first Christmas without her, I’d be happy to let her stamp all over every book I own if it meant having her here.

That guitar is one I bought years ago at a charity auction that was donated by a woman who picked it up while on a trip to Costa Rica in the 70s. The barbed wire treble clef on the wall was a Christmas gift I gave to D when she was my dearest friend and musical compadre…long before it occurred to me that she was my very favorite person.

The “polar fleece” snowflake PJ pants are one of a 3-for-30 sale nearly 20 years ago now…it’s amazing how long plastic clothing can hold up. And the hat? That’s the first of what would become “a few” Stetson Stratoliners to nest on my noggin. It’s standing in as a lamp shade presently. I was in my small town hat shop and asked to try it on. That was the beginning of a beautiful relationship…or obsession…whichever you prefer.

Things don’t matter much…unless they are connected to memories that are part of who you have become and are becoming. Then they transcend the life of things and become sacraments of a sort.

I have a box of ornaments from my childhood that has followed me through this life. I’ve been without it the last few years and was getting used to the idea that I might never again have the experience of walking through the often happy, sometimes bittersweet memories they represent. But a few months ago, they found their way back to me once again. I’m very grateful for my little box of old friends…especially the ones that remind me of my sister, Lori, who left us this past July. Anyone else get the irony of this Christmas ornament made at Vacation Bible School? ????????