And my various and wacky Bonifacian trinkets with it.
While PH Fred finds it hard to survive New Orleans and others the city and world over suffer in a similar fashion and differently, I am thankful and content to have pulled my intact tree and ornaments out of storage and put them up, albeit after two long years.
As a Hindu child growing up in Muslim Kuwait, I didn’t have the opportunity to open presents under the warm glow of corded lights and glass baubles once every year. Each Christmas, however, my parents ushered me to parties at the homes of Christian family friends and colleagues, where I would stand before the tree and compare its ornaments with the personality of the one who put it up. Not once did I fathom living in America with my own personal fir … nor did I care with fresh fruitcake on the line, lovingly baked by my pediatrician (Dr. Sara Mathews, whom I refer to as Dr. Aunty to this day) and Mom’s friend, Ansa. Yes, Virginia, there is a Fruitcake Junkie, and she is me.
Kuwait. India. The Midwest. New Orleans. Houston. New Orleans. It sure brings back memories. All of the beautiful heirlooms my mother and her friends lost in Kuwait to the war, the Christmas tree that Sharon will never put up again, the blue Christmas tree R shared with me last year, friends lost and gained over the years. (Just in case you think I’m all weepy, remember that a sense of humor balances out the tears every time).
All of the things I have remind me that this is a time for giving more than we normally do in post-Katrina New Orleans. The season also turns me into a utilitarian Martha Stewart – I clean house with a rabid zeal, get rid of things no longer required and combine disparate objects and find a use for them. For example, I unearthed a corkboard and a bolt of raw silk, which I turned into a display pallet for necklaces. Dangerblond and I ought to star in our own local cable access TV show, along the lines of Mission: Organization. I’ll tackle the insides, while she works her magic on the yards and gardens.
Boxes and boxes of clothes and shoes were taken to Covenant House, while strictly following my new rule for personal purchases – for each new piece of clothing I buy, one piece of existing clothing goes to charity or a friend. We collect so many things and much crap over the years; living in this city shows how much we can and cannot afford, and what we are to prioritize. Not replaceable things, but people.
There is one thing I saved from a trash pile in destroyed Lakeview. How could I pass up a cute monkey? Doesn’t he look adorable in his new home holding up the Christmas coconut tree? Happy season, y’all. I can’t believe it’s been a year already.
P.S. Where will I be this Christmas, you ask? Bien sur, at the last Packer home game of the season. Favre will never leave the Pack, but on the off chance that he retires after this year, I’d like to be there for the last home game of The Best Quarterback Ever. Besides, what’s more fun than taking on the ViQueens?