Christmas was a big deal when you were a kid and it’s a big deal when you have little kids but otherwise it’s no big deal. It remains to be seen whether I will have grandkids and whether having grandkids will restore Christmas big-dealness for a time. Will I be around for great-grandkids? Doubt it. But there’s my great-grandmother with her hand on my shoulder, looking over at my baby bro. Did we bring back some big-dealness to her Christmases or those of my grandmother next to her? Hope so.

I wish I had my grandmother’s awesome coat. A mid-century riff on provençal, and red. It’s so very me.

The best thing about Christmas is when you get an idea for a great gift. A gift you think will bring a little life to the life of someone you love. Actually, it’s the only thing about Christmas that makes it worth mentioning anymore. Maybe you wouldn’t think the five matching SPAM t-shirts from size itsy bitsy to XL I bought this year for the aforementioned baby bro and his family were anything special. But it wasn’t a totally random act. Little I do is totally random. It has to do with Hawaii, where we ran amok as teens. And, yes, I selfishly hope the subliminal suggestion will work: brother wears shirt, or sees it in his drawer or the laundry, or sees any member of his family wearing shirt, and thinks of me, or maybe even gets a sudden inexplicable urge to call or send an e-mail. I think of him all the time.

I got a gift today, from Chance. A treasure I’m glad to share. Take it if you need it. Now this is a great gift:

your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight in you.

Charles Bukowski, The Laughing Heart