No Sickness (O My Stars)

What would Christmas be without slow cooked chili and chive-flecked dumplings?

I remember using the mini food processor chopper thing to within an inch of its life, opening cans of Christmas delicacies like organic kidney beans, tomato paste (yes, organic tomato paste—who knew) and what is Christmas without ye olde Christmas mandarin oranges (but not in syrup). I recall pouring an entire bottle of pear cider into a saucepan, followed by a bottle of white wine and spoonfuls of mesquite honey and a dozen little logs of cinnamon which jammed appealingly, but failed to get the house as eu de Christmas as I wanted. I will never forget the cats huddled on the couch in the garage, their eyes thick with traumatization because of the visiting dogs invading their land—oh always cookies shedding the precious sprinkles to carpets, a stint for the martini glasses and wedding flutes and maybe no cranberry goat cheese log, but right on with the homemade chicken salsa and holiday chips, the slow cooked chili with chive-flecked dumplings and the potato and leek soup (there we go, a little more Christmas than anything besides the cider) and always the sense of keeping the sickness at bay by backing my smile with another of steel, by not acknowledging dubious splotches on floors and definitely by playing the piano with my own brand of semi-composed Edwardian passion as the company moved to the summery patio where the boy painted a birdhouse and the martinis resurfaced and the dogs tore through (up) the spartan yard and how could Christmas be Christmas without schedules utterly knocked off their hinges? Sunday, you speak to the stars, speaking showing your charms, you are books, you are bones, are you right—right for wishing?

But of course.

The view from the couch is so cheery I will never come down with the colds guests showed up with or that thing that is making my husband hug the commode today as the cats reclaim their cushions and nooks and our dog snores from 2 days of unfamiliar exertion and the boy—the beautiful, blue-eyed Christmas babe we lived all of Christmas through—naps.

It is boxing day. I am unwrapping my soul after disinfecting doorknobs. I am settling my eyes in sun and I have no further suggestions…Except, possibly, these: vitamins, juice and a fateful leap of the mind—right into 2012—quickly—before the next round of holiday trampling, before the neighbors throw another party in molto forte, before the boy wakes and we begin re-exploration of the Bat Cave toy, before the stars can even pretend they don’t hear a word I’m thinking. Leap——breathe.

About PB Rippey

Writer, wife, mother, grateful. Fiction, memoir, poetry, kidlit (MG), member SCBWI.
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