Sunday, December 03, 2006

How Do I Do Christmas Eve?

Doug lives in Manhattan now and he came home today as he does most Sundays. I told him it's fine not to, but he says he wants to - sweet - until he smirked,

"Because you have the football package."

Later in the day Jackie and Glenn and Skylar popped over for dinner and the house got loud and frantic as we all played hide and seek and crawled around being puppies thrilled to be taking silly orders from a 2 and a half year old.

The toddler that Jimmy knew 8 months ago is a little girl. The passage of time is undeniable as she helps me make the salad with the finese of a midget Martha Stewart. I just hope jail time isn't in her future.

We talked about Christmas Eve. That was Jimmy's holiday - he cooked and prepared for more than 20 people and did it with the ease of a pro. Each year he had a theme. One year he made a volcano with shrimp and calamari overflowing.

Another Christmas Eve he had little carrot bundles that were supposed to be boats and he arranged the shrimp in the shape of a tortoise. All this was on a blue foil to symbolize the water.

He was proud and there was a lot of oohing and ahhing and applause. He wore a chefs hat and apron and moved the macaroni out of the kitchen onto the plates and into the dining room with flawless rhythem.

We had a Santa suit and for many years each of us took turns being Santa. After dinner the designated Santa and half a dozen of us elves would go two doors down to Marie and Dick's house and bring a pillowcase filled with toys to their little grandchildren. These grandchildren are older now and I always expected to use that Santa suit for our own.

The other day I saw Marie and Dick putting up their Christmas lights and I remembered that the last time I saw them they were knealing by Jimmy's coffin.

So, how do I do Christmas Eve? I can't.