By SUSAN DROMEY HEETER, InDepthNH.org
For the first time in my life, we put up Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving. We’ve had our tree, our creche set, our Santas around for a while now.
I’ve grown used to them. In this pandemic, they have become my friends, my buddies, my confidants. I’m not sure I want to see them go. I muse joyfully on my friends who have comforted me through a season unlike any other, who have kept me warm and safe and slightly crazy…er.
I just read where Paul McCartney speaks to George Harrison through a tree. I love that idea and have used our Christmas tree to speak to friends near and far. The ornaments bring me to my girls as babies, travels, nieces and nephews and cousins I’ve not seen for a bit.
I like carrying my laundry basket by them and announce, “Hi! Just going to put some underwear and pajamas in the wash – need anything done?” They never do and I enjoy that they have enough clean clothes to continue their stay. They are happy in their boughs, laughing through the pines that grow brown, delighted to hang on for a bit.
In early December, I found three penguins wearing winter hats. I love them; they stand beneath pine trees in my kitchen; the trees are made of fabric, but my penguins are happy in their shade, dressed for the season, talking amongst themselves.
I’m not sure what they discuss, but I gaze on them when I drink my morning tea, read my newspaper, write in my journal. They are constants in a world where I’ve not seen my usual friends, family, co-workers. But these penguins have stood by me for a bit now, the thought of putting them in a box makes me sad; I think I’ll keep them out for a bit. I need their company.
Tom Hanks had Wilson on his island in Castaway. I have my penguins who will stay after I’ve put most of the holiday decor away. I’ll wish ornaments and my nativity set safe travels, admonish Mary, Joseph and Jesus to put on their masks, encourage Balthazar, Caspar, and Melchoir to stay at least six feet away. They’ve been traveling, who knows what they’ve been around on their journeys.
Santa is ready to go; I’ll place him in the box – I won’t miss him too much; he’s kind of a lot, takes up quite a bit of space, is always asking for more cookies and milk. “But I’ve worked so hard!” he whines. Enough, Santa. Delivering goods one day a year is not that difficult, try teaching remotely, try taking care of children while you’re working from home, try making three meals a day 365. You’ve got it easy, Jolly Saint Nick. See you next year.
But my penguins will stay. They will be great guests on Saint Patrick’s Day, I’ll serve them green snow. Perhaps they will enjoy Easter and Memorial Day as well. They’ve already proven themselves delightful company, easy, low maintenance. We all need company like that, especially during these times.
And who, dear musers, do you keep around? Who will you put away? What will stay for the winter? I wish you good company, those that are content with little, delighted by the simple, grateful to be warm and cozy with you. I muse joyfully you have your company to keep you sane or crazy…er. Be well, stay safe. And like Mary, Joseph and Jesus, wear your mask.
Susan Dromey Heeter is a writer from Dover who recently let her hair go au natural white. Writing has been her passion since her English majoring days at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Dromey Heeter has lived in The Netherlands, Alaska and currently basks in all things New England, including the frigid winters. An avid swimmer, Dromey Heeter’s great passion is to bring back body surfing as most children have no idea how to ride waves without ridiculous boogie boards.