Sunday, December 25, 2011

It's still there, only it's been bought by Neiman Marcus who wisely kept the magnificent towering tree ...

When I was a teenager, dating, Christmas season was not officially in until the trip to see if the great Christmas tree was in place at the City of Paris on Union Square.  It was a real tree, of course, and not the perfect artificial one we're standing under here.  (Though I wonder if artificial can ever really be perfect?)  I suppose the scent of pine is piped in ... .  It's been decades since that trip by ferry across the Bay --  (pre-Bay bridge) -- dressed to match the occasion (which meant hat and gloves, of course) officially ushered in the season with a spray of English holly in one's lapel -- and for the more daring -- a sprig of mistletoe in one's hair.

This year Peter, Tom, Pam, and I completed the pilgrimage 'roun' the Square to the sounds of Christmas bells and cable cars clanging their way up Powell street toward Grace Cathedral where memories of my late husband, Bill; dear friends, Bishop J. Kilmer "Kim" Myer, elegant silver-haired Deacon John Weaver and his Jean, popped up unceremoniously as the ghosts of Christmas past ... .  The taxi we hailed climbed to the top of California Street to return us to our car parked at the bottom when the circling-the-Square was ending; an almost forgotten decade that has pretty much dropped out of conscious memory until now.

The meaningful past tends to leap back to Mel and the kids; Tinker Toys, Tonka trucks, Lionel trains, innocent cap pistols (some things have changed; ominously), new cowboy hats; and those midlife Christmases tend to get lost.  Maybe it's because it's my children who have prevailed and continue to define life for me.  Christmas needs children, doesn't it, even when your baby is eligible for AARP?

This, after a bountiful crab dinner at Tadich at the foot of California Street near Battery ... and yet another set of decades to account for; new friendships, persisting hopes and dreams, and so very much to be grateful for.   Can Christmas be any more beautiful in New York or Paris?  If so, don't tell me.  I treasure these snow-less street scenes of the Bay Area beyond all reason. 

Merry Christmas All!
Photos by Pam's cell phone camera

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