Christmas Past, Present and Future and Picture #1

This year, 2013, I will return to blogging.

No more needs to be said on that topic.  No apologies, excuses, or lamentations.  I’ve just been lazy.

I am also introducing a new feature: Lifelongnewyorker’s Picture of the Day, a gem drawn from 40 years’ of photo albums.

The Abandoned One stayed in his pajamas (see red bottoms) all day on Christmas.

The Abandoned One stayed in his pajamas (see red bottoms) all day on Christmas.

Back in 2009, when Lifelongnewyorker was preparing to move to the wilds of central Alabama, I wrote sentimentally about the annual trip to the tree farm and our traditional Christmas Eve fish dinner.  I think I expected that it would be my last regular holiday season, ever.

That feeling persisted over the last two years.  In 2010, we did not decorate.  Instead, we flew to New York for the holidays, dividing our time between my sister’s house and a Manhattan hotel overlooking the gaping maw of the twin towers construction site.  We endured a blizzard, enjoyed limited time with the Abandoned One, and generally felt like refugees from Home Alone 2.

Did I mention it was cold?  Really freezing cold.  So the next year, in 2011, we yearned for warmth.  We flew to Tucson, met up with the Abandoned One, and became the first generation in my family to Go Away for Christmas.  Luckily, the Dynamo’s younger brother lives in Tucson and invited us over for some Christmas cheer.  So for an hour or so on Dec. 25, we glommed onto the warmth of these willing and kind surrogates and then went hiking among the saguaros.  I came down with severe sinusitis. Maybe bronchitis.  I was sick.

By the time Thanksgiving rolled around this year and I found myself on an airplane for the 16th trip in twelve months, I was pretty sure I didn’t want to travel for Christmas.  After 35 months of living in Alabama, it was time for the Newyorkers to have a Southern Yule.

Back in Brooklyn, the Abandoned One bought a plane ticket.  In Montgomery, we scoped out Christmas trees and fish markets and dug out our ornaments.   Along the way, we visited the one supermarket where the city’s Koreans and Mexicans shop.  We found squid, blue crabs and mussels.  My niece FedExed baccala from New Jersey.

You can’t make the fish feast for only three people, so we filled the table with friends, after warning them about the food they would encounter.  We had baccala fritters, squid salad and cioppino with crabs, clams, shrimp and red snapper.  One fish short of the seven, it’s true, but what’s in a number?  Mr. NYer made his garlic bread.  I found Italian chestnuts and fennel.  We baked regina cookies.

On Christmas we lazed around the house, occupied with our gifts, which we didn’t have to mail ahead.  We rubbed the cats’ bellies.  The Abandoned one stayed in his pajamas.  It felt like home.

And it was.  In Alabama.