‘Christmas time! That man must be a misanthrope indeed, in whose breast something like a jovial feeling is not roused – in whose mind some pleasant associations are not awakened – by the recurrence of Christmas.’

Yesterday what usually takes an hour and thirty minutes or, at most, an hour and forty-five minutes took three hours and forty-five minutes. I went from the Cape to a town about 15 miles from Boston to pick up my sister to go out to dinner. Along the way were electronic signs saying things like Exit 12, seven miles-forty five minutes. My favorite was the five miles, fifty-five minutes warning. They weren’t wrong. On the radio, the traffic guy kept saying he hadn’t seen the like of these traffic jams in and out of the city ever before on a normal day. The traffic was the same the day before but a snow storm was the cause. By the time I got to my sister’s, my body was permanently molded in the shape of my car seat. I got out and stretched but to little avail.

My sister came right out as we were pretty late for our reservation and off we went. I decided not to look for a parking spot and, instead, parked in a lot right by the restaurant which a sign explained was not for patrons of the restaurant. The sign in front of where I parked my car threatened towing. I threw caution to the wind figuring I had already had my hell on Earth for that day. The hostess didn’t look up until after we had given our name. When she did, we both let out a happy, surprised shout. We hugged. She, Sully, explained to my sister we had known each other since the first grade at St. Patrick’s and then told a story about Sister Hildegard, the nun about whom we all still tell stories. Sully got whacked by her for talking in line. Sully’s mother took the stance all parents did when it came to the nuns, “You must have deserved it.”

Dinner was delicious. Mine was lobster ravioli in a light brandy tomato cream sauce. My sister dined on sautéed shrimp with mushrooms and artichoke hearts in a white wine sauce over penne. I had them make me a cosmo with pomegranate juice instead of cranberry. That first sip alone almost made the trip worthwhile.

I amazed myself by not being crazed. What could I do? I listened to Christmas music and sang along. When I got off the highway, it was to more traffic at a red light, but I was at Spot Pond and across the way I could see the colored lights from the zoo, an every year attraction. A huge lit tree with swags of lights was right next to the road. I didn’t go through town but went the back way through streets I used to walk as a kid. I saw two of the most decorated houses I’ve seen all year. They were so amazing I drove that way to my sister’s house after dinner so she could see them.

The ride home was at g-force. I was a red flash on the highway and made it home in under an hour and a half. Gracie was thrilled to see me. I immediately changed into slippers and comfy clothes. I must have had a Pollyanna moment because when I thought about the trip I decided seeing my sister made it worthwhile. Dinner too was delicious, and it was a wonderful surprise seeing Sully again. Christmas sneaks up on us in most unusual ways. 

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26 Comments on “‘Christmas time! That man must be a misanthrope indeed, in whose breast something like a jovial feeling is not roused – in whose mind some pleasant associations are not awakened – by the recurrence of Christmas.’”

  1. Hedley Says:

    Happy Christmas or Merry Christmas

    Why is it different ? Did the British Victorian middle class temperance movement really exert enough influence to change Merry to Happy ? Certainly the word Merry has always carried the possibility of intoxication as well as contentment. I think that reason is all just too neat and tidy. Maybe it is all simple enough that folks in the United States will wish you a Merry Christmas and people in the old country say Happy Christmas.

    I have only lived here for 33 years and I cannot change so let me take a moment to wish the KTCC Family a very Happy Christmas.

    ….tomorrow, that Christmas present you so desperately wanted but Father Christmas didn’t bring.

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      I don’t think there is a lick of difference between the two. I know that in Scrooge his nephew Fred always wishes Bob a Happy Christmas. Why it became a Merry Christmas I don’t know. I don’t even care. I just love being greeted at Christmas.

      You don’t have to change. We are thankful for your Happy Christmas wishes and wish the same for you in return!

      • Hedley Says:

        Kat, recently I did have a slight technical greetings issue with an overbundled Salvation Army kettle bell ringing person. I stopped and made a donation, wishing the “Salvation Army Man” a Happy Christmas. I was immediately corrected that I had the gender wrong.

        Oh the shame, and instead of just apologizing and walking in to the store, I started down the track that I had very bad eyes.

        In this case, a greeting of Happy Christmas or Merry Christmas would not have helped the overall disaster.

      • katry Says:

        That poor woman has my sympathy. It isn’t bad enough she has to endure the cold but also a gender bender, eyes notwithstanding!

        Only a nice contribution to the bucket would have salved hurt feelings!

      • Bob Says:

        I always wish people a Happy Holidays so that I don’t forget New Years. That way it doesn’t matter what they celebrate or don’t. Otherwise, it’s Happy Chanukah, Happy Christmas, Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, Happy Kwanzaa or is it Merry Kwanzaa. I don’t know what Muslims celebrate at the winter solstice, but Happy Holiday covers them all. 🙂

      • katry Says:

        You’re right about happy holidays. I guess I think about it from my perspective so it’s Merry or Happy Christmas for me.

    • olof1 Says:

      In Sweden we say neither Merry nor Happy, we say Good. So Have a good Yule 🙂

    • Birgit Says:

      “Frohe Weihnacht” (happy/merry Christmas) is mainly used for December 24-26, before we usually wish a nice Christmas or Advent time. So for now “eine schöne Weihnachtzeit” to you all!

      PS: For fun I just checked this mixed language sentence with the spell checker and it suggested Wehrmacht instead of Weihnacht. Bad mistake! Don’t trust computers 😉

    • im6 Says:

      Wikipedia is long-winded as usual, but skip down to “history of the phrase” for at least one answer: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_and_holiday_season

      • katry Says:

        Definitely long-winded but still interesting. It depends on custom and geography, but I knew that already.

  2. olof1 Says:

    I’m so glad we don’t have any snow and won’t get any for at least a week 🙂 But we did have black ice on the roads yesterday morning. I got a text message from a work friend warning me about it.

    I guess that the person driving a new Volvo with a trailer passing me in high speed hadn’t got such a warning. He drove even faster than we usually do a summer day and suddenly the tires lost their grip. I have to say that he managed to save bothe the car and the trailer but he drove very slowly after that having me right behind him laughing out loud 🙂

    I’ve never heard of Lobster ravioli, sounds delicious though, no dessert?

    Have a great day!

    • katry Says:

      We are coming into a warm spell. It may reach as high as the 50’s this weekend.

      I was amazed by how much snow my sister had. We have none so the huge mounds were a surprise.

      We have warm days and cold nights so the slush freezes for the morning then melts during the day only to freeze again at night. It makes for difficult walking and driving.

      I would have laughed too. I drive fast when the roads are clear and dry. I am not so adventurous in the rain and definitely not in the snow.

      No dessert. I did have coffee though. I didn’t finish all my dinner as it was really rich. I have enough left for tonight. I’m happy!

  3. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    Sounds wonderful. Beautiful lights, surprise meeting with an old friend, delicious dinner with family, speedy ride home. And you didn’t even get towed? Great!

    It’s sunny and warmish up here. The snow looks lovely when it’s all cleared off the pavements and none of it is falling from the sky. 🙂

    Merry Christmas, Happy Christmas, Good Yule. Whatever one you like, I wish all the KTCC crew all of them. 🙂

    Enjoy the evening.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      Yup, all of those lessened that horrendous ride. From my arrival at my sister’s to my arrival at home the night went perfectly.

      No snow at all here-we got about an inch then the rain came.

      Thanks, Caryn. You are also wished all of the above!

      Have a wonderful evening

  4. sprite Says:

    How lovely to see an old friend in an unexpected place!

    Joyous Christmas wishes to you and the nicest commentariat on the ‘net!

  5. Bob Says:

    Glad to hear that your dinner with your sister was a great success. Finding old school chums all grown up is always a fun surprise. It’s much better than finding them in the Obituary column. Last week the traffic after the ice storm was horrendous. Even though most of the ice was gone people were still driving as if a speck of ice on a bridge would cause them to have a fatal accident while going twenty miles per hour.

    Today the high temperature over 70 degrees leaving only traces of the sand used during the ice storm to collect on the sides of the road. This was a good week to be in the car washing business. Finally, the leaves are coming off the trees and collecting on the lawn and in the street.

    • katry Says:

      Thanks, Bob

      There are still a lot of my elementary school friends who still live in town. I see them every now and then, and it is always a fun evening.

      People not used to snow and ice tend to have difficulty driving on it. They either drive too fast or too slowly.

      The other night when Boston and the area had a snowstorm traffic came to a halt. It took people triple the time and more to get home. and that’s people who know how to drive on snow.

      We had a warm day today, the 40’s. By the weekend it should even hit the 50’s.

      Wow, we are so far beyond leaf time.

  6. im6 Says:

    Merry Christmas? Happy Christmas? Who knows, so I’ve chosen a SEASONAL song for my song of the day.

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