March 21 • 06:18 AM

The 'most wonderful time of the year?'

December 05, 2007
This may sound a bit like sour grapes, but it seems there's no escaping the "holiday season," which seems to come earlier and earlier each year.

Don't get me wrong, I believe in peace on earth and good will toward men— I believe it all year long. I could sort of live without the pressure to be "merry." I like being merry and all, especially if it involves a glass of wine, good food and a couple of friends. But if I had a choice between being "merry" and "warm," I'd definitely go for the latter—though it might be said a sip or two of the spirits could warm one up. And as much as that's appealing to me, I still prefer my warmth to come from that big round orb called the sun.

Also, around here the "holiday season" means stepped up deadlines and lots of running around covering Santa's arrival and whatnot. Weekends consumed. Etcetera, etcetera, poor me.

Perhaps it would be different if the "holiday season" was truly a time to relax and enjoy time with family and friends. It's just the opposite, though, because everyone is so busy fitting the time with family and friends into already hectic schedules that relaxing is all but out of the question.

Obviously I feel a disconnect with "the most wonderful time of the year." For me, "the most wonderful time of the year" is when I can walk out my door onto my deck and down my stairs without worrying about slipping and breaking my neck. The "most wonderful time of the year" is when I can step outside and mess around with my plants wearing only a tank top and jeans. It's a time when I can walk into my house and not be frozen. It's a time when I can walk outside and not be frozen. In fact, it's a time when I can go just about anywhere (except restaurants and the office) without being frozen. It's a time called "summer."

Now summer is just as busy when it comes to the job, but somehow it's easier because there's no freezing involved. It stays lighter out longer. After the weekend work gigs I can usually meet up with friends and/or co-workers in some sort of beer tent or what-have-you. Food is light and fresh and awesome. Aside from mowing the lawn periodically, outdoor chores and upkeep are cinchy. I don't want to sound like a broken record but there's no freezing involved.

So if I could take a seat on Santa's lap, my Christmas wish would be for a big major dose of summer all year long...

...That's enough complaining for today. Despite the frozen temperatures, I have much to feel warm about. The kind words I receive from readers go straight to my heart where a little furnace burns bright-er each time. Marilyn Rheaume of Dryden wrote the most beautiful letter to me recently. Bev Waller also took time to email me about The Sun and other things, sharing her apprec-iation. Joe Tribula of Almont forwarded a beautiful poem called 'The House with Nobody in It' by Joyce Kilmer after reading about the break-in at my home. Altered artist Dawn Schmalzel made a gorgeous and very unique card of thanks for me. John Olivo sent kind words about this space as did Brent Avery. All of these things surround me at my desk, and aren't subject to the weather, the "holiday season" or whatever...

...Speaking of the "holiday season," my aunt, sister, cousin and I recently remarked that it's interesting that the Italian "Santa Claus" is a woman—La Befana.

The conversation came up because we're working on a Web site that will feature memories, information, antecdotes, recipes and all other things related to growing up Italian. We're pretty excited about the concept, and the site may even include some "wine blessing" labels dreamed up by yours truly.

Anyhow, we've outlined a beginning point, and once it's up and running I'll let you know.

As an advance preview, though, within the next week or so I'll share La Befana's beautiful story. Somehow the Italians have managed to keep Christmas an actual religious holiday and dab some magic (and slight gift giving) into it on the eve of the Epiphany (Jan. 5). It's part of why growing up Italian is so cool.

Email Catherine at

Castle Creek
03 - 21 - 19
Site Search

Thanks for visiting Tri City Times
Chemical Bank