Christmas Eve, 2020

Kage Baker was wont to sing (along with John Lennon): So now it is Christmas, la la la la la … At which point she’d stop and look rather disgusted and remark “Really, Johnny, this song has stupid vapid lyrics.”

Which it does. Kage felt she could get away with that judgemental remark due to her life-long devotion to the Beatles, as well as her own innate good taste. It’s a silly song; though not as brain-dead as Paul’s Simply Having A Wonderful Christmas Time. Secular Christmas carols tend to be silly.

Kage – and I – always adored the old religious hymns; the ones with a hint of blood and thunder and pagan sacrifice, murderous kings and foreign potentates ignoring international borders, camels in surrealistic profile along the dunes, and an entire winter sky full of angels. Hosanna, hosanna inexcelsis! Wings, wings and more wings (cherubim alone have an aerodynamically-unlikely seven wings apiece), song falling over the ha-Negev like the Aurora Borealis.

Nonetheless, today is, finally, at last and much too soon: Christmas Eve. Our goal, Kage and I, was always to get the presents wrapped and under the tree tonight, our stockings crammed beyond the bounds of Euclidean geometry, and a wonderful holiday dinner of prime rib, Brussels sprouts, Yorkshire pudding and gravy coming to life on and in the oven. We usually did it on Christmas Eve, so as to spend the holiday dinner itself with our sisters and their families. Tonight, though, with Dickens Fair gone virtual and all sensible people keeping to small-household quarantine, we are snugged down safe and sound at home.

It’s been a whacked out and somewhat difficult Christmas Eve. We’ve had repeated power failures, which has left us whining in the dark and feeling the good warmth dissolve out of the house. Thank goodness for propane gas and fireplaces! Not a great deal of shopping got done, but we have managed to set aside guilt and resolved to delight in giving one another what we can. It will be the 66th annual anniversary of my not getting a pony for Christmas, but I am content.

I’ve been slowly drowning in my own secretions, waiting endlessly for some miracle drug that promises to dry me up. It has never come … I have been dying by Godotian increments. But due to Kimberly being a ferociously ruthless telephone caller, she got the pharmacy to send it today! I have had the first treatment – it must be inhaled and tastes like the ghost of some brassica dead by heavy metal poisoning. On the other hand, my throat feels as smooth as a tin whistle, and I am every so happy!

The house is warm. The living room is filled with coloured light; so is the front yard, and tonight is the night when we leave the lights on all night long. It must work – Santa has never missed the house, and the Solstice has never spitefully reversed itself.

NORAD is tracking Santa. A small rain has been gently falling all day, and we got just cold enough in the power failures to appreciate being warm now. All in all, we here at Chez Bartholomew are pretty well set for the grand winter celebration.

So I wish you all a warm, cozy, Christmas Eve, Dear Readers. Hold close to however many of your loved ones you have managed to bring to shelter, and wave over safe distances to the rest of the family. Listen at midnight for the glassy whisper of the stars singing Hallelujah, and for the velvet susurration of your dogs and cats, and any other livestock you may have around the house, wishing one another Merry Christmas.

I’m going to watch one of several endless viewings of Christmas Story tonight, and later on read A Child’s Christmas In Wales for my own delectation. Tomorrow will be Hogfather. At some point there will be grain and salt on the door sill, because we all have our own special rituals don’t we?

It all comes down to blood on snow, as the man says. But this year, may it be less of our own.

rising sun running deer

About Kate

I am Kage Baker's sister. Kage was/is a well-known science fiction writer, who died on January 31, 2010. She told me to keep her work going - I'm doing that. This blog will document the process.
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