Tuesday, November 24, 2015

November 24: Stealing Kisses, My Wife, Billy Collins, "Thanksgiving Morning," Off the Top of My Head

Leaving Macy's, they spent an hour walking uptown and lingered by the Rockefeller Center ice skating rink, on the promenade, directly across from the bronze statue of Prometheus reclining, the great tree, a Maine pine, some fifty feet high and as wide as a house, covered with thousands of lights, towering cheerfully over the scene.  Down below, a hundred skaters, of all ages, circled the ice, some gracefully as professionals, others clumsily, their faces and twisting bodies in colored caps and suits, vivid in the surrounding floodlights.  Leaning against the railing, Annie and Ives were caught up, as were so many others, by the romance of the setting, and, ever so happy, held each other tightly, nudging one another with their chilled noses and stealing kisses, until laughing, she said, "Oh, Eddie, you make me feel like a kid again."

Annie and Ives love each other deeply.  The above moment occurs just hours before their son is killed.  It is Christmas time, and they are swept up in holiday joy.  They've just attended some parties and finished their Christmas shopping.  And they end up at the Rockefeller ice rink, watching the couples glide around the ice.  They kiss and hold each other like teenagers on a first date.  Ives and Annie have true passion and love for each other.

This month I have been writing about thankfulness.  It was a challenge from my wife.  She had been noticing a streak of melancholy in my posts, and she wanted me to focus on the blessings in my life.  That is what I have been trying to do.  It hasn't been an easy task.  Some days, I've really struggled to remain positive and grateful. 

Today, I faced many challenges.  Up at 4:30 a.m.  Work at 6: 30 a.m.  Loooong day.  And then, this evening, I attended my daughter's high school chorus concert.  Crazy busy, with barely a moment to relax.  I am already exhausted, and it's not even 9:30 p.m.

I am thankful for my daughter's concert, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  I loved the music and the (at times) slightly off-key singing.  I sat with my wife in the auditorium, holding her hand.  Like Ives and Annie at the ice rink, we felt like we were on a date at the concert.

My wife is funny and beautiful.  She struggles in her life with mental illness and addiction.  Our twenty years of marriage have not been without difficulty.  Yet, my wife is a fighter.  She takes her medications; attends support group meeting on an almost daily basis; and follows the suggestions of her doctors.  She wants to be well.

And I love her for that.  She is kind and caring and generous.  My best friend and life partner.

Saint Marty gives thanks for his wife tonight.

Thanksgiving Morning

by:  Billy Collins

The crossed multiple blades of the blender
set out to dry on a counter.
The corkscrew unsheathed and ready

to enter whatever cannot resist its twisting.
The carving knife waiting alongside
the sharpener for its abrasive touch,

The blue box of matches, the white candles.
The branch of dry leaves brought in
Along with vines clustered with red and yellow berries,

All of which points to the anonymous turkey,
soon to be trussed with string
but now soaking on the cold porch
in a bucket of salted ice water,
in brine, as they like to say this time of year.

And we must not overlook the oven,
radiating in a corner of the kitchen
set at first at 500 degrees
then lowered almost mercifully to 350,

still hot enough to lift the bird
into the condition of sacrificial edibility,
yet short of what would incinerate a book,
the oven that swallowed the witch and Sylvia Plath
and now the oven of our pleasure,
our forks and glasses blindly raised.

Off the Top of My Head

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