Thursday, December 1, 2016

December 1: A Ghost, Christmas Essay, a Ghost Story

Scenes drift across the screen from nowhere.  I can never discover the connection between any one scene and what I am more consciously thinking, nor can I ever conjure the scene back in full vividness.  It is like a ghost, in full-dress regalia, that wafts across the stage set unnoticed by the principle characters . . .

Like Annie Dillard, I've been a little haunted these last couple of weeks.  It always happens to me during the holiday season.  Some people call it nostalgia.  Others, sentimentality.  It's the urge to look back at past Decembers.  The Ghost of Christmas Past travels with me.  A lot.

As my two Constant Readers know, I always write a Christmas essay for my local Public Radio station.  I've been doing it for close to ten years now.  The process of composing this little reflection involves a great deal of conjuring up of ghosts.  Last year, my main Christmas ghost was my sister who had just passed away.  The year before that, my essay focused on my brother, who died in May, 2014.  Ghosts abound, wafting through rooms in front of me.

Let me tell you a little story.  You can decide if it's a ghost story.

For the last couple of weeks at work, I've been thinking about my dead sister.  She used to be the director of the place.  Her former office is right down the hall from my desk.  In the morning, when nobody else is around, I sometimes think I can hear her voice.  It doesn't scare me.  It makes me a little sad.

Well, this past Monday morning, I came into the office around 6 a.m., my normal time.  Nobody else was there.  As I came to my desk, I noticed two DVDs.  Russell Crowe movies.  They were just sitting in front of my computer keyboard.  My sister was a huge fan of Crowe.  She owned every single movie that he made.

Over the week, none of my coworkers has confessed to leaving them for me.  They're still on my desk.  I expected somebody to say, "Oh, did you get those movies of Sally's that I borrowed?"  Nothing.

Now, of course there's a whole plethora of reasonable explanations.  However, I prefer the unreasonable.  The otherworldly.  I think my sister sent me a little message, just to let me know that she's watching over me and my family.

I'm nearly finished writing this year's Christmas essay.  I worked on it for another five or six hours today.  Maybe when it's done, I'll feel a little less haunted.  Or not.

The Ghost of Russell Crowe Past will still be with Saint Marty.

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