Christmas is what, and where, we choose

I wish I'd taken pictures of the food, but all I have are the half dozen from a walk

I wish I’d taken pictures of the food, but all I have are the half dozen from a walk

It’s a malleable business, this human experience. Preferences, priorities, and personalities shift and adjust. Even the calendar can be fluid, because tomorrow may be Christmas Eve, but the bulk of my Christmas 2013 was last weekend.

A huge part of the reason I came back from The Magical Land of Abroad was to reconnect with family and friends, so that’s what I’m going to do, damnit, even if I have to drag recalcitrant ass to the table now and then.

And what a table I found. I am far from a foodie (ironic that the Oxford English Dictionary says the word “foodie” entered the world the same year I did), but the fact that I’m well pleased with a plastic to-go tray of chicken and rice didn’t interfere with the culinary contortions of that fiesta of flavor.Portland green

Savory spasms of bacon-wrapped dates beside bogs of brie fondue preceded slow-cooked pork shoulder that dripped all the customary adulations one could hope for. Or was that before the chicken stew that turned plain bread into a platform for piquant pleasure? I remember the pear crumble that coincided somehow with Spanish coffees, whose blue flames of burning alcohol illuminated the grinning faces of family members carefully caramelizing the sugared rims of their glasses. And there is no disputing the tongue-teasing triumph that obliterated my long-standing stigma against carrots and cauliflower.

Portland broken potsAnd if the arrivals lounge at Portland International Airport blindsided me with recollections of another visitor in years past? Or if a shattered flower pot put me in mind of another balcony across a sea?


The season can accommodate a breadth of sensation, from the simply salubrious to more complicated questions of sentiment and memory. But one thing’s for sure, I have a helluva lot to be thankful for, from previous years, the one now ending, and in the era to come. And I, for one, am optimistic.