Monday Morning Musings:
“Looking back, seeing far, landing right where we are
And oh, you’re aging, oh and I am aging,
Oh, aren’t we aging well?”
–Dar Williams, “You’re Aging Well”
“I am the ghost of Christmas Present,” said the Spirit. “Look upon me.”
–Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
On my sixtieth birthday, I wake,
and I feel fine,
the same as did when I was fifty-nine.
I’m Merril the same as I have always been
with the calm certainty that I am me,
and this is forever who I will be.
Celebrations take place over several days,
(like a Jewish holiday, you know)
each one with food and wine,
and I feel fine.
First my husband and I go to Monk’s Café
we’re bundled against the cold night
but still I appreciate the Christmas lights
as we scurry from our car to there
breathing bursts of frosty air
till we’re seated at a window table where we watch people
rushing and bustling, walking dogs of every size
we’re in a bit of a hurry,
as we have tickets to a show,
so we forego their famous mussels, but not the fries,
I have a glass of wine, and I feel fine.
The show is called The Carols,
set in a VFW Hall in New Jersey,
it’s 1944, the men are gone because of the war,
heartfelt, if not brilliant,
but their voices beautiful
much more than suitable,
there are Yiddish phrases and 1940’s slang.
We laugh though the jokes are old,
it’s kind of sweet, and we are sold,
the retelling of A Christmas Carol
with a Christmas brisket is very funny,
(and well worth the money),
and the Christmas tale, the Yiddish shtick,
the sister love, the examples of
reminds me of my family, too,
and all the silly things we do,
the ghosts of Christmases, past, present, and future
combine in memory,
aged in my mind, and I feel fine.
The next night, my husband and I see La La Land
like an old-fashioned musical
the stars sing and dance amidst the stars,
there is jazz and heartbreak,
snappy rhythms, and we hear the beat,
not of Forty-Second Street,
but of Los Angeles,
City of Angels, City of Stars
shining just for them.
We discuss the movie over Indian food,
I am in complete movie musical mood,
So when my husband says, “It was a Merril movie,”
he is right, and I feel fine.
(And the onion bhajia are divine.)
Another celebration, another day,
with one daughter and sisters,
more food and wine,
more talk and laughter,
and it could go on forever after.
One sister brings some funny headwear,
and we take photos in the restaurant,
when I try on a hat
“You look so cute. Like a pirate. A pirate baker.”
We laugh because it’s all so silly,
but in these uncertain times, we run willy-nilly
and seek shelter in our love and family jokes,
these are the people I love, my folks,
and they give me the gift of their time–
and cheese, and chocolate, and some wine,
and yes, indeed, I do feel fine.
Afterwards, my daughter and I walk to the Christmas Village,
she’s not seen it, and she snaps a selfie
with us in our silly hats–
and I think we’re wealthy,
my daughter and I to share this love and bond
that goes so far, and much beyond,
and later I read the poem she has written me,
cry a bit, at the beauty
of feelings that she has, and lets me see.
My other daughter sends me a text
that the end of the Sound of Music seems too real,
and it makes me sad to hear such fear,
and though we must fight, and though we ache,
still, there’s much to celebrate,
to climb every mountain and ford every spring
to find our dreams,
yet I think we are right where we are
and we are aging well,
though only time will tell.
And so, with family and friends,
I’ll hold on to love,
I’ll fit it closely like a glove,
and stare defiantly at fate,
raise a glass of blood-red wine
and tell the world, that I feel fine.
It is rumored that more celebrating is on the way, so stay tuned!
Here is Dar Williams singing “You’re Aging Well.”