One of the problems with having no particular direction, is trying to decide where to go. For some ridiculous reason I decided to start this adventure right before winter holidays.
I like to think that being alone on holidays doesn’t bother me. I’m pretty much agnostic. For the past few years, I’ve volunteered to work on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years because I’m the only one on my team without family here. With only me and a room full of computers at work, each year I’d listen to my dad’s amusing Christmas story.
Dad lived in many cities when I was growing up, and visiting him during Winter Break from school was a treat. When he lived in a big neighborhood city like Chicago or Brooklyn, we would spend hours at night driving around marvelling at the fantastic light displays people put up on their houses. I wish we could still do that together.
I was born to Jewish heritage, raised mostly Unitarian and celebrated Passover (sometimes) and Christmas (most years). Passover was special because my (paternal) grandmother made the best Jew-food ever. Her matzoh ball soup is still spoken of in reverent hushed tones. Grandpa would perform the Seder, with us grandkids chiming in probably too frequently. There was wine (of course), laughter, and lots and lots of food.
My mom’s side is where the Unitarian was strong. We gave a glance to the Jewish holidays, but celebrated Christmas. My (maternal Jewish) grandmother loved caroling and all of us coming together to decorate the house. We had a giant tree each year, and meticulously decorated it at my mother’s direction. My memory has that I loved the neighborly caroling as well – bundling up against the midwest winter cold, and heading out to hark the heralds and ring the bells. I wonder my mom would remember my enthusiasm differently.
Once I left home, I’d travel back for some of these holidays. But it wasn’t the holiday part that I looked forward to – it was the visiting with friends, sharing stories over good warm food, and catching up with family. Bracing against the midwest chill, I’d wrap around the warmth of their smiles and mugs of hot apple cider.
I find myself looking at this upcoming December wondering where I’ll be come Christmas Eve. I’ll bring my menorah; it doesn’t take up much space. This year Hanukkah begins on Christmas Day.
If I stay with my current loose plans, I’ll be somewhere in southern New Mexico for those holidays. If I hadn’t spent the last number of winter holidays alone, I’d be more inclined to look forward to a solitary, quiet weekend.
But I’m not sure that’s what I want for this Year of Many Choices.
Do I map out a specific Where for those days?
Or perhaps, I look to my original plan and roll the dice?
1 = go north.
2 = east
3 = south
4 = west
5 = stay put
6 = cross the nearest state border.
The only rule? No backtracking.