The Holidays Go, Impedimenta Return

Here it is--two weeks after Christmas--and already the edges of happy holidays are being eaten into.

Oh no, not with unhappy things--depressions, disillusions, mental aspects--I'm talking purely physical here.

It's those tables, all those tables in the living room that were so beautifully cleared for Christmas. The bronze-handled end table, so handsomely stark with its blue vase of holly--now there's a plate with four broken chocolates on it, a paperback book with a torn cover and the ugliest ashtray we own.

My desk, which barely a day before Christmas had been whisked clean--files crammed in a closet, bills stuck in one drawer, letters jammed in another, the jar of pens and pencils hidden behind a sliding drawer, even the telephone put on the floor and the typewriter--where to put the typewriter? No place left. Quick, quick, put it in the car trunk for a few days.

My desk, so bare, so gorgeous, the wood so greenly, cleanly, rarely seen, gleaming in all its spareness, almost elegant with its red candle in the brass candlestick, a copper bowl holding pomegranates and an old Christmas tree ornament.

But now, what has happened? Solidly re-established is the unrelenting telephone and the jar of exploding pencils, behind it a growing pile of letters, some pieces of film, a book, a wallet, a bunch of keys.

Look at the sideboard. How pristine it was with two green candles, a white jug of holly and a single cut-glass dish. The three dishes, a pair of pliers, a coil of electrical wiring, seven nails and a hammer, a coffee cup have not improved it at all.

And the bookcase--for once in the whole year its top clear of books. There is the creche with its gold star and all the wooden animals walking out from Noah's ark at the other end to see the Christ child, but look--there on the corner a small book has already made inroads.

And gosh, the tree, the 13-foot Michigan spruce that stretched its green branches so luxuriantly over the old Oriental rug that you hardly noticed the worn-through spots, now stretches out over Gia's grungy tennis shoes and a box of cookies.

Yup, not quite back to normal yet; the little tables have only two or three books tossed on them rather than their usual baker's dozen, but as the memories of Christmas fade the impedimenta reappear, ugly and needed as always.

The typewriter is out again. And you know there's no way it will see the inside of the car trunk again till next Christmas.

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