Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Dinner

As I suppose with any gathering of kinsmen (especially for a Christmas dinner), it is possible to be as tearfully sentimental or as bitterly resentful as one wishes. On the maudlin side of the equation, the nine of us at table (with the exception of the absent Nicholas, Barbara's boy friend, who was at home in Toronto with his family) represented everyone who matters in our immediate family; viz., the heads of the family (mother and dad), the first generation of children (my sister Nancy and I), Nancy's husband Tom, my partner Tracy, the second generation grandchildren Jill and Barbara, and Jill's partner Rosser. It made for an interesting (though somewhat quirky) collection of people, all of whom (as I later commented to Tracy when we were rolling home after our six-hour visit to my parents' house for the occasion) were essentially doing well, healthy as one's age customarily permits, either happily retired or meaningfully engaged in gainful travail or ardent study, and pointedly nobody suffering any great loss of companionship (a balance which alone is difficult to maintain in most families). Indeed it was undoubtedly the fleeting thought of everyone that this may have represented the last Christmas that we are all together, largely a reference to my father's advanced age of 90 and his added symptoms of declining health.