At Christmas time, / the dead season, / the wolves live on wind alone, / and people stay inside at home, / on account of the frost, / close to the coals ....
that is from David Georgi's translation of Villon, and that is what it is like here, today.
Plus we have a few flakes sputtering upon that wind, colliding with the shoppers and the walls and sidewalks. Brrrrrrr.
And now we, el V and me, are home, inside, getting warm at the hearth of the steam heat and afro latin Christmas music.
We got all the Christmas Eve shopping for everything completed this afternoon! Which is good, as tomorrow is Socializing, and on Monday afternoon el V must go hang out with Big Name Jazz Writer and help him with something -- while I, I of course, wrestle with the 11 hours of slow cooking the pork butt: 1 1/2 hours per pound at 225 degrees, and another two hours sitting in the oven after the thermometer shows the bone itself has hit 200 degrees. In order that that pork be in a state in which it can be pulled, it has to cook slow and long, and 225 degrees and 9 hours + 2 is a slow and long.
We even found corn bread, since the oven will be in use all Monday. Whole Foods corn bread appears to be lauded even in Texas and other states where people know their cornbread, and they have it here too. The cashier, who is from Austin, gushed when he rang us up: "This is the best cornbread, as good as any my mom ever made."
As we got closer to home on this last shopping excursion of the day, I was thinking how nice this was. I have been doing this or something very like it every year since leaving home, and certainly the years we've been married. But I do most of it -- and often all of it -- by myself. This year el V was part of every bit, from planning the menu (meaning he listened to me mull), the shopping for everything, from gifts to the food. And it was so much fun -- particularly when snowflakes skittered, as last evening uptown, and this afternoon. Or, as he put it, not elegantly but concisely, "Well, this is all Christmassy as f*ck" (he is a Louisianan-Texan-New Mexican fellow recall). I'm so glad we got to do this together." Then he says, "I always knew it was a lot of work, but I never really knew before just how much trouble you go to -- you have to plan, and you have to think too."
So I'm feeling pretty good about now. Plus, my brother and my niece? they sent me a B&N gift card which arrived today. You might even say I feel Christmassy as f*ck! And we're having a lot of fun reading David's Villon to each other. What a contemporary he is.
Villon! What a brilliant, unexpected Christmas gift!