The holidays are always a milestone, a way to mark the passage through our communal lives—a snapshot in time. For starters: Who is present, who is not.

This Christmas dinner took the logistics of a military operation. My wife Donna and I invited three generations from 86 to 13 years old. (My father Leif died two years ago; he loved Christmas. One sister is in California.)

On the logistics side, there was a lot of picking up and dropping off. My mother has a walker and doesn’t like stairs. My mother-in-law is in a wheelchair after diabetes-related amputations. (Her hemachromatosis wasn’t diagnosed until decades of damage had been done. This is a common genetic disorder is probably way under recognized.)

My daughter said grace. There were toasts. There was enough food for twice our party. My wife, besides all the organizing and cooking, bought the presents from the three grandparents. Her mother used to buy, her father used to wrap. This is a sign of the changing of the guard.

Ben’s girlfriend Holly painted us a picture of Five Islands, Nova Scotia, where we spend the summer. She is also a musician and academically inclined. My wife has taken up pottery and gave some pots as presents. There is nothing like something handmade
in this era of throw-away consumables.

Mind you, I got a KoBo digital book reader from Donna. And a copy of the Bhagavad Gita from Ben, and a book on raptors from Claire. They know what I like.

Just finished the wonderful Eat, Pray, Love, inspired by my plan to go to India next fall. I have so many books to finish, including the manuscript of a novel by my friend Jeff Keith, an artist in Denver.

The next day was warm and I had a great bike ride. My college friend Russell Heath called. After cycling from Alaska (where he lived for years running an environment foundation) to Mexico, he is moving to New York City to sell real estate. Russell gets around. A few years back, he sailed most of the way around the world, mostly by himself, in a 25-foot wooden sloop.

Yesterday I went to GoodLife for a moderate workout and a sauna, came back to life after too much indulgence. I’m going back today for a workout, yoga, and maybe another sauna.

It’s cold outside. We stop for a moment to reflect on what is important in our lives. Who we love. Life is good.

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