January 6th will stand in our minds as a frightening spectacle of unbridled violence and anarchy against our democratic America. Like all infamous days in our cable-news-social-media-in-your-face culture, visceral horror flooded our feeds, our lives, our living rooms, and rippled into the political arena like a firestorm not giving one hoot who or what it destroyed. And we all watched. For hours. Days. Weeks. Months. We watched as that horror was debated and dissected; as all the wordage like insurrection, coup, riot, protest and sedition were argued between politicians as if words still mattered.
Like so many of these hard dates that now populate our collective history, December 14th 2012, September 11th 2001, April 4th 1968 and August 6th 1945, January 6th 2021 was a nightmare that still causes us to sweat; yet we remain stagnant. And worse still the Republican Senators and Representatives who by all accounts aided and abetted the criminals who desecrated our Capital are on the federal payroll, yes, still. And, even worser, the man who commanded the day, still perpetuates his lies to his mob. Should we really call him the former President? Can you even? Without any shame for America? I think demagogue might be a more apt title.
Last summer, at my god-mother’s funeral, a cousin asked me if I missed my mother. Without skipping a beat I said of course, but I also added that I feel her inside of me, and in that place I hold her even closer. I hear her laugh coming from my throat, her gestures moving my hand, and her confidence as I stride into any situation. I encounter reminders of my mother in the shade of nail polish I pick out at the salon, reminders as I dive into the salty surf, reminders as I sit with her sister or brother, and certainly whenever talk drifts to the precious old days. She’s gone but she’s everywhere all at once.
With two-carts of groceries, the grape juice, egg noodles, green beans and a thousand other items to feed 12 people for four days in addition to serving the Big Dinner, making beds of every sort in every possible nook, gathering extra blankets and towels and pillows, wrapping gifts and hanging festive lights, remembering both cranberry and stuffing recipes, lining the mantle and every table top with Santas galore, setting up the creche, first airport run, second, arranging for the third, lighting the tree star, rolling out the dough, baking pies and decorating sugar cookies, hanging the stockings, getting the turkey in the oven before noon, popping a few corks, conducting a proper Yankee swap with plenty of steals, giving the cheer, sharing our blessings, holding hands to voice our thanks before the feast, the walking talks and monster hike and ping-pong and even a new Star Wars! All done without our Shinning Christmas Star who would have loved this holiday; loved for those who came despite their sorrow, for those who came despite their inevitable travel snafus, and for those who brought extra cheer to fill the gap. Despite the long shadow, Christmas 2015 will be remembered for the best reasons.