Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, December 26, 2014

Are We There Yet?

Jay Edwards

In the bleak mid-winter, Frosty wind m’ade moan, Earth stood hard as iron, Water like a stone. ~ Christina Rossetti

My bleak midwinter came the Saturday before Christmas, on the day that, thankfully, is the year’s shortest. It was a gray morning – not that those bother me much; sometimes I prefer less sunlight. 

KM tried to engage me, but as someone who can turn on Scrooge with ease, I was having none of it. In early afternoon, she attempted one last time by inviting me on a walk with our daughter Alexis.

“Do you want to go with us?”


“OK, see you later.” 

We’ve been together 39 and a half years, so KM knows me. Bless her heart.

Now alone, it became worse, and I struggled with possibilities that might snap the spell – which, allowed to linger, will do just that.

There was always shopping. But that meant shaking my agoraphobic trance and venturing to the marketplace. They don’t really call it Black Friday because of merchant profits. Anyway, I came to something resembling senses and soon dismissed the idea.

Next, I stared into my back yard at the giant spindles of pine and the shorter crooked oak and elm that looked naked and dead. That obviously wasn’t helping, either. Then I saw the piles of leaves I had never finished bagging and thought that might do it. Productivity, if not, confidence “will lick this here depression.”

But to do that, I needed to exchange my robe for jeans, and they were all the way upstairs.

I found the couch again and plopped; then I stared at the black, blank 42-inch horizontal monolith, which I imagined had traversed from some B.C. hominid campsite to my living room in the mere blink of an eye. I saw myself in its reflection but finally lost our staring contest. 

There was always Facebook, but my voyeurism wasn’t awake yet. Besides, the social media site that swallowed the Earth was too positive for my ... human condition. I would have told the truth anyway, and likely picked up a few more un-followers.

I grabbed a book from the coffee table I was reading called “The Prince of Frogtown” by Rick Bragg – the third of the familial remembrances from the Dixie Pulitzer Prize winner. Great stuff there, but I didn’t feel like reading, either.

So, sufficiently saturated in sulk, I finally decided to tackle the leaves, as the only other tackling going on, on the brightened monolith, was the end of the New Orleans Bowl and a fourth straight championship for the Rajin’ Cajuns of Louisiana Lafayette, which didn’t seem that shocking.

Outside, it was damp, the promised sun still hiding. I fired up my Honda mower and made quick work of my covered lawn. Then, feeling a little better and still energetic, it came to me. I would put some Christmas lights outside my house! From lethargy to insanity in a twinkling!

I looked in the garage, first in the old maroon cupboard with the hummingbirds painted on the side. On the first shelf were dusty Halloween plates, but right under those was the balled up green plastic tangle of lights – in the first place I had looked. Dementia would have to wait for me awhile longer. 

Thirty minutes later, the scraggly seven-foot weed bush in my back yard was covered in 500 sparklylights, causing it to slightly imitate the Charlie Brown tree droop. I felt like such a blockhead. That is, until they came on at dusk.

Then all was right with the world.

Angels and archangels, May have gathered there,

Cherubim and seraphim, Thronged the air ... 

Jay Edwards is editor-in-chief of the Hamilton County Herald and an award-winning columnist.  Contact him at jedwards@dailydata.com