(written on December 25th but couldn’t post. Cottage. Computer problems.)
The war on Christmas is over and we won. At any rate, we survived.
This, the period we are entering now, is my favorite time of the year. The hoopla, the folderol, the songs, the cards, the silly jokes about reindeer with red noses, the same stupid movies which, for the most part, have little enough to do with Christmas….Love, Actually was actually a pretty good movie the first four or five times I saw it, as was Die Hard, but a film (with the sole exception of The Rocky Horror Picture Show) is not a tradition. Once you’ve seen it more than half a dozen times and can recite the lines along with the actors, it loses all interest as a film.
We celebrated on the 24th, Czech style, with carp and potato salad for dinner before the opening of the presents. My favorite this year was a chair. This blog, henceforth (as soon as we get home and get it assembled) will be written from the comfort of a plush, swivelling, ergonomic chair. Perhaps it will lead to a kinder, more generous view of humanity type blog, but I doubt it. I can be perfectly cynical from a position of comfort.
This morning I woke up early – it wasn’t actually early, but everybody else was still in bed – and went for a nice, long walk. It actually wound up being much longer than I’d planned, which happens sometimes when you don’t plan at all. At the neighboring village of Vesela (which means Joy), I took a right, because that is a way I’d never explored beyond the first couple hundred meters. It was a peaceful walk. The whole time I was out I did not encounter another human being. A few cars passed, I saw one bicyclist at a distance, but other than that I saw a lot of cows, who stared at me blankly, with neither fear nor interest, and a handful of barking dogs fiercely defending their property. I can sort of understand that if your property is a marijuana field or a luxury car lot but keeping a kennelful of vicious, barking mongrels in Český Ráj strikes me as the sign of an asshole. It’s like putting a loud, hyper-sensitive car alarm on a piece of shit car that nobody in their right mind would bother stealing.)
I kept expecting to find a turning to the left so I could get back to where I knew, but never did. I did find one forest track on the left and followed that, but at the bottom of the hill it ended at a farm and I had no choice but to walk back up the way I’d come.
I eventually came to a place with an intersection and some road signs, which pointed me, without any ambiguity, right back the way I came.
When I got home, the cousins had arrived and the entire dining room table was Lego Land. One of them had got a Star Wars lego set, another a lego police station, and Isabel got a lego shopping mall. Put together all the lego sets in the world, and they would equal the whole world.
In the evening, several of us took a walk to Vesela (just to Vesela) to look at the town Christmas tree. I wasn’t expecting Rockefeller Center, or even Prague Old Town Square, but even so, it was kind of a feeble display. We weren’t sure if the main tree was supposed to be the biggest one, at the entrance of the parking lot which passes for a town square, and was decorated by a single, blue garland, or the one across the lot, just behind the dumpsters, which was smaller but at least had twinkling lights. There was also one higher up the hill, but that was probably just in somebody’s back yard.
It was a lovely walk, though, and the kids were very happy with it.