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As quickly as possible. We have work to do.

My Christmas began at 3 am, the way all days begin. First: laundry. Second, clean the kitchen floor. Third, exercise. Second, write.

A lot. Four articles by day's end.

No Christmas in this house, in other words. No big tree, no lights. No gifts, no tinsel, no piles of wrapping paper, no puppies, no ponies. No screaming kids.

The to-do list was long. I did at least get the annual prime rib in the oven, and after multiple clumsy attempts to get it right, I finally did pull it out in time to munch a slice for the Vikings game. I'd be sick later, that's a tradition. Red meat is a once-a-year thing, and my body resents the intrusion. You get over it.  

By noon, I was already done with the truncated season. I grabbed the small driftwood decorative tree from the sofa shelf, the recycled plaid Santa from the consignment shop and took them to the basement.   No gifts. I'd made my loving calls beforehand; other friends had family. I don't. I don't know my neighbors yet. Covid keeps them inside and they don't answer the door, so I respect that.

I played my Mannheim Steamroller the whole morning. That's all. Watched two flashmobs on YouTube. Watched one Christmas movie this week. That's all. Crammed all that into a storage box by early afternoon. This was  just not a year to feel all gooey and Christmas-y. Not with Nashville reeling from a bomb and the Super Grinch playing golf while people die in droves, and far too many face destitution on his watch. It boggles the mind.

There really is a Grinch, and he is no joke. Ask one of my friends, who is struggling to survive,  negotiating with his credit card companies to accept ten dollars a month on huge balances he cannot pay, who has put in yeoman's hours to find work but cannot. Ask him, and millions of others whose lives are heading into worse ruin.

Donald Trump plays golf as Congress scrambles to salvage Covid relief bill
Nancy Pelosi in talks with treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin after president’s demand for $2,000 stimulus checks left deal in disarray

I am not in the spirit this year. No amount of falsely-manufactured joy can change that. If anything, all those images underscore the terrible state that we are in, and how important it is that I take this situation seriously. I don't know how much of a country we're going to have left by the time Biden takes his oath, likely with plenty of lugnuts and Covidiots and jack-booted Nazis marching around the fringes.

I have difficulty listening to a carol that coos that Christ is going to bring us "goodness and light," when Christ has been weaponized by seriously dangerous evangelicals for whom hate is the only emotion they truly understand. So, no. I am not a big fan of the traditional sentiment, because that sentiment has been badly besmirched these last few years.

I am deeply saddened by what I see, and too concerned about my country to waste time waxing too nostalgic. I gave that a few hours, wrote some sappy shit, then wrapped that up and got back to work. I have to find paying work. Medium ain't it anymore. One more good thing that bit the dust during the last year.

The rain came down all day, punctuating the soft rising fog that is so typical of Oregon. After fifty years in Denver, I'm used to either bright sunshine or snow. That's all right. I am surrounded by Christmas trees. Hard not to love that. However I cannot embrace Christmas cheer when, as a military veteran, the country I wore a uniform to protect has a commander-in-chief who has left his country on fire, and with no resources with which to put the fires out.

So the angels and dolls and tinsel are in their respective boxes. I am back online, doing what I do: write. And read and respond and keep an eye out. For this is no time to sit. I am going to keep Kwanzaa, which means far more to me than traditional celebrations, and get busy.

Photo by Jimmy Dean / Unsplash