The introspective humdrum life of an eccentric hexagenarian.

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Sunday, December 9, 2007

Shades of Christmas Past (from February 2007)

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The weather finally broke enough to be able to walk during my lunch hour around the Polish and Hispanic neighborhood that surround the Medical Examiner's office where I work. Both neighborhoods are mildly depressed and passed by; but certain sections of streets still speak of first generation immigrants who worked in the tanning factories and proudly sent their children to school in plaid uniforms to nuns who would iron out the accents from their speech.

I've noticed many Christmas decoration still up this year as if people aren't ready to let go of the magic of Christmas and trade it for the reality of slushy February; but this window has had the same decorations in it for the 22 years I've worked in this area. The same kitchy Santa praying before the same manager. The same family trapped in the purity of black and white, still with flushed cheeks from sledding down the slope to the Christiana River, the same dog still barking at their heels.

Many of these row houses were built with simultaneous living and business in mind. Living rooms of homes doubled as storefronts for sub shops, baked goods sales, seamstress alterations. The window of this row house has never changed for as long as I can remember. I've never seen anyone come or go or sit on the stoop or sweep the steps. Yet Santa keeps his vigil all these years for children long grown and I'm certain that a mother is still bent over a crystal rosary for their safety as they travel light years away from the fires of home.

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