Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas, readers! Best of the season to you all. And happy Kwanzaa, best of the Zarathosht Diso, as well as belated happy Yule, Bodhi Day and Hannukah.

Those who've ready this blog know my inclusive attitude toward holiday greetings: we should all celebrate all of them. (More holidays, more food, more festivities — who can argue with that?) And I will not be offended if anyone wishes me a Happy Eid, Passover or Makar Sankranti.

You may not know this, but I'm French-Canadian. One French-Canadian tradition — so traditional that my family wasn't doing it anymore by the time I was born — is exchanging presents on Christmas Eve. 
My seasonal gift to all of you is a story about Christmas, set in the long-ago time of 1991 — when cell phones were rarities, gasoline was 40 cents a litre and times were no simpler, no easier than they are today. 

Below is a sample of the story. The full text is in the tab, "Christmas 1991" at the top of the page.



My Christmas Story for 1991


By Scott Bury

Snow spun, spiraled, swirled downward, slowly covering the lawns and avenues, the roofs and pathways of a suburb. In the morning, commuters would curse as they dug their cars out of the drifts and banks, brushed it off their hoods and headlights, then clutch their steering wheels white-knuckled as they slid to work.

But tonight, tonight all was quiet. All the houses were dark. All except one — one window was lit, the curtains flung aside, the light streaming out, illuminating the falling snow as it flickered past the window pane.

Through the window could be seen the head of one man, hard at work: leaning forward, shoulders and back bent over a slanted table. The head was handsome, seen in profile, if tending toward the corpulent. The forward tilt pushed out the beginnings of a double chin. The hair was dark, the nose long and straight, the mouth full and sensitive. 

His name was Andrew, and he was a draftsman. His job was to make an architect’s drawings and an engineer’s proofs into final drawings for the construction crews. Andrew was good at his job, and knew it.

Around him was the darkness and stillness of a sleeping house. If he had listened, had paid attention to the world around him at that moment, he would have heard the small sounds of the night: the intermittent click and hum of the furnace, the rattling of the windows in the winter wind, the rustling from the bed in the room next door as his wife, Lana, turned over, the faint sighing of his five-year-old daughter, Marla, in the other bedroom.

But Andrew was concentrating. He had a deadline to meet on this project, a complete set of plans for a power building at a factory. It was still a week away, counting the day whose morning he was working through, but there was a lot of work to do yet.

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