End of the year, that is. Despite the changes that rolled in, moving some people around the country and sending some people into eternity, the calendar relentlessly marches along. Christmas knocks on the door and dances inside, trailing familiar players and trappings in a cloud of new traditions and arrangements. I'm not sure who's in charge now that my grandparents are gone. I think it might be me. My parents and uncle and aunt spent a week here, sightseeing and helping prep for our annual holiday party. Now they are back home and I'm taking a breath before the next wave of relatives from my girlfriend's side of the family come to town and trying to remember that we're still waiting for Christmas Day to come.
My grandparents' bedroom was always off-limits in December, partly to shield scattered unwrapped presents from prying eyes, but mainly to shield my grandmother's dignity from relatives seeing the utter chaos that lurked behind the door during those 24 days, paper and ribbons and boxes covering every horizontal surface as if a Christmas bomb had gone off mere moments before, no matter when you looked in there. I went back into my own bedroom this morning to retrieve my shoes and realized that one more circle has come full. Jesus. The Christmas Bedroom Bomber has tracked my genetic code 1,600 miles from southern Illinois and detonated several megatons' worth of paper, ribbons, and boxes all over every horizontal surface. And so it goes.