Newsletter

A Wonderful Time of the Year

This may not be the most wonderful time of the year, but it comes fairly close. At least I think so, especially now that we don’t have to worry about snow. Maryland could get snowy. But coastal North Carolina doesn’t.

 For the umpteenth time, we watch classic holiday movies, visit with friends, eat good food, and don’t feel guilty about having a second piece of pie. And try as we might not to eat yet another cookie, we justify it by saying we don’t want to disappoint the friend who made them. 

I’m not a churchgoer, but I do love the carols and the lights, even if I’m not overly fond of the blow-up ornaments on the people’s front yards. Still, there is an aura of excitement in the air. Plus, the messages of love and happiness do warm my heart.

 This year we went to our neighborhood chorus’ Holiday Concert event. Nice group of voices, including two women in the tenor section because they can no longer sing the alto range and the men in the tenor section were lacking a couple of voices. Plus, during the intermission, we chatted with some neighbors we hadn’t seen for a while.

We’ve already watched one version of the Christmas Carol, titled “Scrooge,” starring George C. Scott, and are looking forward to watching our favorite version, “Scrooge”—starring Albert Finney—which is heartwarming. We also have watched the 1947 version of “Miracle on 34th Street,” and are looking forward to watching “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and finally “The Christmas Story. Some years we watch “National Lampoon’s Christmas Story” because it so good with its slapstick humor. I especially like Uncle Lewis’ scene of blowing up the drainage gutter and the scene of how the lights blind the neighbors with their brilliance. What are your favorite Christmas movies?

Though our children are all in their late fifties or early sixties now, I still enjoy getting together for a standing rib roast on Christmas Day. We also have a Zoom meeting with my husband’s family on Christmas Day. Some of us live on the East Coast, some in the Midwest, and the rest on the West Coast. 

But my side of the family is too far-flung for any kind of communal meeting. Some live in Italy, some in France, some in England, some in New York, some in California, and some in Oregon. Timing a group that size is not really feasible. Maybe we’ll have a meeting with them later in the year.

I think I’ll add a Christmas/Holiday scene to the murder mystery I’m working on. 

My latest short story is in the January Next Chapter Literary Magazine, which has the theme of flowers. Copies are available at the Next Chapter Books and Art store, 320 S. Front Street, in the charming downtown of New Bern, NC. The magazine is now available at the store in either the $10 black and white edition or in glorious color for $15. Whatever your plans may be, I hope you have a “splendiferous” holiday time and worry about your diet in the New Year. 

And if you happen to be in New Bern this Saturday, please do come say hello between 11 and 1 at the bookstore. I will be sitting in the first room by the front door. Derby, the store cat, may be keeping me company and helping with official greeter duties. If he’s not with me, I’m sure you’ll find him around the store waiting for pets from you. 

Sarah Maury Swan.