Tomorrow: a short trip up the west side of an island. A bridge to cross and then New Jersey, the state of frustration. Pennsylvania is a straight grey line, hills and forests and lonesome houses, an irregular parade of cement-colored rest stops with clammy bathrooms and boiled coffee. Finally, Ohio, and an exit north. The feeling of home creeps in with every mile, and we are there before we know it: a white house by a brown river with the porchlight on and family waiting.
The Christmas we keep together is a little like Robert P. Tristam Coffin's:
The whole nation of you in the house will go from one thing to another. The secret of the best Christmases is everybody doing the same things all at the same time. You will all fall to and string cranberries and popcorn for the tree, and the bright lines each of you has a hold on will radiate from the tree like ribbons on a maypole. Everybody will have needles and thread in the mouth, you will all get in each other's way, but that is the art of doing Christmas right.I can't wait.