…you can count on me.
Text by Steve VandeGriek Photos by Jan Behmer December 1, 2021
My large family’s large and deep in the countryside Vermont homestead was lost to us a few years ago. Christmas hasn’t been quite the same since. That farmlike forum was where the generations of us, with significant others and offspring, would reune for the holidays, hidden among the hills and surrounded by snow filled fields. Our holiday season had nothing to do with weeks of Black Friday and office parties. Peace and practiced tradition presided in that specific setting, a mist temporarily dispelling even my innate cynicism. At the risk of getting all Tiny Tim-my about it, all those zealously preserved traditions created an aura. But when the forum went, a lot of the aura went with it. We had had no idea how fragile that aura was, how dependent on place we had made it.
We all now endeavor – and not entirely without success – to maintain some of that mist in our widely scattered separation. We each still do carry with us some of what was, wherever we spend the season. It’s not the same thing, but it is something, and it enables us all to be home for Christmas, if only in our dreams.
Janet and I wish you Happy Holidays.
We have since spent one beguiling Christmas in England and visited the historical town of Devizes, whence came my favorite limerick. I offer it as a Christmas present to all.
There once was a maid from Devizes
Whose breasts were of two different sizes.
The one was small, hardly anything at all,
And the other was big and won prizes.