And Peace on Earth

The weather warmed up again here in sunny Florida where we are embarked on our winter stay. That means morning exercise walks are pleasant. Chilly sometimes, but usually not very. Other winter visitors are coming in daily to choruses of welcome back greetings, hugs and enquiries as to health and wellbeing. Holiday decorations are going up as well. That part always seems strange, even though we’ve spent so many years either in the desert or here in south Florida during the holiday season. When you’ve just put away your heavier clothes and donned shorts and short sleeved shirts to accommodate the weather, winter holidays seem unreal.

Even Thanksgiving seemed strange without a showing of fall foliage or bare limbs, dried cornstalks, and frosted pumpkins. But Hanukkah and Christmas? With the only snow on television or in news from friends and relatives up north, the only familiarity in the setting is the sudden explosion of ads trying to get us to buy gifts.

Then, people start putting up decorations, and we are induced to follow suite. Pretty soon, one remembers the annual boat parade, or golf cart parade, or other tradition. Here, people put up Candelaria, using plastic milk bottles with a little sand in the bottom and a votive candle. The streets will surely glow the night they are lit. It reminds me of the Candelaria in New Mexico, when we lived in Las Cruces. We have a friend who has made an annual tree ornament for over twenty years. Just got word that this year’s surprise creation is on its way. Bit by bit, it starts to feel more like the holidays, although I can’t help but think winter snow is needed to really set the atmosphere.

In this era of conflict and tension between so many people, groups and societies, I think it would be good if we had a tradition of winter celebration that did not have any particular religious base, just a celebration of life and a time of caring for each other. A time to bring peace on earth.

Enjoying Rural Florida

Up north, I’m sure Bobby Navarro has put away his Harley for the winter. I find that hard to picture as well. Someday I’m going to have to do the holidays with him in the story. Of course, that would have to mean murder somewhere as well, or would it? I wonder if I could write a good mystery that didn’t include a murder. In any case, hope you enjoy the season wherever you are, and whatever you celebrate. And, if you’re looking for a gift suggestion, don’t forget to put a good book on your list.

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