Today is the shortest day of the whole year- and I’m pretty sure it feels like the longest day as well, at least for me, because I’m not feeling all that well and all I’ve felt like doing today is sleep. I was especially draggy at the radio station, where my last task before dragging my tail home was to record a promo for the next Metropolitan Opera simulcast, which is “Hansel and Gretel” on New Year’s Day. You know there’s something seriously wrong when I am struggling to summon even a hint of excitement and enthusiasm in my voice for an opera announcement; most of the time, I’m a combination of Jimmy Swaggert, Jim Bakker and Robert Schuller, exhorting the masses to find their way to the joys of opera. Today, at least inside my head, I was saying “come if you want to. doesn’t matter to me. whatever.”
I did meet a voice student, Jamie Wilson, for lunch – which was especially fun because I was introducing him to Lone Star. ( If anything rivals my missionary zeal when it comes to opera, it’s my zeal for getting people hooked on my favorite eating establishments. ) But you know I was under the weather and blue because I only added a lettuce wedge to my order – no soup, no baked potato, no appetizer. It brought to mind an episode of All in the Family where Mike (the meathead) is troubled and Edith is worried. “I think something must be bothering Mike,” she says. “He had only six pieces of bacon and he hardly touched his third egg.” That was me at lunch. . . one chicken breast instead of two, steamed vegetables, and a lettuce wedge. For me that’s like fasting before surgery.
It’s a lot of things besides being under the weather which are making these days drag. . . it’s the disappointment of wanting to chat with my far-flung siblings and only getting voice mail, again and again . . . it’s the letdown of a largely empty calendar after having 374 performances in 9 days ( or something like that ) which should feel mostly like a blessed relief but which in fact is at least partly a downer . . . it’s being off from Carthage while Kathy is slogging through her last week at school . . . and maybe more than anything, it’s the cloudy sky and the dirty snow. When I’m busy with a normal life, I don’t really care if it’s a monsoon outside. But when I’m not busy, I think I must be one of those weather- sensitive folks who reacts badly to clouds in winter and drought in the summer.
But tomorrow will be better, I think, because we will be going on our annual Christmas caroling expedition with Polly and Mark and two other couples – Mark has it planned out and it looks as complex and intricate as the evacuation plan for Chicago, so we will be busy. More importantly, we will be trying to bring some extra cheer into the lives of some people who really could use it. And by Saturday night it looks like this dirty snow we’re looking at right now will be invisible under a blanket of five new inches of the white stuff. And after that, at least according to the long term forecast, we’ll have sunshine on both the 24th and 25th plus all the joy of the holidays themselves.
Hey! – I just got back from answering the doorbell. It was the mom of one of my high school voice students, Cassie Jordan, delivering homemade cookies all of the way from Kenosha on behalf of her daughter who is even more under the weather than I am. It’s amazing to consider how the smallest of saving graces can help us look past the dirty snow.