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Chatterbox: Let it go


My husband used to run marathons. Now he has a titanium knee. I used to wear mini-skirts. Now my legs look like I’m always wearing knee high sweat socks.

Time changes everything, good and bad. Meant to be or causes unknown, we all arrive, sooner or later, at the doorstep of our latter years.

On Feb. 14, Chatterbox talked about a revelation I had made over the summer of 2018. I lost my vanity. Time had, indeed, taught me that, as lovely as my knees used to be, I was now more Sunset Boulevard than Rodeo Drive. The realization was more an undeniable epiphany than desired inspiration. Still, lucky to be anywhere, here I am … all Norma Desmond and no Marie Osmond.

I was recently chatting with that gal I mentioned in my recent column on aprons. We talked about the column and the responses people posted on my Chatterbox Facebook page. They were charming and one person even sent me a photo of her grandmother’s apron – old and worn thin at the middle but still one of that girl’s great treasures. So many readers had an apron story, even a couple of guys; it was downright remarkable. It opened the topic of how we pass things on.

Passing things on is necessary, my friend said, and she is so right. It’s a healthy process that not only gets Christmas dinner moved to a generation with better knees, but gives those of us who have already carried the baton a chance to see how those carrying it behind us will do. It’s a chance for those who have long served, to be served. Isn’t it wonderful when the meaningful and sensible progression of time results in the fulfillment of a family history?

Letting go is never easy. Perhaps, we served holiday dinners on Lenox and chargers with three different glasses and our grandmother’s silver. Now, we may watch people serve a glorious holiday rack of lamb or full prime rib dinner buffet style on paper plates, or maybe it’s take-out served in containers as shipped. Whatever it is, it works. It’s usually an adjustment, but even it’s an exercise in discipline, once we pass the baton we no longer have any control. We must roll with it, and we will. We’ll learn to focus on what really matters – and what matters isn’t who cooked what or what the accoutrements are.

As my girlfriend said, it’s the sign of a healthy mind and a great attitude when we are ready to give up our holiday, relinquish control, deal with new and different customs and styles of the next generation, and just let it ride. Maybe it’s not so easy at first, but it does precede that breath of fresh air – and a sizeable sigh of relief.

No one will carry on traditions quite the way we do, but I’ve recently been reminded that the power of any gathering, holidays or otherwise, is in the people with whom we spend the time.

Chatterbox, Jan. 3, this year, talked about my own traditions and that I was ready to stop fussing about decorating to the 9s and focus on what was important to my kids. Well, we all have that epiphany eventually, and it is, indeed, not just wonderful but also the very meaning of progress.

When my sister got married, my mother gave many of the holidays to her as I was still a teen living at home. Once I was married, it was a few years before we had a home big enough to host holidays. Once there, my sister and I shared all the holidays, except for one … batons successfully passed.

For most of us, if not all, life and the special days it brings (if we’re lucky) is one slow, continual evolution. Even when we still command family gatherings, the style may change. Eventually, the Lenox will be retired, as will the sets of three glasses and all the silver serving pieces. They will all go the way of seven rooms of Christmas decorations.

We’ll all adjust to a simple buffet on every day dishes, and use only what can go in the dishwasher. We’ll stress less as we join in with the troops and have a great, easy day that doesn’t ravage our home and leave us exhausted or stressed.

It is, as my girlfriend said, “…natural to pass the baton.” Funny how life becomes so clear even as our vision goes south.

Does anyone else hear Elsa singing, “Let it go”?