Our Christmas will be down the shore as we make plans to head there tomorrow.
I guess I’ve ached for this for some time, even though it is not the same shore town that I was used to traveling to each Christmas until my grandmother died, and the world as I knew it changed again.
This is a tough time of year for me, partly because time has stripped away all of the usual traditions I knew, and unlike with the past when such things occurred, no new traditions have replaced them.
When I split from my grandfather’s house in the late 1960s, I was able to find a new family among my friends, establishing a Christmas Eve tradition that filled in the gaps that often occurred with my regular family – especially during the upheaval of family life that took place during the 1970s.
But from about 1977 on, I made a regular trip to
where two of my uncles, an aunt, my grandmother, and
mother had settled. Toms River
So fixed a routine, I came to associate the beach and ocean with Santa Claus, and often spent Christmas Day strolling the board walk of
, chill or no chill, feeling some empathy for the
seagulls and their lonely cries. Seaside
Even my best friend wound up down there for the first few years of that routine, so that we not only got together for his birthday on Christmas Eve up north, but often met again on Christmas Day when he went to see his girlfriend in Toms River.
All this ended in 1991 with the death of my grandmother, and my mother’s move north a short time later. I thought perhaps I could revert to the ritual of fiends, who still gathered on Christmas Eve, but this came to an end in 1995 when my best friend died, and the group of friends scattered for the most part, and though we tried to get together again, it just didn’t feel right without him.
I made a few trips to Toms River during the 1990s to see in particular my ailing uncle, and once I even brought my mother south with me so that it almost felt like Christmases of old – it was the last time brother and sister would meet before that uncle died, and within a year, so did my mother.
The oughts as the early 2000s are called were largely devoid of tradition, a wasteland that lacked the spirit I had clung to for so long.
again, seems to have brought back a sense of this,
and with the weather predicted to be bearable, we will go south again, hoping
to pick up Santa’s trail, and like three kings far wiser than I’ll ever be,
follow some star to some sense of rebirth somewhere we can hear the roar of the
sea. Asbury Park