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A Christmas Carol

Carol. That’s my middle name, although “Ebenezer” might have been more suitable.

Here’s my dark Christmas story and I’m stickin’ to it:

Today I power walk along the ocean in Pacific Grove - and I mean power. A storm far out at sea is pushing spectacular 10-foot breakers against the sea wall. And with my arms outspread I orchestrate their crashes – watery explosions mere inches from my feet; white orgasms drenching the rocks below.

Exalted, I watch ghostly striations of upper atmosphere rain that drape across the bay like a pulsing Aurora Borealis. Other clouds fold into one another like cake batter and I dance low down, a warrior, praying for the rain to come (but please hold off until after my walk).

As I perambulate, I spy an old man with a walking stick, trench coat up to his ears, dark glasses and a tam. I’ve passed him countless times on the trail.

No matter how many times I smile, he looks straight through me. Old sourpuss.

Today, however, I am tenacious. It’s one of those sleep deprived days in which I sometimes have confrontations with dogs, pull hermit crabs off the rocks and stop anyone who’ll look, to point out the smog on the horizon.

In my defense, I am not like this every day and tend to balance this ledger with days in which I atone for my menopausal bitchiness. Days when I smile so brightly at passersby that their faces radiate back my joy. I take their pictures – Kodak moments – and comment on the splendor of this place.

But back to my nastiness: I move ever closer to the man walking past, and dogged as a pit bull, I smile and say, “Hello,” fully expecting the snub.

The grouch seems utterly taken aback.

I am relentless, “Great waves today, huh?”

A smile creeps across his wrinkled lips. “Oh, a great day to for have waves. You live here?”

His accent sounds Russian and I want to fling my arms about his neck and say things like “borscht” and “Dah!” But, instead, I say, “Oh, yes. I’ve lived here 33 years.”

He is deeply impressed.

As we go our separate ways I cross one more person off my “grouch” list and the Scrooge in me seems to be replaced by a Christmas angel.

And then, the instant I reach my car, the heavens open up and the thirsty ground receives its benediction . . .

 

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