In the 'Month of Miracles'

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Dec. 11, 2003

Dear Julie,

Dogs like ours make Christmastime a bit awkward. We can't invite friends over for wassails because Hank would greet them as warily as he does almost everyone. We can't put presents on the floor around the Christmas tree because Alvie would give them a soaking. So we have ourselves an inhospitable, above-ground little Christmas.

More eggnog for us, I guess. We're keeping the presents dry by buying a shorter tree and putting it on a platform Alvie can't reach. It only has to be 2 feet high.

DC is still formulating this year's decorations. I can't wait to see them. Lighting things is a disease with her. She loves to light fireworks but doesn't stop there. She puts up red, white and blue lights for the Fourth of July.

Last year she left the red Christmas lights up so Valentine's Day didn't feel slighted.

DC wonders what makes people, herself included, go to all the trouble of decorating their homes with lights every Christmas. I say its keeping up a tradition, a way of getting in the spirit. She thinks it's something else, more like a miracle.

DC has declared December the "Month of Miracles." By that she means the front bedroom her pet birds are somewhere inside and the middle bedroom a bed is somewhere inside will be reclaimed from the piles of clothes and boxes that were there last December. It's another disease, but I believe in miracles.

Our new bridge across the Mississippi River to Illinois opens Saturday. It looks miraculous. Lights illuminate 171 miles of steel cables strung like ribbon on a huge Christmas gift to everyone who lives here. The federal and state governments gave the most, but there's no question it's our bridge. Though none of us has been able to drive across yet, we love it already.

The bridge is a majestic presence above Cape Girardeau's downtown. It is our own little Eiffel Tower, a symbol we hope of a city beginning to realize its aspirations.

When the old bridge alongside is blown up next year, some may see in the explosion the end of an era when we and Cape Girardeau were young and the old bridge was the gateway to Illinois, where the attractions were being able to buy liquor under the age of 21 for a time and exhausting the night in a club named the Purple Crackle or long-gone ones like the Colony Club, the Dawn Club, the R Club R, the 21 Club, the Garden Inn, The Curve Inn, the El Patio in Cairo, Wilburn's and the Hushpuppy.

Most of the clubs have been replaced as attractions by wineries and natural wonders like the Garden of the Gods and Little Grand Canyon. We are older now and appreciate finer things.

Love, Sam

Sam Blackwell is a staff writer for the Southeast Missourian.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: