Gotham Diary:
15 December 2011

Last night, Will’s parents used their Night Out to buy a Christmas tree. “Oh, wow!” said Will — but that was before he’d even seen it. He is very into saying “Oh, wow!” these days; it is the new “Uh-oh!” He seemed to like the tree, but it was probably a bit too much to take in, having a fir in the apartment. What he took to immediately was the length of twine in which the boughs were bound for easy carrying. As soon as it was cut free, he began a new career of doing a million things with it. He trailed it behind him; he wound himself up in it; he even tried to do the adult thing, and loop it into a ring. (The result was an incarnation of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.) I could see why Geekdad hailed string as one of the five great toys.

Then he decided to dress up. This was new to me. I did not crop his head out of the image above; I was trying to take a picture of his footwear, borrowed from his father and, more clearly that the photograph suggests, worn on the wrong feet. When he put the green Santa hat on, he looked like one of the Chinese mushrooms in Fantasia — and also, as his father said, like a little Harry Potter. For the time being, Will doesn’t need a wand to be wowed.


Earlier in the day, my dear aunt died, in New Hampshire. I have little to say about her passing beyond slandering the local medical profession; I thought that we were past the time when you could die of complications attending appendicitis. I’ll get over all of that. Because she lived in one of the most inaccessible parts of the Northeast, and I no longer drive (Kathleen never did), we hadn’t paid a visit recently, and I never got to show off Will. A minor regret, really — about Will, I mean. My aunt gave me something utterly priceless, even though it would have embarrassed her to hear tell of it. If I hadn’t adored her as a boy, I might not have recognized as quickly as I did Kathleen’s similar combination of smarts, chic, and kindness. And where would I be in that case?


The sun hasn’t come out this morning. It looks like a good day for staying home, which is what I intend, grateful for the empty calendar, to do.