No, I didn’t go out shopping yesterday; I didn’t even shop online. But I did unpack Steely Dan and various other Christmas decorations today.
A couple of years ago, my mother went out to Home Depot very early in the morning on Black Friday. She bought about a dozen poinsettias, a couple of odd games we gave as gifts, and a pre-lit artificial Christmas Tree. I have no idea what happened to the game gifts, but we still have the tree and some of the poinsettias (we lost several over the summer when I didn’t water plants for about three weeks because I was sick and there was a heat wave).
Now people who know me very well know that I like to name things. My computer, the tea kettle, various and sundry household items (the kitchen timer is a pig that I call Mr. Piggly Wiggly). I’ve been naming our Christmas trees since I was in high school and Mom made a joke about the tree really being “Irving the Chanukah Bush” (obviously, she named that one, but it’s been my job ever since). Last year, as I was setting up our Black Friday tree, I happened to remember the Steely Dan song of the same title, and hummed it as I assembled the pieces and straightened the branches.
Part of my naming of things is my contention that I don’t really name anything; eventually, things just tell me their names. It’s an odd contention, to be sure, but since I subscribe to the notion that all things in the Universe are one, there is no reason why inanimate objects cannot have souls and personalities. There have been things that have never told me their names, and they remain nameless as I don’t want to call them something incorrectly. As I was humming the chorus of “Black Friday” (the only part I can reliably remember most of the time), I realized that the tree’s name was Steely Dan.
So Steely Dan is glowing softly in the living room, all his sparkling ornaments adorning his plastic beauty. I’ll feel a little sad when he wears out, but that’s part of the life cycle of things, too. As some point, they’ve done their duty and are ready to leave us. But Steely Dan is only three right now, so we’ve got at least a couple more years together.