Walsh’s Wonderings: The holidays in Connecticut

Robert F. Walsh

Robert F. Walsh

Hearst Connecticut Media

It’s easy to forget how lucky we are to celebrate the holiday season in Connecticut. This week’s incessant warnings of impending blizzards sent many of us scrambling to fill up the gas tank and dig out the mittens instead of appreciating the simple joys of Hanukkah and Christmas. I was guilty of it myself before I visited Florida last week and was reminded, like George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” just how lucky we really are.

It’s no coincidence Bing Crosby first sang “White Christmas” (in 1942’s “Holiday Inn”) on a farm in Connecticut rather than the Art Deco morass that is Florida. There is a jarring dissonance in seeing an inflatable Santa tethered next to a palm tree, the plaster Joseph no doubt distracted by the coconuts falling onto the roof of the manger scene. Florida is tacky enough without colored lights wrapped around its palm fronds. Only a Scrooge would willingly live in a place where one can wear shorts while Christmas shopping or listen to “Jingle Bells” while floating in a pool. Even the sun conspires to set an hour later, robbing us of the excuse to go to bed early.

December in Connecticut is a gift unto itself. There’s nothing like the comforting cloak of quiet that descends upon the world when it snows. The pinhole burn of those first flakes that hit our faces as we lift them to the sky; the absence of speeding cars and mufflerless motorcycles in the white, downy reset button of snowfall. The frosted strings of light peeking out of the bushes are Rockwells come to life.

I’ve spent most of my life here, and I’ve come to expect the particular quirks of the region. It’s reassuring to look for the familiar patterns of our local weather forecasts, for example. In December, every impending snow event is treated as a sign of the apocalypse: bread and milk disappear from the shelves along with every spare snow shovel. The 1-inch dustings that usually result are accompanied by frenzied news trucks offering minute-by-minute traffic reports.

By March, anything less than a foot of snow is met with a yawn. We don’t bother with the food shopping or even gassing up the snow thrower, figuring that surely the people from Uber Eats can slide their way up the driveway if need be.

The holidays season in Connecticut provides a welcome respite during what is an otherwise crazy time of year. The crisp, cold air and ice-covered roads get us to slow down in a way other areas of the country don’t. It’s hard to spend too much time complaining about taxes or the governor’s latest edict while staring up at the moon through the branches of snow-laden pines. (Mind you, I’m not saying impossible….)

As we take a breath from all the madness of this past year, I wish you all the health, happiness and peace you can handle this holiday season. Regardless of how you spend it or who you spend it with, you’re celebrating it in the right place.

You can read more at RobertFWalsh.com, contact him at RobertFWalshMail@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @RobertFWalsh.