Today reminds me of December 2019—inches of snow falling in thick flakes. The bulk of the Boston area’s snowfall fell in that month. Back then I thought these pre-winter storms were a harbinger of a long season of “New England workouts,” i.e., cleaning off my car & digging out of parking spot. Thankfully, this winter was mild. Still it’s odd to see snow falling when we’re a month past spring.
Week 1: December started on a Sunday. I tagged along with the faculty and students in a Women’s and Gender Studies class to see the movie, “Frozen II.” After the movie we stopped at a pupusa place in Framingham and then went back to campus for a discussion. Although the movie features strong female characters, there were subtle messages about women playing it safe & not taking risks as well as an obvious attempt by Disney to show indigenous people in a positive light that seemed to repackage the Pocahontas story for the next generation. The highlight of mid-week was the Celtics versus Miami game, my second of the season, where I got to see Jimmy Butler play. I’ve always liked him as a player, but started to follow him after he embarrassed his former teammates at practice a few days before he got traded. I love the NBA drama! The week ended with the President’s Holiday Open House packed with 100+ people and heavy hors d’oeuvres.
Week 2: The double life was in full effect once again. Sunday was the Christmas Vespers program of music, readings, and carols that heralds the start of the holiday season. I’ve heard about this event since I arrived but never got around to going. Then I was invited to read the eighth and last lesson (see video starting at 1:02:22). I drew on all my growing-up years of performing in church plays and reading scriptures aloud in front of the congregation on Youth Sunday. It had been awhile since I had gone to a Christmas service. Oh how much I miss the music! The rest of the week I spent at a professional conference in Copley Square. I enjoying going to this conference because I get to ride the T like a normal person. Saturday, I capped off the week with a fantastic concert by the Brookline Symphony Orchestra, featuring Enigma Variations by Edward Elgar. Elgar composed each variation to reflect the personality & character of some of his friends.
Week 3: A busy, abbreviated week bookended by movies. On Sunday, I went to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston to see the film “Say Amen, Somebody,” a documentary about two of the originators of gospel music Thomas Dorsey & Willie Mae Ford Smith. I also had lunch with some of my sistah-friends at the newest restaurant at the museum. Thursday was the opening day of the ninth Star Wars movie The Rise of Skywalker. I was fortunate to be invited by some tango friends to see a private screening with no previews. Unfortunately, I left my wallet at work, went back to campus get it, and arrived at AMC Boston Common a little late. Friday, I got up super early to catch the 6 AM Megabus from BOS to NYC & ran several errands with my mom when I got home Saturday morning, I packed up my mom’s car with family and gifts to head down to my brother’s house in Virginia. We also showed up fashionably late to my aunt’s 80th birthday party and got to see lots of people I haven’t seen since I left the south.
Week 4+: Like many of you, I spent the holidays with family and friends. We enjoyed five days in Virginia, the first time the bulk of the Taylors & Carringtons had been together since our trip to St. Maarten in 2017. For the first time we opened gifts on Christmas Eve to allow the NYC crew to drive back home on Christmas Day to avoid holiday traffic. The day after Christmas, I went to see the Nets versus Knicks game at the Barclays Center. It was my first time there. What a microcosm of NYC—with all the different languages and cuisines at the arena plus a DJ playing Biggie tunes. I wrapped up the year ringing in the New Year Russian style.