A Christmas Story
AE Reiff

I looked over the back fence and saw them playing bridge. "It's Christmas," I shouted, "there's card tables, they're playing bridge!"
We decided to move in.
One neighbor offered a fresh turkey.
She paid my son $700 to mow the lawn.
He charged $300 to rake the leaves just to make it even.
I planted nut trees.
There was one renter, a preacher who came by the door Sundays to wash the windows.
I haven't stained my doors yet, but can you blame the neighbors?
I did have questions.
What will Alma think when she learns I moved?
Will she forgive me for provoking the Liquor Board?
Sure, there's rumors of pot and gays, somebody planting oleander, so and so has a girlfriend. Oh it's a godsend!
What do we see on the streets of Christmas? Hierophants?

Morning walkers on the canals,
a little old lady with the red chow,
postal workers with scented cigars,
and now and then fathers and mothers.

Our street opens with bells and prayer, runs to a Christian school indwelt by doves.
In this ecology I have not seen a bug.
Pecan, citrus, aleppos yes, upstanding aloes with a green beard, and a diverse race of raven, grebe, swan.
Those who were worst enemies in the old world have forgiven in the new. They play bridge.
Christmas is inclusive of the planets too, with the exception of old earth, fumigated by the astrologer idolaters.
Sorry about that.
One neighbor raised a memorial to evil on a redwood trellis, impaled a passion flower vine. That got him in trouble with the Association which forbids the idolatry of past lives.
Our good neighbor policy winked at it.
Forgiving and forgiving proves that we are not the little green men the clipping on my desk said we were.
You can go on and on about Christmas. But why bother?
I say just live it.
Here are some glimpses of the city.
All spiritual evils overcome by the one good.
No angels chanting, but rising in an antiphonal motion of wings at rest.

"I in my Savior am happy and blest."

These little choruses flap around.
The bass section is going, "thank you, thank you," always thinking of another reason for praise and then when exhausted they think of Him Himself.
Then the tenors come in and they're going, "thank you, thank you."
I tell you getting up in the morning here is no chore because there's no night.
It feels so good at the base of my brain that I'm going "thank you, thank you."

It's Christmas!
And Thanksgiving!
It's Easter!
And Pentecost!

This is Christmas City.
All you have to do is adapt to all the lights.
There are so many lights it never really gets dark.
They put lights on the trees.
They put lights on their dogs!
I saw a neon cocker, a luminescent cow!
Women in Christmas City have every strand of hair lit with color coordinated haloes, shimmering sheaths.
Can you imagine the electric bill?
One or two recalcitrants won't put up lights.
I would think they would get a rebate.
Heavenly air, chill mornings, pleasant afternoons.
Snowbirds like crazy.
Tinges of cedar.
You can live in town, or further out among the elk.
Did you know there are elk in Christmas?
They spell the angels on trumpet each hour on the half hour.
Then the coyotes horn in and dogs are barking, so that what with the bird chatter, it's enough, sometimes it's too much to hear the sound of a baby's rattle.
"There are babies in Christmas?"
It's getting to be fun, you say.
"Are there wives too?"
Yum, huh?
Well, there need to be some surprises.
"Good air, good food, good living. Wow! How can I get there?"