Christmas Note 2019

Maureen Slauson

Recently, I was walking down to meet Tom for pizza at Mona Lisa’s, our regular Friday night rendezvous.  The evening was cold and grey with winter in the air.  My head was muddling through the events of the day, including the politics roiling our country, when my eyes began to take in the parting autumn, the dry leaves on the sidewalk, the last golden leaves on the trees.  I was struck by the beauty of it all.  I thought of my father.  He often had struggles that could darken his world and certainly was concerned about the politics of those days, but he was always awake to the wonder in the world around him.  He wanted us to see that as well.  I remembered him taking the family out to Henes Park by the shores of the Bay in Menomonee, Michigan, just across the Interstate Bridge from Marinette, where we lived.  It was an evening just like this.  The park was empty except for us. It was the off season, his favorite time to go to a park.  I saw him, standing on the rocky shoreline, looking out at the bay, taking in the wonder of that vast expanse.  Here was a moment of enlightenment from my dad, in the middle of what had been a dreary walk on a dreary day.  I started to laugh, and was grateful. My heart was light as I continued to the restaurant.

This past summer, as the warm days were running down, Tom was outside finishing a project on the house. An Emmy Lou Harris song came on the radio.  He wanted me to hear it so we found it on google.  It was Emmy Lou and Rodney Crowell singing Bob Dylan’s “Shelter from the Storm.”  In these troubling times, I heard it anew.  2020 will have its challenges, but also its wonder.  May we keep our eyes open and our minds clear, and may we find and offer each other, “Shelter from the Storm.”

Maureen Slauson lives in the Historic Randall Park Neighborhood in a home that has been in the family for over 70 years.  She is a retired high school counselor who worked at Eau Claire North, Menomonie, and McDonell High Schools.