Sunday, January 17, 2010

out with the old and in with the new

The Christmas tree stands illuminated in the same corner location in the living room year after year. That's right. Not the politically correct 'holiday tree.' That's what it was called in our house when I grew up and that is what I continue to call it. If there is some gnarly branch or bare spot that I didn't notice when we purchased the tree I can just turn the unsightly side to the corner. Problem solved. The tree's corner location also affords me the opportunity to end the season with a ceremonial shove out the window. It has an extremely cathartic effect.

January brings some dreary days with the first month of the calendar year. Sorry to anyone who has a January 24 birthday since a British survey deemed it the 'most depressing day of the year.' The argument is that it coincides with when all the holiday bills fill the mailbox to capacity. It is the equivalent of a financial holiday hangover.

The turn of events of last January has changed the way that I will forever look at Canadian geese. The birds have always been the pesky nuisance of many a park keeper and they occasionally fly in a squawking triangle over the house. But last January 15 they were enough of a force to accidentally fly into the motor of an airliner and take it out of the skies with an emergency landing in the icy waters of the Hudson river. It was immediately dubbed the 'miracle on the Hudson' but after word of the quick thinking pilot and his calm instructions and maneuvers were revealed it seemed as if we should give more credit to Captain Chesley B. Sullenberger III for pulling off a miracle. His response to the situation meant that Flight 1549 became many stories to many people but they all had the same happy ending. It was a miracle that the plane floated but it was the quick thinking and response of Captain Sullenberger that had the plane come to its safe resting spot in the river. 'Mastery of the Hudson' perhaps.

On January 15 of this year the passengers gathered on the anniversary to reconnect and share stories. They sailed out to the very spot where that plane became the common thread in their lives and they toasted each other with champagne and the intentionally ironic choice of Grey Goose. After the events in the Hudson last year the jokes sprouted about ordering 'two shots of Grey Goose and a splash of water.' Now the King of Cocktails, Don DeGroff, has delivered 'The Sully' in a recipe in The New York Times which is essentially a Manhattan with a float of champagne on top. Someone chartered a small plane to fly over the Hudson to mark the anniversary as the passengers celebrated on their boat. Early into the flight though the plane was forced to, wait for it, make an emergency landing in the nearby Staten Island landfill. The banner the plane intended to display read "If you died today would you go to heaven or hell? John 14:16.' Pull out your best shaker and stirrer, mix your self a 'Sully' and ponder that thought.

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