Updated: May 27
This photo is a representation of the holiday season for me. I had my first Irish coffee in Shreveport, Louisiana in December 1994 when I met, thanks to Wills, Di (Dizee) & Keith Levine
As with Thanksgiving, I have created around me traditions which satisfy my need for community and festivity in this holiday season. One of these, is the Irish coffee, seen above with a “D” inscribed in chocolate, this tradition is a tribute to my dear friend Diana Levine.
The first time Claudio and I went to visit Di & Keith it was during the holidays and the deal was sealed, for us both Irish coffee became the sign that it was winter holiday season. A few years after that I found the exact glasses Di uses, with the lines for proportion, in a charity shop and I bought all they had. Now it has become one of our holiday rituals, a tradition that we share.
The symbolism of making, sharing, and drinking an Irish coffee represent for me beloved ones and happy memories and remind me that creating traditions can be liberating. Evidenced by all the threads of my writing, food and drink are more than physical sustenance for me, they are emotional and spiritual nurturing too. A single beverage, Irish coffee, brings to my heart and mind a sense of community in a deep and meaningful way, equally fun and spontaneous. The intimacy of friendship which encourages spontaneity, collaboration, the very flow of life.
Dizee embodies all of these qualities, and this post is dedicated to her for her unending kindness and generosity, her patience and her grace. Irish coffee, and the glasses in which it is served, is my time to visit with her, to remember the ease and joy that characterize our friendship. For a long time, Di & Keith were my home base, and it is to them we went to have our whirlwind wedding planned in 3 days with total ease – Di is the mistress of planning, with flair and peals of laughter we pulled it all off as we have many capers over our more than 20 years of friendship.
The IWCL Christmas dinner was my only holiday event for the first few years I lived in Switzerland and the special women who populate this part of my world are nearly all featured here.
Top left Carolyn Buckley and I in our glad rags, middle left Mary Jazayeri & I; bottom left Esra, a hare with the amber eyes, & I; next the yearly photo of Eva & Joanne; bottom middle Christine, Elisabeth, & I the year we shared the IWCL board leadership; bottom right myself, Joanne, Eva, and Elisabeth.
IWCL Christmas dinner 2018, where I took the chance to take close ups of some of the ladies; center the group by the tree; top left Christine and I near the fireplace and tree; next Joanne and I sparkle at table; next yearly photo of Eva & Joanne; portraits Yvonne, Elisabeth, Joanne, Donatella.
Over the years various private and shared traditions have made their way into my holiday cheer.
Center new year in the piazza at Morcote with the Lanza’s and Francesca (our French connection); top left Claudio & I celebrating with friends in style; middle dense hot chocolate at AlPorto with Diana Atwani; bottom left my yearly visit to the center of Milan for the splendor of the lights and cheer; next nuts for friends populated with special ornaments Joanne gifts us each year; next visiting in spirit with Josef & Natasha; far right a solitary Turkish coffee with a Christmas pastry.
This final photo is a tribute to my Dad, his own Christmas traditions. He was a sworn grinch (left) and his Charlie Brown tree (right) was his only other Christmas concession.
While my father pretended at Grinch, he and my mother always made Christmas special. I recall one year I was quite ill and they put up the tree in the middle of the night so when I woke up it would cheer me. And while every year he hung the grinch (the very one pictured) on the front door, he is the one who taught me to give selflessly at Christmas, to enjoy the giving more than the credit received. One year I was so gleeful saying which presents I had chosen, and he quietly reminded me, “it is not important who chose what, it is important to give.” It seems I even miss my Grinch at Christmas.
To all the angels who have shared the holiday season with me over the years far and wide, it is the memories of you and those times together which enrich my present and carry me into the future. Some of you are represented here, and whether pictured or not, each holiday season is a special chance to visit.
Cheers to 2019!