Merry Christmas from New Palin!!!

The missus and I both hope that this greeting finds you well.   I must be – well hell, I am – getting old when I succumb to writing a holiday newsletter.  I swore I would never do such a thing.  They’re always such a pain in the kiester – people always go on about how perfect their year was and all that. Phooey!  That’s what I say, but the missus just laughs and tells me to hurry up and get it written.  

Well, I guess if she can dust the dome I can be the family scribe eh? 

Many of you back on Earth wonder what the holidays can possibly be like on Mars.  Well let me share with you what the past couple of weeks have been like up here.  Thanksgiving is the big big big holiday here at New Palin, you know.  The admins love an opportunity to reflect on themes like pilgrims and thankfulness and so on.  They do try to do it up, but there is only so much one can do with freeze-dried soy turkey.

Not that we’re not thankful.  We ARE, trust me.  

The tomatoes are still doing great – in spite of the low sunlight, which is nothing like we left in Illinois (Must be that red red soil?).  Anyway, even a freeze dried Thanksgiving tastes pretty good after weeks of stewed tomatoes.  We do feel like the pilgrims.  Old pilgrims, but I told the missus she’d make a mighty handsome Pocahontas. 

Anyway,  lately the admins encourage us to use the word Christmas all the time now in all our communications.   The word holiday is kind of verboten  – if you get my drift – and they keep an eye on our email and such,  you know.  Now…. you know the missus and I were never too big on religion.  We were always pretty open minded about all of that.  Tolerant.  And honestly, back on Earth if it was a sunny Sunday we figured if we were looking hard enough we could find God out in the garden – or on our bicycles for that matter!

Up here in New Palin we can surely relate to those pilgrims.  After the Garden Committee meeting Frank spoke up about all this Christmas vs. holiday rig-a-ma-role.  Didn’t the pilgrims come to America for religious freedom?  And isn’t New Palin an American colony, after all?  What gives?   But the admins closed up the garden dome and shooed us home.   I guess it was getting late, and they have lives, too.

The other night they had a Christmas Pageant at the main dome, you know, to kind of get us in the mood.  It was festive enough I reckon, but sight of all us old coots dressed up like shepherds in the nativity scenes sure made one wistful for Earth.  Retroviruses and rising seas be darned, I say!   We got no one under age 70 here, so Baby Jesus was played by an inflatable doll in the manger, and he didn’t look at all, hmmm, Mediterranean, if you get my drift.  Our little plastic Savior was blond hair and blue eyed. Hell – mighta even been a girl doll for all I know!

After the Pageant, some of us went over to the cinema for movie night.   They were showing “It’s A Wonderful Life”.   The missus knows a lot about movies, and this has never been a big favorite of hers.   She says it’s too manipulative, and I can’t argue.  But I do like that angel named Clarence – that was my grandfather’s name and he was a sweet man. 

Even if they ain’t real I do like the idea of angels.

All in all, Christmas here at New Palin is okay.  But this dust is everywhere.  Bless her, the missus has a thing about dust!   She just can’t abide it, and the poor woman is always chasing behind that swiffer thingy in the dome.  I guess we’ve traded that snow and sleet for a film of red dust.  And they have a couple of artificial trees outside the central dome with red white and blue blinky lights.   Don’t that beat all?    

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I have been a horticulturist for thirty years working in the Chicago area and beyond. I have lived in Oak Park for over thirteen years. My writing has recently appeared in the journal Ecological Restoration...