The morning we left for home we got up in our hotel at Heathrow before 5 in the morning. What with the packing, returning the rental car and getting to the airport, we were down in the lobby before 6. The lobby was full of people who were still drinking, there were beer bottles everywhere and people crashed on the couches. It looked like the party had gone on way too, way too long.
One woman, wearing a dress that was probably beautiful worn in the evening but now, in the harsh morning light, simply looked cheap got up and stumbled over to another table where there was a half full beer bottle. She picked it up and continued drinking.
Even to me, who has been known to party, this seemed on the pathetic side of 'PAR ... ty!!" Others were waiting for the Hotel Hopper that shuttles from hotels to airport as I was waiting for Joe to finish loading the car. I started to chat to a guy who was wearing a Canadian flag on his shoulder and it turned out we were both alumni from the University of Victoria - though he graduated in law and though he gradulated in a different century. I saw his eye caught by a guy who works at the hotel coming out of the staff area. I wondered what his reaction would be, I've seen this guy before - he's got Down Syndrome and he works at keeping the lobby clean.
He takes the job seriously.
He rounded the corner and saw the people sprawled about and the beer bottles littered everywhere. He covered his face with his hands and shook his head. Then he pulled his cart dutifully and as he passed us, I said, "Going to be a busy day."
Looking over at me he smiled and sang, "So This is Christmas ..."
We all burst out laughing.
I thought of all this while we were sitting home last night, in front of the Christmas tree, eating and chatting. Mike was up visiting with baby Ruby and she was having a wale of a time running round the house picking up things, throwing them to the floor. Then, tiring, she crawled up onto the chair and gazed at the lights and listened to us talk and laugh.
And I thought ... "So This is Christmas ..."