You lock the front door. You have left your house on a morning in December. There have been preparations because you are walking away from a lot — a basket of greeting cards, strings of lights that you made sure to unplug, a back room where wrapping paper and tape and ribbon and scissors may well have been used the night before.
Until fifteen years ago the morning in December would have been a few days before Christmas, the destination a family home — either my own or a partner’s. With 2004 and the passing of the last of the parents, with 2005 and the devastation of Katrina, the routines of the holidays began to change.
A couple of weeks ago I decided on an impulse to plan a trip back to my hometown of New Orleans. The fares I found favored what I wanted — two or three days walking through old neighborhoods with a husband who had never seen New Orleans. And then back to our own home in Boston with a few days remaining before Christmas Day.
No guidebook will be needed. I am guessing that I will have the answers to the most important questions that my husband could ask as we make our way down block after familiar block.