Whichever holiday you most enjoy, I believe only Christmas seems to linger on and has an after-life. Valentine’s Day could be any day of any month, and should be, with candy and flowers. We no longer honor Presidents Lincoln (22) and Washington (12) on separate February dates [or was it the other way around?] The Fourth of July annually revs up patriotic juices, but the fifth is just another 24-hour cycle that smells of burnt powder. Do you really acknowledge Armistice Day? To me Labor Day and Hallowe’en are useless, but what do I know? It would be blasphemy to degrade Mothers and Fathers Days, and I never will, but did you know there is a Grandparents Day?

I believe Spain, France and Italy are countries that celebrate the most holidays; you see where all that celebrating got them, and the Euros. (In our little world, Dec. 7 is slowly being forgotten, thank goodness.)

Only Christmas seems to have an aftermath. There is crumpled wrapping paper with ribbons and tinsel strewn about as reminders of the day before. The tree will probably retain its position, even as the needles drop and January arrives. I do not miss ham and yam but holiday carols are great – for two weeks. I scarf up red and green cookies while looking at greeting cards that feature family pics.

New Year’s Eve continues to lose its glitter and gloss (and Japanese meshi) as the years pass, as have football bowl games that I no longer follow.

CR2S’s only Xmas hangover this year is worrying about an appropriate after-Yule column; a message of hope, love and goodwill to all.  Ho ho ho and all that holiday jazz seems a bit out of reach tonight. Never mistaken as a Santa Claus type to begin with [an elf, maybe, or Rudolph], perhaps I should ask for your indulgence (and compassion) and simply riff, ponder and muse, hoping next year will be an epiphany of the first order. 2013!  Can you imagine?

I’m guessing I can’t go wrong giving you all an “O” update, a rundown of the O-bah-keh’s recent comings and goings. First off, I’m pleased to announce they have not vanished into a netherworld; but they have become periodic and only occasional visitors after a string of almost daily visitations.

The last tapping was Christmas Eve. It sounded so hesitant and cautious, I couldn’t believe it was a holiday greeting. But it was thought-provoking because of its 12:34 a.m. timing; the earliest hour ever recorded. Prior to that was a Friday 3:15 a.m. interlude; somewhat of a mild surprise since there had been a four-day lull after a double visit on Monday, the 17th, at 1:09 and 5:47. That last knocking was the latest hour ever recorded.

So we had the earliest and latest times within the same week, whatever significance that might be. A tally shows there have been ten tappings this month, the least since they began in March.

So, although the visitations have tapered off, they haven’t disappeared completely as at first feared. What to make of the diminishing tap-tap-taps is a question joining the original duo of what & why. Mind-boggling is still the byword trying to figure out what brought about the first appearance and continuation since March. The only insight I can give you is just as it was when it all started – befuddlement. A noticeable difference this month is the knocks have all been very soft, not loud or intrusive bangs. You figure. I have.

While mulling over the strange goings-on that have now reached the 10-month mark, my mind has reached for all manner of explanation and possibility. The episode in Las Vegas still intrigues, as do the strange antics of my television set and frozen refrigerator. The three taps on the shoulder still reverberate.

Now my far-reaching mental gyrations are at the point where I’m beginning to believe the semi-humorous creation of Haruko O-bah-keh, the female half of the CR2S-created ethereal duo, has taken on human form! Color me crazy if you so choose [black and blue, yellow and read (sic)], but I’m beginning to believe someone I recently met is Haruko O incarnate! No, no, no.  Let’s not jump to conclusions, folks, I’m not inferring anything angelic or seraphic. Let’s just call the happening perplexing, for now.

It’s no secret I don’t make a practice of meeting [new] people very often, or graciously, especially of opposite gender. So when someone mysteriously arrives on the scene, I’m ripe to be cynical and questioning. A logical daily double. When she’s friendly, attractive and young,  that’s a round-robin trifecta!

I mean, hey, who says a spiritual being can’t be transformed into a human identity? Or a wannabe rake becoming one? Which isn’t to infer anything, people, so let’s all calm down. (Me, too.) All I’m saying is my investigative mien has taken a different tack: Now I’m looking at the possibility my life has been physically invaded and Haruko O, in whatever form, is somehow a part of it.

To be continued.  For sure.

 W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached at Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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