“Attic Salt” column for Dec. 23, 2012

Computer screen wallpaper is an everyman art gallery, a focal point for swivel chair meditation.

These December mornings when I turn on my computer, I’m greeted by a snowy scene of small snow-covered trees dwarfed by massive, dark conifers that rise behind the little trees.

There are Adirondack-style chairs in the foreground, their seats and arm rests piled high with snow. A child’s red wagon stands up to its wheel tops in snow, the bed of the wagon heaped high with snow.

Behind the chairs and wagon, at the base of the massive rise of dark trees, there is a travel trailer with two, small lighted windows.

I have amused myself these December mornings wondering what’s going on in the trailer.

This has been one of those neutral run-ups to Christmas. A few days before Christmas, and I’ve yet to buy a present. It doesn’t bother me.

This is the last year that we’ll give presents to anyone but the grandchildren. I’ll shop for my wife. She’ll shop for me. A weight has been lifted from Christmas.

This Christmas, I’ve tried to get out more, to go places I’m not writing about.

The Foundation for Historical Louisiana and some downtown residents provided a pleasant evening of looking at residences in the old business district and downtown neighborhoods.

A friend and I took in a couple of concerts at the Manship Theatre in the Shaw Center, across the street from the Old State Capitol. It’s a lovely setting for a night out, and the Manship is a great place to listen to music.

“Cool Winter Nights and Hot Jazz” played to an almost packed house Dec. 11 at the Manship.

The LSU music school’s Brian Shaw, trumpet; Willis Delony, piano, and Bill Grimes, bass, with some fine musicians joining them, paid tribute to Dave Brubeck before sailing into the Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker Suite.”

Familiar parts of “The Nutcracker” became “Toot Toot Tootie Toot,” “Danse of the Floreadores,” “Sugar Rum Cherry” and “Peanut Brittle Brigade.”

Guest vocalist Father Greg Daigle, of Lakeland, and the Cool Winter Nights Big Band were the rum in the jazz toddy.

“Cool Winter Nights and Hot Jazz” starts, I hope, a tradition set by Grimes and company’s popular “Hot Summer Nights and Cool Jazz,” both concerts reminders that LSU’s School of Music is one of the country’s best.

The more I study my PC’s wallpaper the more detail I discover. I made out a house through the wall of conifers and snow-covered tables in a backyard.

The yellow lighted windows in the house trailer glowed warmer. I imagined the people who live in the house taking a break from the holidays in the trailer to read, listen to music and wrap Christmas presents.

Feel free to make up your own story.

Merry Christmas.