Meandering Thoughts

Meandering Thoughts

Friday, December 21, 2012

I Live With Santa

My wonderful hubby looks like Santa.  He has the most beautiful white beard and moustache.  When he puts on a Santa hat, everyone comments.  Being a man with an easy smile and a true gift of gab, he will certainly visit with you if just say "hello".

We have often been places that little children point and try to alert their parents that Santa is eating at the table nearby.  I have been witness to waitresses flirting and people smile when he walks past them.  He has the most fun wearing his Santa hat and driving his old model A Ford Truck and going through Tim Horton's drive through.  I wonder though, is he playing a part or have I watched waaaay too many Christmas Hallmark movies!!!!

As I look back on the years, I have to wonder exactly what he does with all his time since retirement.  He might actually have a workshop in our other barn.  I have never really snooped through that barn, it's usually too messy.  And yet, I remember how shocked he was one day when I just "happened" to open the doors while he was in there working.  Nothing looked especially different......, but then I didn't check the "back room".

Now I am seriously wondering about his trip to Florida in December for the last three years.  He is supposedly "helping a friend drive to Florida".  He then spends the next ten days doing exactly what?   I don't really know.  He tells me that he is getting a little R&R, relaxing at the pool, going to a car show, kayaking in the gulf, checking out the Harley shops and enjoying time with his friend.  I have to wonder about all of this, there are no pictures, no real evidence to prove he is in Florida!!!!

Meanwhile, I am at home.  Taking care of elderly dogs, Christmas shopping, wrapping gifts, planning Christmas dinner with the kids, checking and re-checking my lists, making sure packages are mailed to far off places, creating and writing Christmas cards and even trying not to make a mess of the house!!!  And  I ask, who is the real Santa?????

Mr. Claus is due back from his ten day trip today.  I am rushing around, picking up the house, chasing porch cushions that blew away last night from the mighty winter wind, running snacks to Village Artisans open house this evening, bring in the trash cans from the curb, trying to finish the last minute handmade gifts in the studio and all before I have to pick him up at the airport this afternoon. 

I hope he is well rested for his journey on Christmas Eve.  I'm not quite sure how he does that, he is always snoring away when I finally finish the morning homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast and climb into bed.   I might just keep an eye open this year and make sure he isn't secretly leaving after I've fallen asleep.  Oh heck, who cares, I'm worn out and need my sleep............

Merry Christmas friends!  Remember it isn't the gifts, it's family near and far and the love they share every day.  Blessings and Joy and Love to you all!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas Traditions

As time moves along, changes in traditions occur.  The changes don't come easily, I guess it wouldn't be a tradition if it kept changing too quickly. 

In times past (when our children were small), Christmas day was a whirlwind of rushing.  The day ended with total exhaustion and normally sweet children were upset and melting down quickly. 

Our children were always up at the break of dawn to see if Santa had come.  (We their parents, often didn't get to bed much before 1am.) Gifts were torn open with excitement from under our tree and breakfast, usually homemade sweet rolls, were eaten.  We then headed to my Mom and Dads, more gifts.  Then we would all rush off to Springfield and be with my Grandmother for Christmas dinner and more gifts.  Late afternoon/evening we headed to my wonderful husbands mothers house for another big meal and more gifts.  After 12 hours of gifts, eating and picking up paper, we were CRAZY!

No one ever wanted to change, some of this could have taken place Christmas Eve.  Everyone wanted Christmas Day!   As our children married and started having families, the house began to shrink, we moved to buffet style dining, on paper plates and people sitting at tables placed anywhere possible.  It was difficult to hold a conversation, things seem to be in constant movement.  Those who went through the line first were done and moving to deserts while others were just sitting down to eat their meal.  It was crazy but it worked and I am grateful that we still gather.

Again changes came, after loosing Richard's sister, we decided to just do one holiday gathering, taking the pressure off eating two or three Thanksgiving dinners on Thanksgiving day and the same with Christmas day.  Slowly the girls (our daughters and nieces) were beginning to host the events.  It was nice to see them taking a turn with the family traditions.  This year I decided to jump in and take another turn!

Being the now oldest in the family line, I haven't forgotten the "old" way.  Our parents set the table with their finest china, grace was said, serving dishes were passed around the table.  People talked while the food was being passed, laughter heard at the kids table and everyone was a part of all conversations.  It seemed slower and less hectic with everyone sitting at once.

This year at our house we went back to that tradition.  We had a sit down meal with all the trimmings.  I wanted to honor the china that has been carefully treasured through the years.  I wanted my girls to understand how important this china is to family traditions, mostly because of what it represents to me.  The twelve place setting of white Noritake with a silver band around the edge came as a wedding gift from my birth father, over forty-three years ago and the ten piece flowered place setting came from my husbands wonderful mother in 1989.  Both of these people are no longer with us, but I hope they joined us for a few minutes as we gathered together and remembered them this year in 2012.

Our living room was cleared of extra furniture, the dining room table was moved to the living room.  All eight leaves were put in the old oak table. (I purchased this table at an auction before we married for sixteen dollars.)  I cloaked it with Christmas table cloths, and pulled out the china and cloth napkins.  We also set up another pair of tables and covered them as well.  We had a place for twenty six people to sit together in one room and the Christmas tree was brightly glowing in the background.

A most recent tradition (of at least twenty years) was to cook the turkey donated by our adopted family friend.  This turkey is always the Greene County Fair Grand Champion bird.  I think every year it has gotten bigger.  This year it weighted in at 31.5 lbs!  As you can see by the picture I wasn't totally prepared!  After acquiring the proper size pan, things went more smoothly.

Yes, it is a lot of work, getting ready for a family holiday sit down dinner.  And yes, it was worth every moment.  I have wonderful children and nieces who did the total clean up.  Before the evening was gone and my feet were up, they had everything back in its place and it looked as if nothing of any note had happened.

A few pictures and this blog will allow the memory to live on.  I again feel blessed and gratitude is overflowing.  Merry Christmas to all that shared the table, to all who read my stories and to all of our ancestors who led the way and started our family traditions.