Friday, December 03, 2010

That Time of Year

Driving home from Katherine’s on Sunday night, I took my preferred route—through the country roads rather than the highway. What to my wondering eyes should appear but the brilliant glow of the two houses on Cherry Valley Lane that celebrate Christmas with spectacular light displays. I only discovered this elaborate display a couple of years ago, but now enjoying it is part of my personal Christmas tradition.

Usually rural displays are somewhat modest, but these two side-by-side houses go all out with front and back yards aglow with fantastic assortments of decorative accessories and scenes. I was in a hurry to get home and fix Gerald a bite of supper, so I did not turn off the Creal Springs Road to drive up Cherry Valley, but I enjoyed the bright colors and the anticipation of making that extra loop while going home in the future. I really want to know who these generous folks are that light up the countryside each year.
I had already gotten my first Christmas card the day after Thanksgiving. I was expecting it. Valerie, my cousin Jack’s widow, makes a point to get her cards out this early every year. I am still not sure if I have any cards bought ahead, and I know it is time to write my annual Christmas letter.

I have just a few presents picked up ahead of time during the past year, but felt rather smug about those few. Then someone on Facebook wrote that they had their tree up and decorated and all their shopping done and presents wrapped. That made me nervous and left me feeling way behind. I am still straightening up and putting away from our Thanksgiving celebration.

Last night I made my first Christmas cookies—something I don’t indulge in to the extent that I did in the “old days” when our children were small and we gave them for their teacher/leader gifts. But I am supposed to go to my first Christmas party this afternoon with the Woman’s Club, and the inviting letter said to bring home-made cookies. I missed the last meeting, but I think these cookies are for some sort of in-club bake sale.

Gerry and Vickie have pecan trees in the backyard of their Georgia home, and they have enjoyed gathering and sharing their harvest. They brought me two containers of beautiful huge shelled pecans for my birthday—probably about fifty dollars worth if I were to buy them from the store. So I liked being able to use those in the Russian Tea Cakes I made last night. One of my favorite cookie recipes in the Betty Crocker cookbook, this cookie shows up with slightly different ingredients and other names in other cookbooks. Rich and not too sweet, the little white snow balls make a pretty accent on cookie trays with other kinds of cookies. I really am not fond of cooking for bake sales where products are supposed to be “nice.” I do not have the patience to make all my little cookie balls the same size nor fuss with them. I like feeding people and do a lot of that, but I am not a very good cook. However, hungry people don’t pay much attention to that.

I bought our Christmas ham at senior citizens’ day at the grocery yesterday, and I’ve started thinking of a menu that will not be a repeat of Thanksgiving although dressing, friend okra, and cranberry sauce will be expected.

When I get the house back in order from last week, I will quickly mess it up again getting out the artificial trees, which always shed when being assembled. Boxes of decorations will come down from high closet shelves. For a few days we will be living in chaos, but eventually Christmas memories will surface with the appearance of the accumulation of candles, manager scenes, Santa novelties, and lovely flower arrangements given to me in years past.

No comments: