When middle daughter Jeannie wrote, “For grownups, I think that Dec. 26 must be the best day of the year. Ahhhhhhh,” I had to laugh. I have always loved that warm after glow that let me look back on memories of Christmas Day with no more gifts to wrap nor special goodies to prepare. Not that I did not enjoy the fun, the busyness, and gatherings before Christmas, but the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day was always a relaxing and special time to enjoy the lighted tree and holiday visitors, re-read the cards, and cook less with ham and left-over food stuff availble for light meals. This year was typical except we had only local families here on Christmas Day. With fewer aides than we needed during the holidays, I spent more time at Katherine’s house than usual, but I was grateful she was able to be with us on the Day, and I enjoyed their trees and decorations each time I visited there.
Thanks to modern technology, we were able to enjoy Christmas photos of the
Georgia families and
family. Granddaughter Leslie entertained us with Facebook comments and photos
as she and Mike and their dogs Millie and Freeport Sydney
traveled from Freeport onto his parents’ home in
Ohio and back to .
We were thrilled when Vickie and Erin came up from Nashville after
Christmas to visit the Johnson family. Georgia Erin spent a night at the farm and was able to collect
our presents for those families, and Gma Shirley invited us for a delicious
Sunday dinner with them and Vickie’s brothers and families. And, of course, she
sent Katherine a plate when we left there.
As they often have done, the
took off the day after Christmas for
a visit and vacation with Brian’s mother and other family members. This used to
be in northern Taylors Illinois, where Brian grew up,
and then in
for a few years. His mother has now moved
to Arizona to be near Brian’s sister and families, so Brian, Mary Ellen, and
Brianna went to sunny Arizona but had to hurry back a couple of days early to
beat the snow and ice and get the farm machinery bedded safely down. Since grandson Florida Trenton
elected not to go this year, he was our only visitor besides Erin
who came one afternoon between the holidays.
We seldom go out on New Year’s Eve, and I did not even watch the ball come down this year. I was home from Katherine’s getting ready for bed when I heard fireworks somewhere in our neighborhood and knew the new year had arrived. Often I take down decorations on New Year’s Day, but I deliberately made it a lazy day this year. Not really lazy as it was Senior Day at Kroger, and I had suddenly realized that the first Friday in January was in two days—when Women’s Club meets. I don’t usually get to attend but I did make the delayed Christmas luncheon at Jaclyn Hancock’s after the scheduled one was snowed-out. And it was announced that a friend and I were to do the refreshments in January. Well, it was time to think about that!
So I got out my recipe books and ancient recipe collection in two big file boxes—one box dates back to when it was a debate file box in college. Those recipes—some in my mother’s hand writing and some in Katherine’s when she could still write—have many memories. I don’t do much cooking anymore, but I enjoyed the musing and decided on Laura’s Chocolate Cake. (Mother’s neighbor Laura in Goreville had brought it probably when my father died in1983. We had all liked it, and Laura shared the recipe, which is much like Texas Cake and fills a cookie sheet. I picked up ingredients for a cheese ball and some extra goodies at Kroger before I had a chance to contact my friend. She brought some more dips and chips, and another club member unexpectedly decided to bring a delicious plate of Christmas cookies, mixed nuts, and no-sugar peanut brittle, so we had a table full to delay everyone’s diet plans. I was so glad I attended because the program was excellent. The therapist for a non-profit group dedicated to wounded veterans and often also suffering with PTSD presented along with a veteran and his dog. I wish I had taken notes because their successful work, which brought tears to our eyes, was worthy of a separate blog.
Yesterday I was carrying the meeting stuff in from the car and realized the first Senior shopping day and club meeting are already over for this year, and the time of new beginnings is well underway.
It was raining when I left Katherine’s long after midnight last night, and the temperature was still hovering above freezing when we woke this morning. Roads were wet but fine. Although the pastor mentioned the snow was already coming down in
and headed our way, Gerald took us into town for lunch since we have gift cards
at local restaurants from Gerry and Vickie. We called the Taylors to see if
they could meet us, but when Mary Ellen did not answer, we figured they were
resting up from the long drive home and all of yesterday’s work once they got
home. Before we arrived in town, the
temperature had dropped and we knew the rain on the roads would soon freeze. As we were finishing our meal, I looked up to
see Brianna and then her parents. They
had been in another part of the dining room and had just finished a meal with
their gift card. They joined us at our
table and we had a fun visit while we all nervously watched the windows seeing
the heavy snow now coming down. We drove
cautiously home, and are warm and grateful to be here on the Eve of Old
Christmas. I lit the lights on the
upstairs tree one more time since I haven’t begun to undress it yet. St. Louis
Tomorrow will be the Epiphany (celebrated on other dates in some places) or the twelfth day of Christmas in honor of the visit by the three wise men to the infant Jesus. Jesse Stuart wrote of Old Christmas on this day, based on the Julian calendar, which the
settlers brought with them from . Some used this date for the holiday well into
the last century. I like thinking of
these early folks’ satisfaction of cutting a cedar from their farm to fill
their cabin with pleasing aroma and their thrill at receiving an apple or
orange and perhaps hard candy in their stockings. I once had an older student write how their
family went into the woods each fall and gathered silk pods and other of
nature’s ornaments to decorate their tree.
It is good to look back as we also look forward to what the year ahead
may offer us. England