So many folks must have used the weekend to put up Christmas trees and holiday lights, and I am grateful as I am enjoying all I see. I was in the mall yesterday to pick up my new glasses and enjoyed the decorations there as well as on homes to and from town. Today I had a brief dental appointment in Carbondale, and the dentist's reception area was so beautiful that I almost wished they had been delayed in seeing me. Recently redecorated, the room's blue and silver color scheme was magical with a silver tree and blue and silver ornamentation added all around. A few scattered brown natural pine cones was the perfect touch on the tree.
Before the dental appointment, Gerald and I recycled a trunk load of cans, plastic, newspapers, glass, catalogs, and cardboard. (I have been recycling magazines to other readers.) Then Gerald treated me to the Chinese restaurant for lunch before my appointment. With its presentation of rows and rows of food, I find the variety amazing as well as delicious. So much food that can only be described as pretty is a visual delight. We enjoyed seeing a young college-age couple opposite our booth laughing at each other and using chopsticks. Another family with two young children finished, and the little girl saw us watching her and consciously smiled and carried on a bit to charm us. Two retirement-age couples were in the booth next to us and were obviously enjoying their visit as well as their food. Many in the restaurant were dressed in work clothing and on their lunch hour. The guests and the staff were multi-cultural and as varied as the food. I had to rejoice again that we live in a nation with such abundance for so many of us ordinary people.
I remember growing up that a restaurant meal was seldom enjoyed by working class families. Even when we traveled, we often stopped at a grocery store and bought bread and bologna for the day's lunch. It was good, and it was fun. Occasionally someone might take me to lunch, such as when my best friend Lynn and I sold poppies on the streets in Anna because her grandparents were active in veterans' affairs. The Dillows always treated Lynn and me to lunch at the Anna Cafe, where side dishes were served in little bowls I thought were so cool. Menus were foreign enough to some of us that we would order, “The same.” Now many families can afford to eat out so often that mothers wanting more control over nutrition have to limit that.
I know there are many hungry in our nation, but with school breakfasts and lunches, soup kitchens, senior meals on wheels, and weekend sacks of food given for many needy families, we do not have a great problem of starvation, and I am grateful. (Anything we can do either by friendship or government to help families function better will help eliminate child hunger. Jobs are important, but often it is addictions and untreated depression more than lack of money that keeps children from being fed properly.)
After an errand and the dentist appointment, we headed down the highway south to visit Gerald's brother Keith and wife Barbara at their farm. The highway had just finished being reconstructed, and again I knew how fortunate we were to live with such magnificent roads. And when we left the highway and went onto country roads, there was no fear of the car getting stuck in the mud,which happened on rural roads in my childhood.
At the farm, three beautiful kittens came to greet us as we approached the door; and as always, Hash (Keith's constant companion) welcomed us with a bark when we went inside. Their granddaughter Amanda was there helping Barbara, and their great granddaughter Cammie (not sure how they spell that) greeted us with an adorable smile. Four fingers held up on her little hand made me realize how long it had been since I had seen her as a baby once at a family gathering. We visited and enjoyed looking at the pretty Christmas tree Amanda had helped Barb put in the living room window. As we left after our goodbyes, I got to talk to the kittens again.
After a couple errand stops in Marion and a brief visit at Katherine's, we headed home through the country. Sometimes Gerald takes the highway, but he was willing to go that way to satisfy my request that we take the time to go off the old Creal Springs Road and head up Cherry Valley Road to see the annual light display out in the middle of that rural area. Last year I kept seeing it at a distant and thinking I would have time to run up Cherry Valley, and suddenly the season was over and I had failed to get a close-up view. Their display has always been spectacular, and it is easily seen from a distance, but one needs to go and stop there and gawk as long as possible. You will only see part of it even then. It can only be described as fantastic. I really think everything is mostly new this year; but since I did not visit last year, maybe that was when so much more was added. There is a sign I had not seen in past years saying the hours were from 5 till 10 each evening except Saturday and Sunday then the lights go off at 11. The sign told me the family name: Yost. I have always wanted to meet these generous people and hear the story of how this enormous family project was started and what keeps them going. How young are they to be able to put up all these lights and other decorations? Where do they store all this between Christmases? The family certainly ended our day with pleasure, and once again I was grateful.
Going to the dentist during the beginning of the Christmas season made for a fun day. There are no Christmas decorations up at Woodsong yet, although this morning I did carry in the pumpkin/squash autumn display from beside our front door. Now I will need to cook those decorations and start getting down Christmas boxes.