Sunday, December 31, 2017

A Christmas Letter

--> Ray and I spent Christmas at home this year, as we have since Mom retired and moved up north from Big City to Little Town. The West River kids & grandkids opted to stay home and have a cozy, quiet Christmas in the Hills this year (cowards!), and our oldest son in the Big, Big City had to work, so Christmas in Little Town was Mom; Ray and me; daughter, sweetheart, and two grandkids; and youngest son and grandkid. Two friends who had no family in Little Town this year joined us for dinner.
Speed Distribution


A Shimmer & Shine Christmas


Opening presents with two four-year-olds and an eight-year-old is like waiting until the cyclone is on your front porch, then opening all the doors and windows. The eight-year-old can read name tags and had already eaten a dozen Christmas cookies, so the whole process of distribution and unwrapping took about 30 seconds. When it was over, the adults were on the periphery of the room, unblinking and slack-jawed, and no one could move for oh, at least an hour, while one brave adult collected small, pointy toy accessories and storm debris (wrapping paper). I can’t imagine Christmas without small children, so I suppose if we ever get to the point where we’re all grownups, I’ll have to rent some toddlers for the day.

Yes, we ALL pressed our faces into this thing.

Because plains people, especially with winter setting in, are obsessed with food, leftovers, and well-stocked larders, I’ll give you our menu, which was potluckish: oyster stew, pork roast cooked in the crockpot on a bed of apples, maple-roasted sweet potatoes, son-in-love’s famous garlic-mashed potatoes, traditional green bean casserole now traditionally prepared by daughter, daughter’s gingersnaps (made with bacon grease…o the rapture!) dipped in her homemade cheesecake ganache, and apple pie. And Spritz cookies, of course. And Bailey’s & eggnog (don’t judge). There are always enough leftovers to send a couple days’ worth of food home with the kids, because as every good Midwesterner is taught from birth, food = love (this prairie programming is why I’ll be eating celery and boiled fish—again—starting in the New Year).


The stylist works her magic.

Ray had to go right back to work the day after Christmas. I’m on holiday break from Little Town U., and the outside temp has ranged between -20 and today’s balmy -14, so Mom and I have spent the past couple days knitting and watching documentaries (CNN avoidance therapy). My addled brain is now replete with factoids about orcas, dog behavior, cat intelligence, Auschwitz survivors, sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, twins raised apart since birth, bird brains, and jaguars (the cat, not the car). I’ve finished a knitted hat and am now well into a matching poncho.


Love from the Borg. You will join us.

So merry Christmas to you all! Ray and I wish you all a new year full of possibilities, renewed faith in humankind, decent healthcare, love & compassion for both friends & “enemies,” and most of all peace, not as an abstract concept, but as the real and lasting result of our collective human effort. And lots of Bailey’s and eggnog (don’t judge).