Sunday, December 25, 2011

thin on plot

It’s morning and I am downstairs arranging in my head the order of operations. Get started on the almond polenta orange cake, then proceed to the spinach and mushroom frittata. I hear Ed come down. He picks up a book my girl and I left last night on the coffee table – Lucy and Tom’s Christmas. A child’s book. British author. It it traces the life of these two kids in England on Christmas Day.

He reads it through and says – pretty thin on plot.

I love that he was expecting better. (Even as I think there is not a book out there that evokes the holidays as well as this one does.)


The past twenty four hours are already a blur, a memory. Late last night, our usual beef fondue around my daughter’s table...

DSC01918 - Version 2

...I throw together Grand Marnier soufflĂ©s for dessert because they’re fast and light. And no one ever complains if you put before them a small soufflĂ©.


This morning, my kids are at the farmhouse for breakfast.



And then they’re off to Chicago and I am left with Ed, the person who can’t quite figure out why we all fuss about Christmas traditions.

We take a walk, crisscrossing fields that look washed out in the bright December light.


Sometimes we cut into forests until the brush is becomes too thick and there is no good way to proceed. We spook wild turkeys – a whole bunch of them. Have you ever had a wild turkey take flight just in front of you? They’re loud.


Yes, we’re not far from the city. The break from town to field is quite abrupt here. From a hilltop, you see Madison. But from most every other vantage point, you see farmland.


A herd of deer is spooked as well by our presence. But they’re fast. By the time I reach for my camera, the last one saunters into the bush and disappears.


We take the road home. I tell Ed about my phone call to my mother in California, about fragments of last night that I’d forgotten before. The sun is low by the time we turn into our long driveway, hardened by many hours of frost.

We toss around the idea of getting take-out Chinese for supper. But in the end I cook. Chili. In a rare move, I open a good bottle of wine. We watch a movie about a school with a challenging immigrant population in France.

And so the holiday ends. I hope it ends well for you. I hope it was a good series of days. I hope you were with people you care about and who care about you as well. I hope you had a chance to feel, even if for a brief moment, merry.