Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas Day

I wake up in the same way as I went to sleep: utterly content. Oh, there is a lot of tidying up that needs to be done this morning, and I know, too, that we are entering a deep Arctic blast, but still, the day is mostly sunny and the light snow cheered up the landscape and, well, it's Christmas.

For me, the heart of the holiday was in our gathering last night. Today, the young families will be traveling to Chicago and Ed an I will settle into our new-ish couch and I will reflect and he will ask -- what you're doing gorgeous ? -- words that he uses to express his own contentment.

Because it is very cold, I start the day with cheeper care. The two new girls -- Apple and Peach -- were born last March. This is their first winter and they are both puzzled and distressed by it.

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Java and Henny (the old timers)  navigate the stretch from barn to garage (to check out if any people folk are out and about) knowingly and without hesitation. The two new hens on the other hand, are unfamiliar with snow and indeed, both get stuck. I rescue one and nudge the other forward and then spread out food in the barn fir all. I have to smile at this sudden status that Java and Henny have achieved -- they are the wise old girls, the same ones that Apple likes to occasionally push around. The old folk still have a thing or two to teach the new kids on the block!

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(It is a beautiful morning...)

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Ed and I have breakfast in the front room. The brioche, purchased at La Baguette, is perfect with jam and a mug of warm coffee.

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I cut off a chunk of brioche and then hurry over to Snowdrop's home. The young family celebrated their own Christmas gift giving, but asked if I might stop by before they head out on their road trip.

Of course! Snowdrop is 99% better and she is delighted to show me some of her favorite toys.

Predictably, she starts off with this doll.  She had said definitively that Santa was bringing her a little girl doll and though she doesn't fully embrace the whole Santa bit, she does speak of him in the same fond way as she speaks of her pretend babies and favorite story book characters.

He delivered.

Here she is, with her new beloved.

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She is much overjoyed, too with a doctor's paraphernalia. Her doll, her Gaga -- we all get our hearts listened to.

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I play with her a little and then read a very long book together (with a timed release photo!)...

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Her mom asks if I can stay for lunch and of course, this is justso lovely (a warm bready, eggy, cheese dish that just fits the bill on this cold day)...

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(And yes, Snowdrop, predictably, does like brioche, especially with a slab of local strawberry jam.)

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(What do you want to take with you for the car ride to Chicago? -- I ask her.  Airplanes!)

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They're off.

I return home.

And minutes later Ed asks -- want to go for a walk?

I almost say no. It's 9F (-13C) and I have received more than one weather alert calling for gusty winds that will, by evening, make it feel like -30F (-34C) out there.

But in the end, I do go out -- for a very brisk and yes, very cold walk in our local county park. Mustn't grow soft!

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Decked in warm flannel, wooly socks and a wide and comforting scarf (all Christmas gifts from daughters), I do not mind the cold. The sun will make any day beautiful.

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(But you would not get me to sit out on the middle of the lake today. No, not unless there would be a warm fire burning in the little ice fishing hut. The geese don't appear to mind the cold that sweeps across the lake, but I am not a goose.)

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One last look at the great midwestern sky, at sunset, just to the east of us...

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And then Ed and I call in a food order. If we ever could find a Chinese restaurant in town that we both liked, we'd be picking up food there tonight. Yes, we are those people: if there's no family around us, Chinese on Christmas is just fine!

But we're not fans of what's out there and so we order take-out Thai. We have a favorite place and our order is always the same, and perhaps we should vary it a little as it is, after all, Christmas, but we don't mess with favorites. I guess the only unusual thing about this dinner is that I have with it delicious wines, since I was the only one drinking any notable amount of wine last night. One son-in-law really does prefer beer, the other humored me and joined in on the wine, but as he was driving, he kept it down to a small glass and of course, both daughters were drinking a ton -- of Martinelli's Organic Sparkling Cider -- a drink that they've sipped at holiday meals since they were very young! And so there are beautiful wines that have barely been touched and they keep me company tonight.

(Thai food, eaten... informally.)

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Let me take this last minute of Christmas Day to say thank you. You've posted comments, sent sweet parcels, written emails (all in the space of this past month!) -- in general, in your own way, you'e shared your lives. I'm inspired by your generosity of heart. Group hug!

with love,