It didn't seem like it was going to begin as a restful and quiet evening. The days this week have been full of proofing, more proofing and much proofing and just when you think you have caught every mistake or spacing problem, someone else highly trained in the art of proofing comes along and finds even more corrections. What we are working on is a good piece and we all desire excellence, but proofing is exhausting work. I leave late and trudge to my car knowing I have a couple of packages to pick up at the office. Nearly everything I packed into work today is stuffed in my ever fashionable Vera Bradly messenger bag for the return trip home. On my way into the office, I stop and pick up the mail and forcibly cram it into the before mentioned Vera Bradley messenger bag. When I finally make it into the office, I am greeted by 4 rather large and cumbersome packages. My suggestion is I come back for them, but the admin totally loads me up with boxes and the encouraging words, I know you can make it. With those good words ringing in my ear, I begin the trip upstairs. Slowly but surely I make it to the door and drop everything. My phone has rang twice and I when I pulled in I told Lisa P I would call as soon as I got inside. One of the boxes is a most generous gift from Gerti and Charlie. It is a heritage apple pie. They are so good, but on an evening when all I am looking for is rest and quiet, unpacking a pie and then rearranging a too small refrigerator wasn't on my to do list. The pie is packed quite nicely and surrounded by packing peanuts. I tried really, really hard to remove the pie without spreading great tidings of packing peanuts all over the kitchen floor. I was not successful in my endeavor, so while trying to talk to Roy, whose day has been about as fun as mine, I am picking up peanuts and throwing them back into the box. Only thing, I must be really strong cause the packing peanuts are crumbling as soon as I touch them. Ya gots to know Buddy is right there "helping" me. Each time I have made a return trip into the kitchen I find myself singing, "found a peanut, found a peanut, found a peanut on the floor....
Speaking of singing, I may not decorate for the holidays, but I certainly will belt out the Christmas standards where ever I find myself. Saturday, I sang Merry Christmas Darling twice as I sat in the play grocery store parking lot. I looked over to my right to see a man sitting in his car with a puzzled look on his face. He probably didn't know if I was in pain or crazy or singing or all three. I reluctantly left my car without finishing the song. I was in Sam's a couple of weeks ago and sang along with some tenor. I wasn't humming, I was singing out loud in my best tenor voice until I noticed people looking at me. Hey, I was in a moment and enjoying Christmas.
I've been thinking about favorite Christmas' of my childhood. There really aren't too many that come to mind that rekindle kindly thoughts, but I always liked it when we went back to Illinois to spend Christmas with the family. The weather was much colder than Houston and sometimes we even had a white Christmas with crunchy snow everywhere. My grandparents had a two story home and the stairs creaked something awful. In my memory I can hear the tired footsteps of my grandparents coming up the stairs to bed and I laid there listening for their arrival when I should have been fast asleep long, long ago. Some of the most memorable times were after dinner and all the adults would go to the living room to visit. How boring we thought. Why would anyone want to sit around and talk when there was so much energy to expend and places to go and things to do. My cousins Becky, Lois and Mark and my brother Doug and I would go upstairs and sit in the area that wasn't really a hall or a room, but space to enter into the two bedrooms and bathroom. In that space was an old radio consul. The other side of this big wooden piece was a stereo. I don't ever remember playing records, but we would tune into WGN to listen to the tales of The Cinnamon Bear. Once the program was over, we planned and plotted and decided who would go down the stairs to spy on the adults. Surely they were talking of secret things and we would learn of their mysteries. Because again, why would anyone want to sit around and just talk? Remember the stairs squeaked. I don't think any of us made it down too many stairs before we heard that creaaaak and who ever made the faux paux would run back up the stairs before any adult could ask us what we were doing. Of course our laughter and squeals never gave us away. When I visited my grandparents in the summer, I would practice going up the stairs finding the quiet spot on each step, but by the time we came back for Christmas every other year, I couldn't remember the trick. I remember one particular Christmas when I was very young, my grandfather asked if I would like to go look for Santa and his reindeer's since it was Christmas Eve. We began our search by going upstairs and looking out the back window at the gas station on the corner and the neighbors backyards. He would make some noise that would make me think that Santa was near by. Then we would look out the front window onto S. Illinois Street and the elementary school across the street...by the time we came downstairs, we had just missed Santa. He had already come and delivered the gifts. If we had only stayed in the living room, I would have seen him.
I loved it when we all would go to church with my grandparents. All our families would take up an entire row. I think my grandmother was always happy and a little proud when she had everyone together at church. That seems to be my recollection.
My grandmother was a great cook. No one could make fried chicken like her. And her rolls were out of this world. I think Becky learned her recipe, I never did cause I've never been a big fan of cooking. I think Lois made desserts with grandma, but I am not too sure about that.
Just sitting here writing about my day, my singing and my childhood Christmas' has revived me. Roy just called from Christmas program practice. They just gave him a spray on tan that should last a week. He hadn't even been to the manger yet with his wise man gift. He thought they were going to run through the program twice. How lovely it is to be here at home, looking at my books that arrived today from Amazon. I think some hot chocky is calling my name.