Here we are in Asheville where it is 30 degrees and the windchill is 18. For a most joyous time this afternoon, little flakes of snow descended onto the trees and cars and ground. It didn't stick but the snow added that little bit of Christmas into the day. We tried to get a few pictures of it, but weren't successful.
Our Christmas Eve Day started early. After seeing and experiencing full shuttles last night after dinner trying to get to house for the candlelight tour, we decided that in order to get done what we had planned, we needed to start off when most of the Inn's guests are sleeping. This place is packed! There is no room in the Inn. We had an early breakfast and then executed our plan of taking the first shuttle over to the house. Roy went through Biltmore and I went shopping before the hoards decended. I was disappointed to learn the white chocolate covered pretzels that we love were all gone and they won't have any for a couple of weeks. My sadness turned to joy when I found sugar free candy sticks. I had bought some in May and loved them. When we came in September, they were out, but Christmas miracle, they had three jars...and I bought them all. Roy and I finished up at the house at the same time, so we came back to the Inn only to turn around and leave via our car to Antler Hill Village. It is on the estate but the full shuttles persuaded us to drive. Again, Roy took pictures while I shopped in Traditions. About 45 minutes later I picked up frozen Roy by the farm and we drove around a little on the estate until he warmed up a bit. The sheep were grazing again today, so he got out and took a few more pictures for me. We've been back at the Inn enjoying a relaxing afternoon. I am wassailing this afternoon and Roy is having a bit of both, eggnog and wassail. Our dinner reservations are for 6:30 in the dinning room. So, we won't have to get out and brave the cold this evening. At 8:00 in the library, everyone is invited to sing Christmas carols together, Santa will be here tomorrow in the lobby and a candy counter will be set up at 6:00 tomorrow evening. The Inn knows how to do things right. There are a lot of families here but there also is a good representation of those of us without children or family ties. On the shuttle you get to hear and not by choice conversations. On the shuttle this morning a family that is supposed to be in Memphis by church service time isn't going to make it on time. They decided as a family to spend a little more time around the Biltmore before heading over to Memphis. In fact, they called the grandmother to let her to know of their delay. From this side of the conversation, she didn't sound too happy about it but not because she wouldn't see them soon or that she has missed them, she was more concerned they were going to miss the church service. The family discussed among themselves extended family that would be or not be in attendance at the grandmother's home. By their manner and dress and conversations, it didn't seem they were heading for a Christmas in a double wide or out in the burbs. These people discussing all the particulars had accents that dripped honey and magnolia. I could only imagine that they were going to a grand house full of everything one could ever want. The mother talked of gifts she had purchased in Austria for the family and upon learning that a lonely, longtime friend of the family was eating Christmas dinner with the family, put her in a dither that she'd need to purchase a gift for them before arriving, late, to Memphis, attending church in their travel clothes to make the grandmother happy, yet they knew she would be upset that they hadn't changed into church clothes before arriving.
Because only the buffet was offered this morning at breakfast, we got to see a little more of Edward. He is in charge of the menu items. We brought him a little Christmas gift from us and Dena. He was so surprised and so overwhelmed. He is such a fine young man who loves The Lord, his wife and his children. To help pay off his car quicker and to be able to do some extra Christmas giving to people in need, he has taken on a second job. He cleans 23 bathrooms in a building full of Doctors.
Yesterday, we drove a little on the Blue Ridge Parkway, stopped at the Welcome Center and went to the Folk Art Center. There are so many beautiful artisan crafts and pottery but the display lights send me into hot flash overload. Roy looked at me and saw sweat running down my face. With the meds I am on, it doesn't take much.... Then we went back to Black Mountain and Montreat. Checked in at the Church of the Prodigal and got the ok for about another 40,000 miles. We also enjoyed a delicious lunch of fatted calf while we were there. While Roy was wandering about taking pictures, I got to be up close and personal to a make out session in the front seat of a jeep. We were on the campus of Montreat College, so I assumed, ah, college life. But Roy told me later he thought it was an older couple in a secret meeting. Man, he should have run up to the car window and taken a picture. I mean really, they hadn't selected a secluded spot. Guess they were more horny than smart.
Christmas celebrations are made of those things that sound good at the time but realistically, isn't that great of an idea. On Christmas night it is fun to drive around to watch others looking for something to do or looking for something that helps them escape from all that family love. I wonder what the percentage is really of families that really want to be together for all that time. If you come from a family with control issues or passive aggressive issues or anger issues or just about any issues, you know you are going to run smack dab into those issues or maybe you are the one with the issues that complicate familial relationships. There should be some good family watching in the lobby about this time tomorrow. Too bad the celebration of Jesus' birth is the catalyst for so many unhappy moments. His coming is the best news for those unhappy moments.
Well, I have a book to occupy me until it is time to get ready for Christmas Eve dinner. Merry Christmas friends!