All is calm, all is bright. Christmas Eve somewhere in Asheville. We are all settled in for a long's winter nap...well, not really. Roy is going to walk over to Zaxby's in a minute for our Christmas Eve dinner. We experienced a lovely day and since we didn't have to be at the house to meet anyone or take care of anything, we took the day off. That meant sleeping in, late breakfast and a little local shopping in downtown Asheville along with hundreds and hundreds of our closest shopping buddies. On a misty, cold, rainy morning everyone should be at the mall so we thought but after Siri gave us wrong directions and our adventures of driving around and around downtown looking for a parking place came to a fever pitch when we discovered we could park near the Grove Arcade and have just a short walk to one of the best Indie bookstores around, Malaprop's. I have not visited the store since April, so it was a real treat to spend some time there today. Roy brought his iPad and got a cup of their delicious coffee and read while I decided what books to buy. They have a great local authors section that I can take way too much time in. After making a few selections we walked back to the car and took off toward Mast General Store in Asheville. Parking is a premium more in this part of town and after the one pass around the building, we made the best decision and go onto the antique warehouses, most of which were closed. But a few were open and we had fun looking around. Even came home with an unusual Biltmore Dairy bottle.
Unlike home where everything stays open until the last possible minute, it is not like that around here. It is something to appreciate and love but it can also be a bane in the day before Christmas experience. We explored the area around our hotel and found J&S Cafeteria. We decided that sounded like a great place. When we opened the doors to J&S, we opened the doors to a life long ago in the cafeteria realm. Not like an upgraded Luby's, no LuAnn Platters, no trendy blackened dishes...but the long narrow aisle wound around and we finally came into the lines marked off by velvet ropes. The salad section...was a trip back to yester-year. Not just carrot raisin salad, but all kinds of congealed salads, ice berg lettuce salads...no fancy spinach around. I got turkey and dressing, the way that Luby's used to serve it, turkey over a mound of dressing with gravy and some cranberry relish. Then sweet potatoes with tiny marshmallows and then the unpopular lima beans, but sorry folks, I love me some lima beans. We didn't pay at the end of the line, we just got a receipt. It was just like I remembered from way back in the long ago, the tables and chairs, the servers that picked up your trays. Only thing missing, the ice tea lady with a cart and an old lady playing the organ.
Roy has had a difficult time understanding my ADD riddled brain throughout the years and I finally found the avenue to explain it to him. On our trip up we listened to the traditional station on satellite radio. Carol of the Bells has always been called the hyper Christmas carol by me and we were listening to that song when it came to me. This particular arrangement was very layered in sound and in parts and I told Roy this is my brain. This is what goes on inside, all kinds of parts and sounds and words rising and falling, cascading the scales. He finally has a notion of what I deal with on a daily basis.
We have been watching old movies and I have been reading and skimming several of the books I bought at Malaprop's. It's an enjoyable quiet evening and in between old movies and the like, I have pondered things in my heart. When Roy and I travel we have wonderful discussions on many things spiritual. Somehow at home those kind of conversations get lost because of business and due to some part of my cynical nature...something I fight against more often than not. Yesterday at Mast's in Waynesville, the most interesting conversation was going on between a father and his two children. They could not get past the toy area of the store. Finally, the dad said to his son, we are here to shop for your mother and I don't think she wants toys. They moved onto the kitchen department and I wanted to pipe up and say, keep on moving, go upstairs to the clothes. As the father and daughter looked through things, the little boy comes back with a bright sparkly ball and says this is so beautiful, I KNOW mom would LOVE this and then give it to me. Oops, he didn't quite get the concept of giving gifts with others in mind. Or in emails today, did you forget someone? Nothing like an e-gift certificate to say...nope, you just aren't that important to us. CVS parking lots are reminiscent of downtown Asheville, no room. Please tell me that people are buying cards or wrapping paper and not gifts. Nothing new in thinking of gifts at this time of year and many others much smarter and wittier than me have waxed eloquent throughout the season...but these things have my thoughts tonight.
For many years gingerbread men have been a part of our Christmas. My mom made them every year. When she got to the point where she couldn't make those, she made a gingerbread cookie. We have been on the search for a gingerbread man but our luck wasn't too good but today at the bookstore cafe, Roy came over to me with a gingerbread man cookie. Yea, Christmas is complete.
We are thankful for the gift of Jesus, born in a manger, Emmanuel, God with us. We are thankful for the life we have through Him. This season we sit still remembering that night when heaven came to earth with the announcement of Glory to God in the Highest, Peace on Earth goodwill to Men.