Monday, December 31, 2012

A Quiet Christmas of Reflection

Its been a quiet Christmas at the farm with lots of good food, good friends and reflection on how lucky we are. We started the holidays with our little community Christmas parade and chili cook off sponsored by the Lions Club that I am privileged to be president of. This was my first as the President and a lot goes into even this small of an event but luckily we have some hardworking members who made sure I didn't make too big of a a hash of it. We also had a dinner with the Fire Department and families, we had our neighbor Roger over to help make Christmas cookies and decorations, Chris came home for a couple weeks, and even our shopping experience was relaxed and enjoyable.

I got asked by a friends wife if I would be willing to play Santa for a Christmas party they were having for a bunch of 4-6 year old kids. I told here I saw myself as more of a Charles Bronson/Lee Marvin type but she said nope...your more of a softy Santa. Soooo I did my first gig as a Santa and actually enjoyed it.

Every family develops holiday traditions and one of ours has been to decorate cookies and make decorations and we treasure those decorations from Christmas' past on our tree. This year we invited our bachelor neighbor Roger who has dinner with us every Sunday to join us in making cookies and decorations. Just a laid back easy going evening with family and friends. Holly makes up plates of Christmas cookies and makes sure a couple bachelor neighbor farmers get some cookies and we always leave a small box of chocolates from a local chocolatier for the mail lady and our trash man who is one of the hardest working guys in the county. We just appreciate the extra mile they go to be friendly and provide such fine service.

Since making decorations always works up an appetite, we smoked some Cornish game hens over apple wood and they were juicy and full of smokey goodness.
We did have one disaster. Judy's cat Piglet came over for a visit and ran into the living room and launched herself in an effort to "climb" the tree and it broke the stand, fell over and scattered ornaments all over the floor. We have had this tree for about 10 years so it was getting old anyway but when I came into the house poor Holly was in tears, so we hugged and my first thought was...road trip. "But its getting late and its a 45 minute drive to town" said she...."yes but Lowes is open til midnight" says I and "get your coat".

So we got an even nicer tree, and we decorated it together and had it up that very evening and all was well and I only wish everything else was so easy to fix.
Yes that is a pillow strapped to my belly under the suit. One of the kids let out a yell when I approached the door and I heard her say "its the real Santa..look mommy its the real Santa!". They all gave me a hug before I left and to be honest it was a lot of fun.

We long ago gave up on the commercialization that accompanies Christmas for some and instead focus on family, the spirit of the holiday and we  enjoy giving meaningful and sometimes fun gifts. Holly got this one from Jenny and Steve and she got some gardening stuff, some practical clothes, and a new gold chain for her Alaskan gold nugget cross.
While I got a new welding helmet and gloves, some tools, and some cooking stuff...

Chris the wandering trucker who is home for the holidays for a couple of weeks is hard to buy for because he stays on the road but he got some clothes and some kind of gaming gizmo headphones..
And finally Judy got....well Judy stuff. We also got some canned salmon from my parents and a couple sides of alder smoked Copper River salmon from Jay and Stephanie....and its unbelievably good.

We even have snow, not the blizzard predicted but its been in the teens at night and a touch of snow has highlighted the season.
We put out decorations and lights and at least for this one lonely stretch of highway there was a bit of cheer.

 It was so quiet this night with the snow falling (except for a pack of coyotes howling in the distance) and with the wood smoke smell of the wood fired boiler and our knowledge of the warmth and good cooking smells that awaited in the farmhouse we truly felt at peace.
Even the animals had a good Christmas. The cattle got an extra hay ration, the chickens got all kinds of scraps from the holiday cooking and of course Bandit, Boo Boo, Willow, Rosie, Whiskers, Piglet (despite her Christmas tree misadventure), Jake, Eve, and President Grant were spoiled rotten (those are the combined cats and dogs between our farmhouse, Judy's place, and the barn).
Finally, I would be remiss not to mention the tragedy that happened in Newton Connecticut and we were not could anyone not be? Sadly, rather than a rational national discourse that could have at least brought honor to their sacrifice and at least some comfort to their families the whole issue has been co-opted by extremists on both sides and the partisan divide that monopolises our society today just continues unabated. It saddens me. Solving complex societal issues takes courage and a selfless maturity that is lacking in our government and fed by a morally bankrupt mass media and we are all the poorer for it. May those who perished rest in peace.

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