End of the Christmas Season

I looked back at the photos I took this Christmas, wanting to savor the memories. The time flew by with no time for reflection. It all began with a gathering of all the neighbors at Joyce’s house on the 20th.

Anyone with a birthday in a week before or after Christmas knows they are celebrated in nanoseconds. That’s all I’ve ever known, so I was pleased. A very special find was a birthday balloon in the shape of a Christmas tree. That summed it up perfectly.

Christmas dinner was relaxed for everyone. I was glad son John $pencer took a video of the flaming Christmas pudding. In England 40 years ago, neighbor Gillian gave us one she had made and included the recipe. I still have that recipe in her handwriting and use it every year.

After dinner, all but the two Johns went for a walk. Neighbor Logan shared his scooter with grandson David, which delighted David.

Four of us waited for the new year to begin. Six were side-lined by having been with someone who tested positive for COVID.

North Carolina snows are often beautiful and disappear without freezing on the roads. Ours came on January 3. I liked the margarita-looking birdbath on the deck and Sadie’s exploring a snowman on our morning walk. She growled, backed away, ventured forward, and finally sniffed the white alien.

The rock that had been in the birdbath wore an ice halo. This morning I noticed miniature lights on the Christmas tree. The tiny ornament reflected all the lights around it. To mark Epiphany, we’ll turn off the tree tonight at midnight.

White Christmas!

A forecast of snow usually means nothing will fall from the sky. On Christmas Eve, the outdoor carol service was canceled because of rain. We went to the indoor service at 5:30 and left the church in heavy rain. A mile down the road, rain turned to sleet. A few minutes later the car was engulfed with blinding snow. John could tell where the road was, but no lines were visible. It was a tense drive. We came home to a lovely wintry scene.

Our house on Christmas Eve

Before we went to bed, a text came that the Christmas Day service had been canceled. We had a leisurely breakfast on Christmas morning. I wanted to begin the day photographically, because we were going to have no guests. As it turned out, this was the only picture of me from the whole day.

At noon my view of the mountains was clear. During the afternoon more clouds came, and we had a few snowflakes drifting down.

Roads were white on top and icy underneath. On a hunch, John checked with neighbor Shawn. Their children and grandchildren could not get here, so we would have a party after all! What might have been a humdrum meal was transformed into a real celebration. Their food, added to ours, made a proper feast. Spirits were high, and we enjoyed being together.

Accidental video with my raspy voice giving directions
Shawn, Bob, Logan, John $, John, David

John found our table fidget toys, magnets that we thought Logan might enjoy while adults droned on. He read a book, but Shawn built a nice tower as we all talked. Several times she turned it for me, and it fell down. The last time, I got the shot as she concentrated on turning it. Bob tried his hand at it, too.

As we continued to visit at the table, Logan settled in the living room to read a lovely short story I’d printed out for him. It was The Bright Lights of Christmas by blogger Darlene Foster. See her post here. Logan said he liked the story.

Logan rejoined us for the flaming of the Christmas pudding, our standard dessert since we lived in England 40 years ago. The fire didn’t show in my photo, but Logan was using a phone to record it. The thing that looks like a leaf sticking out of the top was part of the pattern of the table runner.

Logan asked for permission to bring over his big Christmas gift, a hover board. He showed it to us at the table and headed out the door. I ran for my winter coat, made sure the camera was in my pocket, and joined him on the street. He had amazing balance and could totally control it with his feet. I think this was the first time he had it outdoors.

I had to retreat to the warmth of the house on that cold, cold day. Logan came with me, stopping to look at the icicles that stretched from the car to the stones of the driveway. He is always very cooperative about posing for the camera.

When Shawn and Bob went home, John watched the movie Home Alone with Logan and grandson David. Sharing Christmas was a blessing for us and one we will remember vividly.

Christmas

We went to church in Asheville on Christmas Eve, arriving shortly before the service was due to begin. I think we got the last three contiguous seats for that very popular candlelight service.

David and John didn’t want their pictures taken first thing Christmas morning, but they agreed to put their feet near the stockings.

122515 Feet and stockings.JPG

We rushed to church midmorning, but there was no need to hurry to the church in Clyde. Most people stayed at home. The pastor must have counted the people as he made announcements, because he said we could all come up to the altar together. It was a cozy time of worship.

Things began to liven up as Belle and her friend Rita from Sylva and our new neighbors came for dinner. After they moved in, we met Marla walking her dog as we walked to the creek. They were originally from Indiana but had spent some years on the other side of the mountains in Tennessee. They brought lots of goodies – fresh fruit with a dip, cookies, candies, a grape salad, and a fruit dip with Graham crackers. We also had two dips, spinach and salsa, followed by a chicken casserole, vegetable casserole, lemon lime salad, frozen cranberry salad, and the flamed Christmas pudding.

 

I thought the refrigerator would be emptied after the meal, but it was chock full of leftovers. I took a photo, because I’d never had a fridge that full before.

122615 Fridge chock full

The day after Christmas we had no plans. We moseyed to Waynesville, walking up and down Main Street. The town was crowded with others, like us, in shirt sleeves or wearing light sweaters. I particularly enjoyed going through Mast General Store. They had all kinds of things displayed on three levels. As we drove home, David asked if we could eat lunch on the porch. He cleaned the table while I put the meal together. Can you believe we sat there eating without sweaters or coats on the 26th of December?

122615 D JC eating on porch day after Christmas.JPG
David and John eating on the porch on Dec. 26