Posted tagged ‘centerpiece’

“…freshly cut Christmas trees smelling of stars and snow and pine resin – inhale deeply and fill your soul with wintry night…”

December 5, 2017

The morning has been a busy one here at the Ryan estate. The staff has decorated the grounds with multi-colored lights. Large ornaments hang from trees, and a spotlight gives the ornaments a twinkle. The back deck is awash with lights. A smaller star joins the big star on the fence gate. A wooden sled draped with white skates is now by the front steps and is lit by a string of colored lights. A wreath is on the front fence gate and hanging in the middle of it is a wooden fish. The front door also has a wreath but hanging from its middle is bright coral. The crowning achievement is the tree. It is in the stand in the living room where it will sit for a day or two before being decorated. The tree, even naked, is beautiful and full of branches and soft needles. Already the aroma of pine has begun to waft through the living room. A bayberry centerpiece is ready to take its place in the middle of the dining room table once the Christmas runner has been found.

The outside is finished. All I need to do is check the lights tonight to make sure the timers are correct, and the front and back lights are turning on around the same time.

The living room is a chaotic mess. All the presents are now downstairs. They are piled on the couch and chair and even the floor. They need to be catalogued and wrapped, but that is for another day. I did vacuum the dirt and needles which came in with the tree but that’s it. I’m done for the day.

I’m watching the 1966 Andy Williams Christmas show. Already his brothers have dropped by as have his mother and father. His mother is wearing a fur stole. His wife Claudine, not yet notorious, wants help picking the tree. The Osmond Brothers are now singing. They are dressed in pink shirts and white bib overalls and singing about peppermint. Donny is tiny compared to his brothers. I probably saw this back in the day as we never missed an Andy Williams Christmas.

Though the temperature is in the 40’s, the dampness has made the day feel even colder. There have been clouds all day, but the clouds are darkening. The rain will soon be here.

I’m thinking I deserve a bit of egg nog.

“At Christmas, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ makes me cry in exactly the same places every time, even though I know it’s coming.”

December 13, 2015

Today is a grey day but still warmer than it should be. Last night my house was ablaze with Christmas lights. My neighbor from across the street called to say she loves the lights and can’t stop looking at them from her window. Most of the house has colored lights, but a giant white star sits atop the fence to the backyard and strands of white flow from the star. I love that star.

When I was a kid, we had turkey for  Christmas dinner. With it we had creamed onions, mashed potatoes, stuffing and another vegetable or two. Over time my mother changed the menu. We’d have some sort of a roast, fresh vegetables and always those mashed potatoes. We’d eat dinner in the dining room instead of the kitchen. First came the festive table cloth which changed from year to year. My mother and I would then set the table with her Christmas dishes. The centerpiece was made of boxwood and decorated with red balls and ribbons. The middle of the table groaned under the weight of all the dishes. We’d pass each dish and fill our plates. We’d compliment my mother on how delicious everything tasted. The mashed potatoes and gravy never had lumps. The vegetables were just right. It was every time a perfect feast.

I had been my mother’s sous chef for dinner and after dinner I was her cleaner upper. My mother would stay in the kitchen, dry the dishes and keep me company. We’d put on Christmas music. My mother loved the Carpenters Christmas, Frank Sinatra’s and Andy Williams. It was a treasured time for me. My mother and I chatted the whole time. Everyone else was in the living room, but they’d appear every now and then for some more desserts. The table was filled with choices: whoopie pies, cookies or candies, all made by my mother and me.

My mother made Christmas a joy. We all honor her by doing the same.