Posted tagged ‘hot cocoa’

“In skating over thin ice, our safety is in our speed.”

December 30, 2013

Monday means breakfast at the diner. My diner is a small place with only 12 or so booths and some stools at the counter. A few regulars were there and the owners are always at the front of the house doing whatever needs to be done. They greet all the regulars and stop at the booths to chat a bit. It wasn’t too busy when I first arrived but all the booths were taken by the time I left.

The morning is cold. Yesterday throughout the day and night we had torrential rain and late last night the wind began to roar. I imagined the pine trees bending and swaying with loud creaks of protest, and when I let Gracie out this morning, I noticed a few branches, smaller ones, had fallen in the backyard. My outside Christmas lights died around 8, and the back dog lights blinked on and off for a long while. For my neighbors’ sake, I kept hoping the lights would stop blinking. They did and the yard went dark. This morning I turned on the timer for the outside lights, and nothing tripped so I guess all is well.

When I was a kid, I didn’t know anyone who traveled during Christmas vacation, and I didn’t know anyone who skied. Both of those would have been far too expensive for our family and for my neighbors. We had sleds and ice skates, and they provided winter amusement. My friends and I would skate at the swamp or on the rink at the park. That rink was put up every winter and taken down in the spring. The small building at the rink had wooden planks for seats, and we’d put our shoes, tied together, underneath the planks. The building was always warmed by a pot-bellied stove. One man worked there, and he was in charge of keeping the stove going. The skating was free, provided for by the town. I’d skate until my feet hurt.

Sometimes my mother would give us bus fare and entrance money for the MDC rink over the line in Medford, the next town. We had to walk up-town to catch the bus as it was really to far to walk. On Saturdays and school vacations, the bus was filled with skaters. The MDC rink had two fenced-in skating circles and a building with lots of seating and a refreshment stand. We’d skate a while then take a break in the warmth of the building then go back outside for more skating. We’d be there most of the day. I remember taking off my skates and how strange my feet felt. It was as if they had forgotten how to walk. We’d buy a hot chocolate then go outside and wait for the bus. I remember standing on the sidewalk and looking down the street hoping to see it coming our way. We were cold and tired and more than ready to go home.

“Autumn is marching on: even the scarecrows are wearing dead leaves.”

November 25, 2011

The headache has come and gone all day, but I decided to get out and about anyway. I needed a blood test so the errand seemed perfect to add to the misery, but the day was so lovely and warm I’m glad I didn’t miss it. Well, the lab was closed so Gracie and I went to one of my favorite places to shop, and I bought two Christmas presents. I felt accomplished.

Thanksgiving was wonderful with great friends, the tastiest food and even a card game after dinner. My friend Clare made my favorite fall appetizer: a sugar pumpkin filled with bread and cheese combined with the pumpkin then put back into the pumpkin shell and baked in the over. Nothing tastier or prettier. We took a bit of a break before dessert out of necessity. We needed time to digest to make room for the pies: chocolate cream and pumpkin.

I have plenty of leftovers, and I’m hoping I’ll feel good enough later for a re-creation of yesterday’s wonderful dinner.

Now that Thanksgiving’s over, I can start concentrating on my Christmas list and seeing what I have and what I need. My outside lights will go up next week. The neighbors across the street always ask me not to park in front of the house so they can see the lights so I oblige and park at the top of the driveway so they can still see the lights strung across the gate and the huge lit wreath on the middle. When the lights around town go up, I’m always reminded of the ride we took every Christmas when I was a kid so we could see the lights. I think that was the only time we never argued about sides in the backseat. All of us were too glued to the windows to notice encroachment.

It’s been really warm so far for this time of year, but soon enough it will chilly and time to bring out the sugar cookies and the hot cocoa with melted Marshmallow Fluff floating on the top. I used to love that most of all when I was a kid.

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