Posted tagged ‘no snow’

“Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.”

December 15, 2015

The sun is shining, the sky is blue and the day is quite warm. I’m thinking winter has forgotten to come. Not that I’m complaining, but there is a certain expectation here in New England about Christmas and winter and maybe even snow.

My mother was always the architect of Christmas. She bought the gifts, did all the baking, trimmed the tree and decorated the house. My father did his best. He’d help my mother wrap, do the outside lights and put the tree in the stand. He used to do tree lights, but one year they were so tangled he refused to hang them. He just threw them on the floor and sat down. No one wanted to remind him he had put the lights away the year before. The lights then became my responsibility. I was quite fussy about where they were hung, and I tried to vary the colors of the bulbs so same colors wouldn’t be together. My father also helped by being the official taster of Christmas goodies. He did love his sweets. He knew he could count on having sugar cookies, her peanut butter balls, a pie or two, and some different cookies, whatever struck my mother’s fancy from a magazine or a cookbook. I remember her Auntie Mary’s, a chocolate cookie with a cream in the middle.

I began baking and bringing the goodies to my mother’s. I made fudge which was grainy and was my father’s favorite. I made my grandmother’s date nut bread and one year I made orange cookies. My mother liked them so much she hid several so they’d be some left just for her. My English toffee always disappeared quickly.

One year my sister and her family from Colorado came for Christmas. She bought goodies including whoopie pies, one of our all time favorites. What was amazing and extraordinary was she brought spritz cookies because my mother always made them when we kids. She’d add coloring to the dough and we’d have white, red and green cookies. I also made spritz cookies for the same reason. We were all going to be together for Christmas for the first time in many years and spritz cookies was a connector to our childhood Christmases. My mother remembered those years, and she too made spritz cookies. The three of us through those cookies celebrated the shared memories of Christmases past.

“Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride.”

December 30, 2011

Today is warm, not your lie on the deck and read sort of warmth, but it is 45°, a long way from yesterday’s 30°. I call this sort of day sweatshirt weather.

One of the fattest gray spawns of Satan I have ever seen drops by each day. I watch him try to manuever around the squirrel protected cage to get at the seeds inside. He holds on to the outside wires and pulls himself around the cage then hangs on from underneath. His last desperate attempt is to try to pry off the top, but he never gets at the seeds. He generally ends up on the deck rail then waddles away. I give a yell of triumph and thrust my arm into the air.

The only time I didn’t wish for snow at Christmas was the year I asked for a bike. The last thing I wanted was not being able to ride it so bare streets were essential. I remember everything about that Christmas. When I came downstairs, the first thing I saw was my bike in all its glory off to the side of the tree leaning on its kickstand. It was blue and had a bell attached to the handle bars and a metal basket in the front. The first thing I did was ring the bell. The next thing I did was try on my bike. I sat on the seat and put one foot on the pedal and balanced the bike with my other foot to the rug. The bike was the perfect height. Right then and there, in my pajamas on a cold Christmas morning, I wanted to take my bike outside and give it a test run. All of the other presents were forgotten. All I could see was that bike and me on the open road riding all over town. My parents said no, maybe later, and reminded me of my other presents so I got to unwrapping, but I kept glancing at that bike hoping later would come sooner.