This has been a busy week. An afternoon attending a visitation for a deceased friend, another spent with the folks at the assisted living facility, another helping serve Christmas goodies at a local bank and yet another cooking and baking for a family gathering the next afternoon left little time for decorating, wrapping gifts or writing cards. We were glad we had done those things earlier than usual and didn't have to turn down the chance to be of help to others in this almost last week before Christmas.
One thing we should have done was to attend a service at church one afternoon. The younger folks may not understand why we didn't show up but those our age accept it without question -- we forgot is all the explanation they need.
The afternoon activities are over and our evening will not be one in which we relax. Some stuff can't be done ahead of time. First I wanted to make a salad for our family party. My husband willingly turned the kitchen over to me to get it ready. I set aside a pitcher with hot gelatin, allowing it to cool before combining it with fruit. When I thought it should be ready I couldn't find it. Our Kitchen King couldn't stand seeing something sitting on his usually uncluttered counter. He had dumped it. I found the pitcher in the dishwasher. I fumed a little before finding almost enough gelatin in a different flavor to give it another try - the key words here are almost and different. It is no wonder I have so many problems making edible food. Inevitably I encounter a problem that gives me a reason to make substitutions to the recipe I am trying to follow -- and my choices for the substitutions are seldom winners. Every time this happens my husband tells me maybe I am inventing a new dish. He tries to make it sound like he did me a favor. I'm not falling for that old line. He's not off the hook. I am still upset!
The next item on tonight's list is to get a column written to send off tomorrow. There is little time to do it as five grandchildren are due any minute. They visit while their parents conduct choir practice at church. There is no point in trying to concentrate on writing when they are around. I will be shuffling cards to play Kings in the Corner or Garbage or reading stories, but I will not be sitting here with the computer keyboard ahead of me. My experience has been that the 2 year old I think is happily playing at my feet with a truck will suddenly reach up and hit a key and boom - a series of mmmmmm's or new pages pop up or several paragraphs disappear into outer space or wherever they go when the delete key is held down for a bit.
For this reason I am ending this column quickly by inserting something I wrote earlier. It is my version (maybe desecration is a better word) of the classic Christmas poem by Clement Clark Moore. The grandchildren mentioned in my poem are several years older than those coming to visit tonight. Tonight's little ones are not ready to "sit quietly for a spell". I'll give them another ten years before I expect that. My poem titled The Week Before Christmas was written in anticipation of what next week will be.
'Twas the week before Christmas and all through the home - blinking lights and evergreen hung by a gnome- greeted grandchildren who had come to offer a hand- to the elderly couple they called Grand. Grandma's lists showed many a chore - everything crossed off - the lists they could ignore. The kitchen smelled of cinnamon and spice- Grandpa's holiday breads were ready to slice. Nothing needed doing to help the pair- so instead they're given cookies and candies to share. Christmas with the old folks isn't a party with whistles and bells- it is a quiet time with conversation and sitting a spell. Midst all the glitter the manger scene catches the eye- the display meant to remind every girl and guy- that Christmas at Grandpa's is about celebrating the birth- of the One who came to offer peace on earth. So grandchildren gather and visit with them-each memory shared, a precious gem. Forget the hustle and bustle occurring other places- take time to count your blessings and receive the season's graces. Take the love you feel while in their home -and wrap that gift with a love of your own. Christmas is a time for joining hands in prayer- giving thanks for