The first week of December I spent with my son and his family. I helped decorate their tree, listened to my granddaughters sing Jingle Bells, and received hugs and kisses from the baby. After I returned home, I attended Christmas parties where I visited with long-time friends and made new friends. I leisurely shopped in my hometown’s stores. Cards and letters arrived daily in my mailbox, and I smiled as I remembered good times shared in the past. I enjoyed my in-town grandchildren’s school programs. There was even time for volunteer work. Yes, my Christmas season was calm.
Suddenly, it was the Sunday before Christmas, and I had ONLY FOUR days left to wrap presents, do laundry, plan menus, buy groceries…much remained on my “to do” list. While frantically scheduling the remaining hours until Christmas, I received a text picture of my twenty-month-old grandson. That same morning I received a text picture of my other son’s three-month-old daughter. As I looked at their beautiful, innocent faces, my Christmas panic disappeared. Thoughts of the birth of another baby, born long ago in Bethlehem, calmed my panic. My calmness prevailed as I completed my shortened “to do” list.
I wish each of you a calm Christmas filled with peace and love.
I looked forward to an afternoon of cooking. For John’s office Christmas party, I was to provide three items: a holiday punch, a dip for chips or vegetables, and a dessert. With a Christmas movie on the kitchen television and a Christmas apron on me, I located the needed recipes.
First, I baked a cherry-walnut dessert. Next, I opened the dip mix envelope to blend with cream cheese. I really like cream cheese and felt a small taste would not affect the recipe. Seven ounces of cream cheese later, I substituted sour cream for cream cheese.
Next I dumped cans of frozen concentrate juices into the punch bowl and added two quarts of liquefied strawberries and fizzy soda. Red food coloring gave it a deep, scarlet look.
Unfortunately, a mishap occurred with the punch on the way to the freezer in the back room. The red punch did look very seasonal on the sage green wall, and after only two large bottles of Club Soda and two cans of commercial carpet cleaner, the white carpet is now faint pink.
After I ate half the pan of cherry bars and finished watching the Christmas movie from the recliner, I felt better about the situation.
A quick count of adults and children confirmed it. All members of the family were either zoned out in front of a football game on television, playing with cousins in the back room, carving the turkey, stirring the gravy, or underfoot in the kitchen. Yet, the bathroom door was locked.
“Do you have a key to the bathroom door,” I asked my daughter.
“No, but there’s a screwdriver in the kitchen junk drawer—just slip it into the lock, and it’ll unlock,” my daughter answered.
That was the first of the six times someone locked the door to the empty bathroom over our three-day Thanksgiving holiday gathering. In fact, my family now considers locking the bathroom door a new “Thanksgiving tradition”– similar to serving sweet potato casserole and cranberry salad. (It took several years, but most of my family members learned to appreciate these dishes– probably because the recipes used involved lots of pecans.)
Oh yes, before we gather for Christmas at my house, I’m hunting up the key to the bathroom—or at least knowing the whereabouts of the ice pick.
John and I recently traveled with friends of ours. We are all over sixty-years old. It only took a couple of hours for us to realize that when four people over sixty travel together, it is important that one or more of the four know the location of the nearest restroom, or as it is known in circles of older folks, “the comfort station” at all times.
It’s also important to pay attention to which door one enters the “comfort station” through. In our defense, my friend and I were deeply engrossed in a conversation about how cute our grandchildren were when we attempted to exit the restroom. While we were surprised to find ourselves in the janitor’s closet, we were especially pleased the door didn’t automatically lock behind us.
I also learned no matter how urgent the need to find a “comfort station,” it is important to read the little sign posted on the door. It was a little unsettling to hear male voices in the room I mistakenly thought was the “Women’s” room. Next time I will wear my glasses–and take time to read the sign.