Ouch. Hayden’s comment about my new header made me realize that yes indeed, I have gotten a lot of mileage out of my New York trip and the dozens and dozens of pictures. So much in fact that I went straight from NYC to Williamsburg and then jumped right over Christmas. It’s not that I didn’t have good intentions of recording all of the joyous moments and memorable sights and sounds. Is it too late now? I hope not. Warning: If you don’t know me, you’ll probably be bored to tears. If you do know me and my loved ones, then you might enjoy it.  

On the Saturday before Christmas we got together with DH’s extended family for a scrumptious dinner and fun family time. Santa came by for a visit, thus making the day even more memorable. DH’s nephew donned the red suit and black boots and apparently did such a great job of impersonating the jolly  visitor from the North Pole that his little daughter later said, “You wouldn’t believe what you missed, Dad. Santa came while you were gone!” Aren’t kids wonderful?

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On Sunday, I enjoyed singing and hearing Christmas carols. That afternoon and into the evening, Mr. B. and I wrapped gifts and decorated the house for a breakfast on Monday morning. I sneaked out for a couple of hours that night to hear a beautiful, soul-stirring cantata at First Baptist Church. DH doesn’t much care for such goings-on, so I was fortunate to run into Lisa and Sophia, some church friends.

On Monday, DH’s children and grandchildren arrived for a heavy duty breakfast and gift exchange, and Tuesday found my sister and me in Myrtle Beach for the day so that we could spend some time with our brother David and his family. The lucky stiffs were renting a condo on Ocean Boulevard, and it was nice to have a few hours to reunite with them. To sweeten the day, my sister-in-law Becky’s sisters arrived in time for lunch, thus another reunion. Did I mention that my good looking son met us at the food court at Coastal Grand Mall?

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Christmas Eve was spent cooking, cleaning, wrapping, and delivering goodies. On Christmas day, we motored over to Columbia to eat with Mike, my other brother, and his family. Our Aunt Joni joined us. Huge fun. Mike and Lisa’s home has a warm, welcoming feel to it, especially the kitchen. Oh, but so does the family room. Come to think of it, so does the dining room where we gathered around a large round table. Hmm, so does the sun room which they’re recently furnished.

 

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 My children and grandchildren arrived that afternoon, Elizabeth first and then the Crolleys and Masedas. It was delightful to have them all here, and we spent the evening doing what thousands of other families were doing: eating and opening gifts. Speaking of the eating part, my son keeps reminding me to “stick to the basics, Mom,” and this year I did it. Sure, I mixed and measured and grilled and broiled and baked with the best of them (so to speak), but I did stick to a simple menu. That way, I was an itty bitty less harried and thus more into the merry spirit of the occasion. But I digress. Here are the grandchildren sitting in the Adirondack chairs that Elizabeth and her friend Carla painted and decorated for them. 

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While it was fun, I kept thinking something was missing. Later, I realized what it was: We had no program. That might seem like a strange thing to say, but years ago, we began having a program of sorts.  Someone would read the Christmas story in Luke, I would read “A Cup of Christmas Tea” (sweet story) or some other little book or poem, their dad would read “One Solitary Life,” and we’d often end with Paul exclaiming (like Tiny Tim), “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.”  I recall one year before my mother’s death when Ann gave us a Christmas quiz dealing with Biblical information, and I think Greg, a preteen at the time, won the prize. I couldn’t even remember the name of Elisabeth’s husband. Well, at least I knew the name of the angel who visited Mary…unlike someone who shall remain unnamed.

Read between the lines, my dear children and start preparing your parts for next year. While I’m on the subject, now that we have Amanda in the family, perhaps she can add some music to our family Christmas. Hmmm. And perhaps Rich and Braden can strum a little something on their guitars.

Okay, we’re up to Friday, a day the girls and I spent shopping and exchanging things. Greg and Anna were getting married the next day, and we had to make sure that our attire was appropriate from head to toe. Paul and Amanda met us for lunch, as did Sarah Beth, my niece. That night Mr. B. and I went to Greg and Anna’s rehearsal dinner in Florence, a very nice affair. Sitting around the table with my sibs and their spouses, DH, and Paul and Amanda was fantabulous (that’s a real word; I heard it in Van Morrison’s “Moondance”). The groom’s father Allen gave an excellent toast, heartfelt and articulate.

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Saturday arrived cold and wet. One of my fondest memories of the day is of walking through the dining room and seeing Paul, Amanda, Carrie, and Rich playing Buzzword in the dining room while hearing sounds of laugher from Elizabeth and Emma from the bedroom down the hall. Braden was off somewhere being “serious,” and Brooke was shriveling and shivering in the bathtub. Yep, we temporarily forgot her with all of our busyness. 

FINALLY, we were all ready to head out to Pamplico for the wedding. It was beautiful. My niece Katherine sang “Surely the Presence,” a hymn that I love. I hope someone sings it at my funeral. Paul was a groomsman, and he and Greg were the most handsome fellas up front. John and Chris, David’s sons, were in the congregation, and they’re pretty easy on the eyes too. Do I sound a bit biased? Perhaps I am. A nice reception followed, and my favorite part of the evening was dancing with Baby Emma.

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Sunday morning found us at church. It was divine (really) to sit with people I’m kin to. Mr. B. isn’t much of a churchgoer, so that’s usually a solitary activity for me. Well, sort of. I never feel alone; plus, it always brings me great joy to know that even when they’re not beside me, all three children and their families are in another ward getting the same kind of spiritual nourishment.

By Sunday at 3:00 o’clock, the house was quiet. I have my memories, and I like to think that some of the laughter lingers within our walls, especially the dining room where so much love and fun and memories were shared.

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