dearanonymousfriend

Ramblings from a would be writer

Once Upon A Time at Christmas… Pt 2…

Christmas Day is usually a day that I love to cook.  I try to make our meal time special, the table settings, real napkins, and Christmas china and of course, food that is much different from my normal food.  I love to plan for it and I always want it to be special.

Throughout my life,  I can count on both hands the number of times that I have not had Christmas dinner either at my home or at a friend’s home.  There was the time where we took the bus over to the Yokohama train station and went to the underground mall.  We spent the afternoon shopping and I believe we ate there also, another time, we went to Disneyland for Christmas Day.  It was crowded, but fun.  It was the first year our whole family was not together, so hubby and my oldest ferried me up to a hotel on Christmas Eve and we spent the day at the happiest place on Earth, having a lovely dinner at Downtown Disney.  It was a special day, but, it did not help my loneliness at not having my girls together with me.  I am certain there were other times and adventures, but, honestly, besides those two times that stick out in my mind, I have always had a meal at home.

So, this year….  I could not cook.  The thought of a full septic system and me in my kitchen just could not be reconciled.  I told hubby mid day that I could not fix a meal to my satisfaction.  He said whatever was easiest for me was what we would do.  I spent an hour online trying to find a place that was open.  Nothing was.  Denny’s was open.  So, off we went to Denny’s.  Now, I usually do not mind a meal at Denny’s.  I joked on the way over that moons over my hammy might be a good choice for dinner.  I did not get the laughing response I thought I would.  About that time, I looked over towards a strip mall and commented that the chinese restaurant was open and there were only three cars parked in front of it.  Everyone groaned a bit, but laughed.  We continued towards Denny’s.   We arrived, went in and noticed immediately the long lines.  We then noticed that there were an incredible amount of empty tables.  People were complaining.  Loudly!  No Christmas cheer  in this place.  We sat down and waited to be seated.  We waited for a good half hour, getting to know several people who were also patiently waiting. Eventually, Little Miss got loose from us and wandered towards the  counter area.  My daughter chased after her, coming back to tell us all that we were not going to eat there.  She had glanced in the kitchen and was appalled at the appearance there.  Obviously, being short-staffed, they figured that cleaning the kitchen was not important.  We left.

Once in the car, I once more suggested the Chinese restaurant.  Once more, I was ignored.  We headed to another known place ~ IHOP.  So, off we go.  The wait was long, but, we were at least seated.  We got drinks, and they were refilled when they went down.  We finally ordered and after another hour, our mediocre meal arrived. We were thankful for it, but, I honestly, at that point was thinking, full septic tank or not, I should have figured out something to cook at home.  Little Miss needed to be changed after dinner, so my daughter took her to the restroom to change her.  Upon returning, she reminded us of a couple whom we had talked with at Denny’s.  She had run into her in the restroom and found out that shortly after we left, a fist fight broke out at Denny’s between a staff person and one of those disgruntled customers.  I guess the police were called.  Definitely no Christmas cheer there…

We left the house at 4:30 p.m. on Christmas Day.  We didn’t arrive home until after 7:30.  It was a long time for a disappointing meal, but, we had food in our tummies and for that we were grateful.

On the way home we noticed that the Chinese restaurant was still open.  My daughter, who, was tired from keeping Little Miss occupied and happy,  said, I am going to check and see what the reviews of that place is.  If it is even a 3 star review, I am going to kill myself.  Opening the phone information she read off several 4+ star reviews.  With a mixture of laughter and indigestion we sighed.  We could have had some good Chinese food.  Oh well, I guess that is something to keep in mind in case we ever have another Christmas like this one.

We came home.  Victorious.   We had survived Christmas…   It was not the version I had dreamed of for weeks before it’s arrival, but, a Christmas very different. I know through the years the story of this Christmas will be remembered.  It will be retold.  Years from now it will be a family story that one begins to wonder if it really happened.   For those of us who were there, we will remember.  We may forget what gifts were given.  We may forget the frustration of the day.  We may even forget what started the whole day, but, we will remember how different it was.  We will remember laughing over the stupid things.  We will remember it was a time of bonding.  How can you not bond over septic waste and shop vacs?   Yes, this is what our Christmas was this year.  I think I am looking forward to 2017.  Thanks for stopping by today, have a great few last days of 2016 and may 2017 hold all the joys and blessings your heart can hold.  Cathi (DAF)

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Once Upon A Time at Christmas…

A week ago, my daughter (Little Miss’ mom) and her family arrived for Christmas.  It was the first time in a decade that we were able to spend Christmas together.  I was so thrilled!  Her sister, obviously my other daughter,  was supposed to join us, but, at the last moment, couldn’t.  We were disappointed, but, understood.

The days leading up to Christmas were full.  We had fun, visiting, playing with our Little Miss, who is two and filled with giggles and two-year old conversations.   We went shopping for last-minute gifts, for groceries, for nothing in particular.  It was a lovely few days leading up to the 25th.

Christmas Eve we set out gifts and made plans for the following morning.  My daughter made a breakfast casserole in the crock pot and we planned to get up and head to church.  We each had our outfits ready to go, and it was all planned out.  Get up, have a nice breakfast, go to church, come home and open gifts and have a nice dinner.

Christmas Eve we went to bed.  All was quiet…   Hubby and I got up, showered, got ready for church.  Our daughter was getting up and Little Miss’ daddy was kind enough to discover that our guest room bath had standing water in it.  Such a wonderful Christmas gift for us!  We went to the basement and lo!  there was more standing water.

That lovely Christmas breakfast casserole stayed in the crock pot just a bit longer.  Hubby and I changed from our church clothes into work clothes.  So, for the next two hours the guys worked.  Pumping and vacuuming water from the floor.  Turning off water certain places to make certain it didn’t leak. Moving a toilet to make certain it wasn’t the cause of the water.  Discovering that our septic tank decided to be full.  Full on Christmas Day.  Not Christmas Eve…. no…. Christmas Day.  It could not wait another day… no… full on Christmas Day.

So, we called and got an appointment for the next morning to have the tank pumped.  That was good.  It was going to happen soon.  We had water to drink that did not need to be run through the sink.  So, that was great.  But… cooking.  I just could not think about doing that in my kitchen.   This will be in part 2…

We ate some breakfast, although the guys did not have much appetite after clearing the rooms.  I had the fumes of disinfectant lingering in my nose as I scrubbed the floors where the water had been and where the men had walked.  We ate, not truly enjoying the casserole that was delicious.

We read the Christmas story.  Little Miss was a bit distracted, but hubby was trying to salvage something of the day.  The story ended.  I went to the kitchen and decided that mimosas were in order.   And then we opened gifts.  Christmas, as it is spoken of in  “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”  did come.  “It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes, or bags. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before.  Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas… He thought …means a little bit more.”   Christmas came even though the tank overflowed…

Christmas came.  We laughed with one another as we sat in our stinky work clothes.  We hugged and thanked each other even though only half of us managed to shower that morning.  We had each other and the cares and weight of the messy morning did not ruin what happens when family sit around a tree on Christmas morning and share with one another.

Christmas came as it did centuries ago.  Christmas came quietly that day long ago.  That day when our Savior was born.  Christmas came without ribbons, it came without tags.  It continues to come even when the morning is filled with shop vacs and buckets and scrubbing.    I hope your Christmas was special like ours, but, not as eventful as ours turned out.   Cathi

 

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Memorial Day…

This weekend is the Memorial Day weekend.  A time where there are picnics and sometimes parades.    My Facebook feed has been filled the past few days with memes of Memorial Day.

It is true that this weekend marks the beginning of summer, of course it does, it is the end of May and June is next, the schools are out and the weather is increasingly warmer and the calendar is in order, May, June, July, August, the summer months.

People do use this weekend to mark the time to start the onslaught of potato salad, baked beans, deviled eggs and grilling out.  I think they would do this even if it was not a three-day weekend here.

Yes, there are mega-sales in all the stores.  Retailers, given a reason to grab money will use any three-day weekend to draw crowds and move merchandise.  It’s a given.

The notices on my Facebook feed remind everyone that Memorial Day is different from Veteran’s Day, and Armed Forces Day.  A part of me is glad to see that people are aware of the difference, but, there is a part of me that looks at those memes and says, “Well, duh!”.

Maybe this is because as a child we were taught that there was a reason for Memorial Day.  Maybe because we were the generation born after WWII, with our parents still having the memories of that great war fresh in their minds that we knew this day was a somber reminder of those who gave their lives in order for our lives to be secure.

Growing up in the midst of the Viet Nam war made an impression on me.  Each Memorial Day my dad would take us for a walk to a cemetery for the Memorial Day ceremony.  A time where there were old men speaking in hushed tones, a gun salute, bugles playing.    This all crept into my heart and resided there.  There was a reverence for those who had fallen.  This also made me wonder why I felt like the war in Viet Nam was not getting the same rep.  I confess there were often times after seeing the newspaper and television reports that I could agree with the protestors.  The draft was a huge topic growing up.  I had mixed feelings on that until, as a senior and dating my hubby that I realized he could be drafted.

Hubby and I talked about the draft all the time.  His friend had a number that was below number 25, he was certain to be called up.  Hubby’s number was in the 300’s.  About that time, the draft was ended.   His friend stayed home.  Hubby enlisted.

To many people, it appeared that hubby served in peace time.  A time where there was no danger, no difficulties.  But, for the first 15 years of his enlistment, his commanders would recommend that they not wear their uniforms off base, as military was not accepted.  There were still too many harsh feelings concerning the Viet Nam vets.  I was always proud of the uniform he wore.  I was proud of the job he did.

My personal belief is that each generation has a duty to recognize and respect those who have served.  I also think that the term ‘peace-time’ is a fallacy. There is no such thing as peace when each country has a military to defend its borders. The men and women who choose to serve this great country of ours deserve respect.  They are going places and doing things most of us would not do.  The military does not question, they go.

I have a picture of my dad and his brothers all in their uniforms during WWII.  They stand together proudly, it is a wonderful picture.  They were a sampling of the brave men who defended us during that war.  They are all gone now, as many of their generation are.

Now we will begin to see those who served and fought in Viet Nam  start to dwindle in numbers.  Hopefully they will finally get the acknowledgement that they answered a call, they served when it was not popular, and some of them returned to a nation that was not grateful.  I pray that those who were lost in this war get the respect and honor they deserve.

Yes, Memorial Day is a day that raises many questions for many people.  Today, this weekend, there will be families who will receive a phone call or a knock on the door with terrible news that a loved one has been lost in action.  It is for these families, like generations of families before them , that we stop on Monday and remember.  We need to solemnly stop and remember why we can laugh and swim and picnic and eat a full meal in peace.  We can swim and go to the beach and not worry.    We can live in this country because of the men and women who gave their lives for ours.

I know this has been a soap-box post from me, and now, I will step down from it grateful  for what I have because of those who gave the ultimate gift.  DAF

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