Saturday, December 10, 2005

ho ho ho!

And so we count down the days that remain toward Christmas, and then a few more days and we are done with 2005! This has been a year of sorts hasn't it? Some of the goings on have been pleasant, and some have been heartfelt...

One thing about this time of the year in the States is the way that people go all out to decorate their homes with lights. For the first time in our lives we are going to have a traditional Christmas, which is going to be fun. I go back many years to the early 70's when we used to have a tree in our home in Bulawayo. I remember one Christmas distinctly...Mom and Dad had a tree in the corner of the lounge, there were gifts under the tree, and I remember Mom giving me a form to fill in and she was going to post it to comment! Well, tradition has it that if you left out a glass of milk and some cookies, that Santa would stop by leave the gifts and have the refreshments before starting off to the next house. This particular year I woke up on Christmas morning, raced down the stairs - I knew the gifts were there, my urgency was to see if Santa had stopped by our home, and sure enough, the cookies had been eaten and the glass of milk was half empty!!! Dad came downstairs and said "you better check outside and see if he was really here..." I dashed outside and our front yard at the time was all concrete - there in the center of the driveway were white sleigh marks and huge footprints in "snow". The excitement was overwhelming...every child's dream of Christmas!

Well, this year in the States, we have gone to similar lengths only this time it was the girls insisting on a christmas theme - which they agreed to finance - miracles never cease. I drove them to the store, they picked out a tree and a bunch of decorations as well as lights for the outside of the house. I sat back and watched them decorate the tree - no arguments just good team work.

My job today was to figure out how to put the lights up outside as part of the decoration for the festive season. The neighbors were out doing their lights too, and me being the ultimate non-handy man had to go over and ask how it all works. Eventually we figured it out, and I was able to hang the lights up. When it came time to plug in and test, I told Nancy "you better get ready for one of two things; either the lights will come on - or there will be an all mighty bang and sparks will fly out of the garage". Fortunately my first run on hanging lights outside worked out, and the display is simple but eye catching.

Above the fire place Vicky bought a bunch of stockings, and so we each will be filling them with goodies - probably candy (that's sweets...haha). On the menu will be the traditional glazed ham, which can be bought at the store, back in the day Dad would slave away in the kitchen to cook the ham to perfection. A lot of that fun is now reduced by simply picking up a ready cooked and glazed ham, saving a bunch of time and effort. Ah, that reminds me of one Christmas in particular. Dad will remember this well. Mom had flown over to Holland to be with her family, and Billy & Linda, the Tolmays had gone to South Africa, the Hubbards were on the farm, Nancy was up in Harare for Christmas with her folks, and that left Dad and I home alone. Dad went all out, roasted a duck, a ham, I think a chicken also, and a piece of beef. We had a lovely fish cocktail starter, and Dad and I sat outside on the drain in the back yard, eating, drinking and being merry - remember that Dad?

Well, now in 2005, my guess is we would all kill for an opportunity to spend this time of the year together. Is it possible? YES...will it happen? Probably not...we are pretty scattered all over the globe right now. So that leaves me reminiscing over good times in the past, not really knowing what the times ahead hold, and wishing all of my family and friends a special Christmas. May this be a time of reflections, and a time of looking ahead to good things in this life. Merry Christmas...