Another Christmas down. And it gets marked as a great one. From this one on, I'm sure Gracie will remember Christmas now....
I'll start at the Christmas Eve Open House. We call it an open house because when we started having them, it was for those friends who didn't have a place to go. This year's started with an afternoon of shoveling snow....about 14" of it, out of the driveway. We still could only get about 6 others in, so some people had to park across the street at my friend Mel's Dad's old place.
As children on Christmas Eve, my parents used to drive us around to look at all the lights and downtown to walk around Monument Circle, which is turned into the world's largest Christmas tree. They did that to tire us out so they could get the presents under the tree in peace :)
The open house began a few years after we moved here, when my brother and I were teens and Santa's anonymity wasn't an issue. My dad, the keeper of lost sheep (mostly black ones), had some friends he had known since college. These are the type people most would judge by looking and want no part. I call them lost souls, people who've forgotten their way whether by addiction or choices. But as odd as they were, I learned great lessons from them.
An example was Kay. Kay was an artist, into numerology, and all things cosmic.... When I graduated from college, she had made me a 'neck-roll' type pillow. It is beautiful (I still have it), covered in an off-white satin print with scalloped lace at either end. A nice normal gift, right? For Kay, most definitely. At both ends were stuffed boobs, complete with nipples and areola! On the card was written in calligraphy "Congrats, kid! Now go grab life by her tits." True to form--Kay. She blew her brain out after getting into an alcohol-full tiff with her friends.
Don't apologize or feel sorry about that. Kay was capable of many things. I wasn't surprised and am not sorry for her. I love her until I die, too.
So, now you see a glimpse into the first attendees. As we got older, it was our friends who'd show up for the party. Our place was always the gathering spot. My parents were also the ones that our friends came to for advice. Mom and Dad just let them talk about anything and depending on severity, told those who needed to know.
Now, I see as a parent, how that might look bad (if my parents withheld information) but in these cases, their parents fully knew and trusted mine. We had at least 6 kids here from Thursday until Monday when we were growing up. We weren't even close to being angels. But most of us have made it into adulthood fine.
Time has moved on, and now its my family (Dad, Mom, Charlie, Me, 3 uncles, 1 aunt, and Grace) and a few of our friends (Johnny, JC, Dennis, my 'sister' Mel and her live-in, Brian and her son, Ricky). It used to be standing room only through the house. It dwindled to all in one room.
Kind of sad.... but hey, we still were partying at 5 am... it just a lot quieter... sometimes. Charlie and Johnny usually would stay up all night getting louder as the night (morning) progressed. But with my brother living here now (and at Johnny's house), this year they attended a Christmas Eve Eve party (I can't believe not many people have heard that before, by the way). They stayed out until about the same time, so they were wiped out and toned down for ours.
Grace woke up at the usual 6:30 am saying "Its Christmas, Happy Birthday, Jesus...Lets open presents now",but Mom and Dad (Mom got up with Gracie... thanks Mom) kept her busy until 9. It was time to open them... can't put it off any longer. So we divvied up the packages to their respective owners, most going to Grace, of course.
She started opening hers and each one she got more excited over. Mom, being the queen of garage sales, got her a ceramic dog with 3 puppies for .50. When Grace developed an immediate love for her puppies and put them in a bag so she could carry them around all day, Mom used it to point out how we didn't need to spend a lot of money to make her happy. Mom's will be moms, won't they. But then Gracie got to her gift from my brother--the Geotrax Railway System!-- Mom got put back in well, maybe a little money mode :)
I went to serve my penance at the food shelters today. Normally I would take Gracie, but she was having too much fun and she did go on Thanksgiving with me. With all the snow, I knew the place would be packed and it was. Pastor Dave said its been that way for 3 days, non stop. You really don't notice how many people have it that bad on a sunny day.
I stayed there for 4 hours today before being told that 'meals on wheels' hadn't been served since the snow fell because some people couldn't get their cars out. I can't have that, so I called Johnny to come get me and take food out to some of them. (People who voted for Bush should come and see how all the 'unnecessary' items were cut from the budgets).
We stayed out another 4 hours and got to everyone on the list. Some hadn't eaten anything but canned beans. Mostly elderly people who suffer the worst. I look in their eyes and they tell me it shouldn't be like this. It shouldn't. But I feel like I left them happy for the day, so that's good.
When I finally got back home, Grace was still playing with the trains. She's played with that train for two days now. She wanted to take it to breakfast this morning and then refused to go because it couldn't go too. (Yeah, that lasted about 2 minutes before 'Militant Mom' went into action).
Normally, we gather for Christmas breakfast on Christmas Day. But my aunt had to work (the same hospital mom, and I work(ed) at), so we did that this morning. The meal itself is an interesting story.
My aunt had a boyfriend who is Jewish. He and my aunt lived with my Grandma (the one who was born in our house) at the time. He served bagels, lox, pate' and some other traditional Jewish food for our Christmas breakfast and we've had it since.
I began dating an Arab man about 8 years ago, so he made traditional Middle Eastern food for us to have also. Well, he's not around, but the food still is. So, we say its the only time the Arabs and the Jews can get along... at our table. They go together quite well, too. ;)
Then we opened presents there. Got our rum cakes to take home. And shuttled everyone back to their respective cars. It was a very nice time.
Charlie and I went to watch football--Way to go Manning! for breaking Marino's TDs a season record. Congrats to the Colts for a new record for 3 WRs having 1000 yds each and 10 Tds each, too....a day for records!
My beloved Steelers are still on a tremendous roll, but I dread the future playoff setup... one of my teams has got to go out :( I have to go with the Colts. Roethlisberger is a rookie, the Steelers will be contenders a long time. Then on to New England, the luckiest team in the NFL. The Steelers took then out this season, but they beat the Colts... many times. Would like some revenge, but hoping... somehow... the Patriots will face the Steelers first.
So, that's my holiday wrap up. Sounds like you all have had a great one also!
Onto New Year's......