Friday, December 25, 2009

Blessings at Christmas 

There is nothing quite so pretty as a Christmas morning with snow filling the pine trees in the back yard. (Only one of them is mine; my neighbor has five more that I see from the breakfast nook. God bless externalities!) The old tool shed has a white hat, and the wheelbarrow we never put away is filled.

Because Mrs. is a church pianist first and accompanist second, our mornings are always long and relaxed while we wait for her to come back from church service -- Littlest and I figure we did our share in the last weeks with Advent, Sunday and Christmas Eve services, and so we sleep. The two of them went sliding at 10pm after church last night; wish my back would permit it, but I settled for a Christmas Eve Cafe Creme or two and a cup of coffee with a dollop of adult beverage. With snow drifiting down and the frozen Mississippi behind me, I thought I should have brought the flip camera but, honestly, you couldn't have done the memory justice.

So Littlest slept while I ran the snowblower for Mrs. to get to church. 10" on the ground since Wednesday night; heavy stuff that strains my little 5hp mower that would make Soucheray snicker with derision. Then grab Littlest and go to a tradition we have called Christmas Breakfast with a Jew, which involves my golf partner and several friends. The group has changed over the years but the tradition continues -- the local Holiday Inn may be the only place with a Christmas breakfast buffet, and they expect us. So do many of the other patrons, many who are at other tables in St. Cloud's Panera the other 364 days.

Then home and open presents. Now that Littlest is a high schooler it doesn't have the same buzz, but it is a time for laughing as many gifts are humorous. Littlest got slime and a snow brick mold, Mrs a gaydar detector (Littlest's idea, not mine; I think I outgrew Spencer's Gifts last year) and I got tidy whities. I've announced they will be worn to Christmas dinner at the sister-in-law's tonight; they laughed at being brought in on the secret. Probably just humoring me, which is the best gift a man can get.

That will probably be all I do this afternoon. If the family wants to go sliding again I'm taking a bigger cigar, and will drink port from a mug. Not elegant, but effective. Sometimes an old friend calls and we walk together with the cigars and brandy (he does not like port, a pity.) The snow will make it harder work, but well worth the effort.

So much to be thankful for. A new radio show that I thought was a terrible idea four months ago and love now; a sabbatical and changes to my life as I stop being a department chair next summer; my younger child about to start driving lessons; a full humidor; a year of better health and a back that feels as good as it has in ten years; memories of China still being processed. ("Walk the Great Wall" is now scratched off the bucket list.) If I sat here for an hour I could triple this list.

I did honestly think last September I might decide to close this blog -- seven years and over 7000 posts is much more than I had planned to do. But it has just become too much a part of my day and as so many other things are changing for me this has gone from fling to habit to anchor. When in China I was told I could not blog I thought there had to be a way. (There is, btw, via email. That's how I posted.)

Some gifts keep giving, and in this season where we celebrate the greatest gift of all time, God's gift of salvation, I just wanted to thank those of you who keep reading what Janet and I put up here. Your clicks are gifts to us, each and every day.

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