'Twas the day after Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring...except me. Bessie Anne is snoring on the bed behind me. Larry and Taylor are still asleep, having decided to stay over last night, which was a special treat for me. Frank and Pearl are outside, braving the thirty-two-degree morning. I've kicked up the wood stove and have coffee in hand; such a peaceful way to start the day.
I know everyone thinks their Christmas was the best; I know mine was. Weather conditions were perfect; crisp, cold and sunny; no rain, snow, or fog. Deb and Craig arrived while I was finishing up with the girls (milking in record time, I might add) and took over the kitchen to make appetizers of crisp puff pastry topped with caramelized onions and a choice of Gruyere or gorgonzola cheese to be ready when the boys got here. Ohmigosh, they were good. Deb and I took advantage of a little time alone to exchange our personal gifts. For twenty-two years, Deb has given me the gift that my father always gave me at Christmas, and always with the same phrase, "This is from Grandpa and me (and now Craig, too)." It's not the gift as much as the sentiment that touches my heart. I reciprocate by giving Deb the same gift that Steve always spent a lot of time picking out just for her, as well as a traditional gift just from me. (We're a family big on tradition.)
True to form, it wasn't long after Dave, Pinto (Zack), Larry and Taylor, and Clay arrived that the poker game began. If I can't sit in, there is no place I'd rather be than in the kitchen where I can hear the laughing and teasing while I cook. When the White Chili and a big pan of cheesy cornbread were done and plates were filled, there was the silence around the table that tells a cook "she done good."
A five-dollar limit on gifts brought out the creative side in the Kids. Deb and Craig made beautiful Origami ornaments with beads and the hoped for homemade peppermint bark candy that we all love. Clay, and I'm laughing as I write this, gave everyone packages of gift-wrapped toilet paper! (He's the practical Kid.) Larry presented us with scratchers and I'm happy to say mine paid off. Pinto added to my collection with three little stuffed pigs. We all agreed that Dave won the prize for originality in each of our gifts. As a for-instance, I received a kitchen whisk with a pig handle and a "charming" pig shower cap, complete with ears. Taylor promptly appropriated the shower cap and wore it for the rest of the day. We've started taking advantage of our get-togethers to celebrate whatever birthdays are near and this time it was for Larry and Pinto. I still owe Pinto a cake, but Larry was kind enough to share his.
Some, who shall remain nameless, had lost their two-dollar buy-in at the poker table, so Deb and I went down to the games cupboard and found Scattergories. It was a happy choice; even more laughing and hooting as we played the game until it was time for those who had to leave. Larry, Clay and I watched some TV and talked until Clay, too, went home. One-on-one time with any of my Kids is special, and last night was no exception. The only thing better is when we're all together, missing Pete and Jake. They so would have enjoyed themselves.
It was a good day...the best!