Well, that went well.
Officially, yesterday was Valentine's Day. Unofficially, it was a multipurpose holiday, and I certainly had cause for celebration on many fronts. Made it down to Cam's early to feed her critters per instructions. Cricket, the burro, was waiting up by the house and poked his long nose in the truck window as soon as I'd parked. He had to wait while I prepared treats and refreshed the cats' food dishes. I had to pay the toll with an apple chunk before Cricket would let me back in the truck. Down in the barn, Shadow, the mini-donkey, and the chickens were waiting for their breakfast. The feeding rituals at Cam's are complicated, but everyone got let in or out as directed and all were busy eating when I left.
Back at Farview, I got my own critters fed, milked (as appropriate), and the barn cleaned in record time. For me, guilt is a great motivator and after the distractions of the day before, I had plenty of motivation. I whipped through the to-do list chores and accomplished some that I hadn't even put on the board. I was unstoppable. Bessie Anne gave up following me from room to room, I was moving so fast. I even had the table set by the time Deb and Craig arrived with bags and a bucket from KFC (how's that for a plus?). While I think of fast food often, I rarely, and I'm talking once a year or so, actually have the "food of the gods," and it is such a treat. A visit from my Kids is cause for celebration in itself, but throw in some KFC and I'm in heaven.
Chicken and coleslaw were not the only things Deb and Craig had carried in. Giving up on a joint gathering of the clan, they'd brought Christmas too! Soon gift wrap was flying through the air. It was a good thing I'd left the tree up in the living room, bare as it was, because I was given a beautiful ornament, the only ornament on the tree. The Kids had pretty much stuck to our $5 gift limit. I cannot say the same for their cat, Clyde. He must have saved all of his allowance for the year, because when I opened the package from him, I found a Blu-Ray DVD player and "Dances With Wolves." Cats play by their own rules; what can I say? Even the cat is dragging me into the 21st century. (I still have drawers and shelves stocked with obsolete VHS tapes.) Fortunately for me, Craig was there to hook up the new machine, otherwise I'd still be looking at the player in its box. I am now the happy owner of four, count 'em, four! remote controls. Good luck with that. I can't imagine a better movie to watch in the new, astounding clarity than the sweeping vistas of "Dances With Wolves."
It has been noted that my family is big on traditions, of which Christmas is not the least. The box of See's candy from Deb and Grandpa (my father) has meant Christmas to me for the 35 years since his death. Steve's personal gift to Deb was always a perfume bottle, and he has continued to find one for her for the past 11 years. I've lost count of the boxes, some ornamental, some actually useful, in many shapes and sizes, that I have given Deb over the years. Tradition!
As the sun set, my dear Kids drove home, I tucked my other kids in, ate dinner of See's candy and leftover coleslaw (hey, I'm a grownup and can eat what I want), and reflected on all the reasons why the day was a true cause for celebration.
It was a good day.