I miss my friend Dolly, especially around the holidays. She and her husband Dan were our neighbors and became our best friends. Deb was single then and was the fifth member of our quintet. We all did so many things together: the Dixon Lamb Fair, the Courtland Pear Fair, decorating Christmas cookies, going camping for New Years; the group was up for any crazy thing suggested. Dinner was at our house almost every weekend, followed by board games or cards. After we moved to Fair Play, my birthday gift to Dolly for years was a two-week vacation here. Dan was a big, quiet guy who, like Steve, had been in the navy. Steve did enough talking for the two of them, and they were best buddies. Dan died a few years before Dolly and I know Steve missed him terribly, too.
One of our traditions was to go pick out our Christmas trees at a farm by the river, just down the road from where we lived. The five of us always went the day after Thanksgiving whatever the weather, and came home to make Irish coffee. About two weeks before Christmas, we'd all go back to cut our trees, haul them home, and yes, make Irish coffee. Dolly was big on decorations for any and every holiday and her house fairly exploded at Christmas. If she were alive, I'd never get away with a bare tree in my living room (as I did last year).
I am so looking forward to having my family and friends here on Thursday. My traditional toast before dinner has for years been: "Here's to those who came before us, to those who will come after us, and to those who are with us now." I miss my friend Dolly.