Bertha also insisted on making pies since I had my hands full – mince and pumpkin. One of each would be plenty, I said, but no – here came two each and ginger cookies frosted. She’d tried a new recipe.
Ina Dobson, Christmas 1934
I thought of Grandma Ina’s quiet Christmas of 1934 as today, 80 years later, we celebrated our own quiet event in the same house. I can’t help but imagine the happy Christmas gatherings that happened here so many years ago.
Nick and Hallie arrived at 10:45 Monday night (Dec.22). Mike and I sat up to wait for them, watching an episode of The Rifleman with bleary eyes. “Bark-bark-bark,” announced Bess as the car came up the lane. Nellie knew immediately who it was. (Nellie knows who comes in the middle of the night.) Hallie provided the dogs with “pig ear” treats. Then without further ado, all of us were off to bed.
It was a short night for me, however. At 4:30 a.m. on Tuesday (Dec.23), as the owl hooted in a pine tree, Nellie whined at the back door. (Bess was there, too, but she lets Nellie do the whining.) I got up and let them in, and then they napped while I read and watched an old holiday movie on my iPad. (It was hours before anyone else was up.)
Tuesday, Hallie had arranged to work by means of laptop and phone. Mike and Nick took the dogs and tramped the property while I made a batch of cut-out sugar cookies. My plan was to make quick work of decorating them with white frosting, but Hallie suggested I wait till later so that we could make a retro experience of it. Did I have food coloring, she wanted to know. I didn’t think so, but lo and behold! – I found some in the cupboard. So, the frosting went from white to red, green, and yellow, and we decorated cookies until suppertime. Great fun!
Before supper, Mike suggested we light our annual Christmas bonfire. Last year our burn pile, consisting mostly of yard waste, was too wet to light. This year we were able to get the fire started and an estimated three-fourths of it burned. With the camera on a tripod, I was the official bonfire photographer. (Maybe I’ll get better pictures next year.
Following Hallie’s suggestion, we opened our gifts on Christmas Eve. There was a Skilsaw for Nick and work pants for Hallie, books and socks and pajamas and other nice things all around. But take a look at this Fitz & Floyd canister set that Mike found for me at The Hangar, a secondhand mall in Clarkston. I’m not quite sure if it was a joke, but I know he had some fun with the doing of it – and isn’t that what Christmas should be? These canisters were produced in 1995, and while they’re a little chipped, I’m convinced he got a reasonable deal.
Christmas morning Santa filled our stockings with many useful and tasty items which we enjoyed after a breakfast of waffles. We rounded out our time together with cooking and eating, board games, dominoes, gin rummy, and playing with the dogs.