The basic recipe for making sugarplums takes 13 hours and 45 minutes. That pretty much knocks out any visions of sugarplums dancing in this sailor’s head. We are planning on a Green Christmas beachside in southern California with most but not all of our kids. Travel plans have severely impeded any motivation to swim against the current of Christmas shoppers. Tubs of Christmas decorations are nestled all snug in the basement storage room. I’ve settled into a Sunday afternoon winter stupor just drifting and dreaming December away.
The Ghost of Christmas Past is amusing me with memories of some of our family’s finestkind holidays. I remember Amberley as a toddler in her bright pink snow suit sledding down our backyard hill with her two big brothers. The gales of laughter and thuds of snowballs pitched at my post near the kitchen window were suddenly punctuated by high-pitched screams. Seems the boys had procured my 10 quart bread making stainless steel bowl, carried their baby sister up to the summit, plopped her in it, provided a quick shove and propelled the vessel down the hill. Bread bowls are very fast. She landed terrified but basically unharmed and like Moses was found submerged in snow, hidden beneath a shrub called a burning bush.
The Ghost reminded me of other family ventures into snow sailing. We had driven the family, including the dog, all the way from St. Louis to my parents’ log cabin home in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. My recently retired (56 year old) father built my mother a log home in the middle of the mountains. The homestead appeared as idyllic as a Currier and Ives print. It was as far away from anywhere as Shakelton’s Endurance was from Tahiti. George took Amberley out into the thigh high powdery snow for a sledding expedition upon a bright pink flying saucer. Being a good Dad, he went first thinking he’s blaze a trail and show her his best Clark Griswold moves.
He learned three things that snowy Christmas afternoon. First, flying saucer snow disks do not steer well. Second, ash trees do not flex when hit directly by flying saucers carrying a 250 pound payload. And third, driving to an ER when mountain roads are not plowed is simply not an option. He later learned that broken ribs heal very slowly.
Then there was the year the dog knocked down the Christmas tree while George and I were at my grandmother’s funeral and the kids were staying next door. Grandma died in balmy Florida, but being creatures of habit, the family buried her beneath a think bed of snow about 30 miles from my parents’ log home on the 23 rd of December. We returned home early on Christmas eve to find that exactly where our six foot fresh pine Christmas tree had been, stood a puny foot-high fake tree with a couple of busted ornaments. The little train set we had left under the big tree now looked huge on a circle of track around the tree. All I could whisper was, “Honey, They Shrunk the Tree.” Not really. When our neighbor and a friend had come to check on the house, they saw that the dog must’ve been very thirsty and tried the minty water of the tree stand. The tree was sprawled it on its side, it’s dish empty, and sappy pine needles covered the carpet. They graciously watered the dog and pitched the tree out the back door. It was a great Christmas as the train still went ‘round the Christmas tree.
Go with the flow. Drift away. Dream on. The holly daze is not complete without a bit of drama, a touch of humor and warmth that comes from simply believing.