The grove was so fragrant with the trees all in bloom
Thought I might take home a bough to enjoy in my room
But I was stopped by a thought that was rather shocking
What if some child awoke Christmas morning to find no orange in his stocking.
Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a New Year filled with peace and love.
There are chills running up my spine. Goosebumps cover my skin. Gazing out my window it seems the whole world is weeping. No I am not experiencing some emotional upheaval; the first winter storm has arrived in Arizona. We have received only rain in the valley but the mountains that rim the bowl I live in are covered with snow. There is a brisk breeze stirring around so we actually have a wind chill factor. Our high sixties temps of yesterday have dropped to the high thirties range and this old thin blooded desert rat has trouble adjusting to such a quick change. Aw but it does add to the spirit of the season of Christmas. Hot chocolate tastes a little sweeter, the warmth from the oven as cookies bake feels more welcome, and soft sweaters are cozier. We can use mittens, mufflers and stocking caps for more than fashion. I love the comfortable fit of my fur-lined Bear Paws, and today I can wear them without my feet sweating. My friends in the far north may chuckle at thirty something degrees being wintry, but I’m delighted.
We rarely have snow in our valley and usually only a light dusting at that. But there has been those special mornings when we awake to a picture perfect Winter Wonderland so I will continue to dream and wish for a White Christmas.
I have added to my bucket list. I want to acquire the knowledge needed to post pics on my blog. Will have to pin down some kind soul with enough patience to teach me how this is done, just in case our Christmas is a snow covered-one. Most likely we will be tracking mud into the house, not snow, not sure if I would want pics of that :).
No matter if you are looking forward to a snowy holiday or sunny warm one on the beach I send wishes your way that yours will be perfect for you.
This time of year always finds my mind constantly drifting into the past. Much advice is given us to look forward, to move on and embrace the future. I know this is sound advice and some things we do need to let go of if we are to achieve our dreams and realize our full potential. However memories of the sweet type can help us to understand who we are, how we got to the point in our journey we are at now.
My first paying job, other than babysitting for fifty cents an hour, was working at a Christmas tree lot when I was fifteen. It had great appeal for me because of being outside, surrounded by the heady smell of the fresh trees and being my first experience serving the public, it was fun because the customers were filled with holiday cheer. Families with excited young children who ask me if I worked for Santa, an older couple who was so eager for Christmas because it would be the first one in a while that all their family would be together. They took a lot of time choosing a tree because it had to be just perfect and after narrowing their selection to two ask me to pick because they weren’t sure which was best. All the shoppers’ enthusiasm was contagious so in spite of being very shy I soon was having little problem helping strangers with their purchases. I also discovered that a big smile and bright greeting on my part, generated more tips.
This awesome job came about because of my Dads older sister, my Aunt Hope. She was an enterprising single lady, who worked for a truck supply business. When a customer with a load of trees found himself delayed from his destination because of major break down of his rig, Aunt Hope went to work finding a lot she could rent for a short-term, had temporary electric service installed and went into partnership with the truck driver to sell the trees. And I was hired as a helper. Some years later I began to understand what a valuable gift she had given me. As I mentioned earlier I was very shy and prone to avoid challenges because of a lack of self-confidence, but I found the success I had selling the Christmas trees was something I could draw on when faced with new situations. I never ask her but I wonder if that was partly why, out of all her nieces and nephews, I was the one she offered the job to.
So this time of year brings memories of , keeping warm by a fire in a fifty gallon drum in the early morning chill, hot chocolate poured from a stainless steel thermos, gloves sticky with pine sap, laughter over the needles in our hair, the truck driver declaring it was the best lay-over he had ever had, and the feeling a young girl took away with her from being a part of something important. Thank you Aunt Hope.
I love buying greeting cards and can spend a shameful amount of time looking for the perfect one. This isn’t a problem for birthdays, anniversaries, etc. because then I’m shopping for one person at a time. However with Christmas and other universal holidays it can become a real project. The boxed type are o.k. for some on my list but for most I must have a just right individual card from the rack. So while popping into market just to get food for hound, what is the first thing I encounter front and center just inside the door, a large display of Christmas cards. I’m completely aware of marketing strategies and all that, but who could resist the allure of the bright colors, sparkly glitter, shiny foil, and bits of ribbon there on display. I was in quite a hurry, so told myself I’d just glance at a few and return when I had more time. Now I feel ashamed of my next actions, for mind you hound was at home waiting for her supper, still I spent over half an hour looking at the cards, selecting first one then another, putting some back when I discovered another that was just too perfect to pass up. Finally I pulled myself away with five cards in my hand and hurried to the pet aisle where I got kibbles, and out of guilt, a small bag of special treats. Exiting the store I notice the temperature has dropped for the sun is completely behind the mountains. This gives me another pang of guilt because hound does not like the cold and I can picture her curled up on her pad on the porch waiting for me. Aw but I have purchased five beautiful greetings that contain just the right sentiment and that makes me smile.
So I say okay that’s a start and it’s just a five minute drive home. Trouble is all five cards are for the same person, my grand-daughter.
I’m officially in the Christmas spirit. Just got home from watching our small towns’ 59th annual Christmas Parade. Oh yes it is still called a Christmas Parade; we have not been bitten by the PC bug as of yet. Not that we are an insular community, to the contrary, our populus is quite diverse for a small town. We have respect for each others culture and traditions and have a live and let live attitude as long as no one is being harmful.
This years theme was “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”. The floats and costumes were outstanding. Lots of green faced Grinches and sweet-faced Cindy Lou Whos with elaborate hair-dos. All the schools had entry’s, the marching band of our only high-school, sports teams and cheer squads. Girl and Boy Scouts, zumba dancers, ballet and gymnastics clubs, Yavapai-Apache Native American group in traditional dress, equestrian riders and horse-drawn carriages, wagons and one stage-coach. This is just a sampling as there were over a hundred entrys.
The parade participants toss candy and small trinkets to the children lining the route to watch. Business entrants hand out coupons and samples as they roll by. The air of festivity is accented by music and the tinkle of jingle bells. All together a wonderful event!
The most meaningful thing for me is the feeling of familiarity and continuity. Seeing the young women that were in Scouts with my daughter years ago who are Troup leaders today. Santa (who is my pharmacists) calling my name and warning me to be good because he is watching. My grandsons teacher saying “Merry Christmas, Nicks’ Grandma” and my little grand-niece’s sweet call of “Hey Auntie Carol” as she marched proudly by with her pre-school class . I was standing next to a teacher from the high-school and some of the big burly football players broke ranks to come give her a hug. One more reason I love living in this small town.
Now I can get out my gingerbread scented candles, fill a bowl with pine cones and peppermint candy canes , and start decking my halls because the Season of joy and Good News has officially began for me.