The Civilized Christmas

There was a power outage during the transition from Christmas Eve to Christmas Day. I’m secretly convinced it was Santa, protesting the total lack of cookies and milk and carrots for the reindeer. He did drop off Jessica’s gift on the front porch, though. I guess by the time he gets to Albion, he’s too tired to mess around with chimneys and things like that.

I feared the worst, since I know Albion is low priority for power restoration (which is why my brother has a generator), but it came back on in less than two hours and – thankfully – in time for coffee. After coffee, my sister and I took Schatzi for a muddy walk during a sunny break in the rainy day. Just minutes after we returned, it started raining and hailing and looking a lot like Christmas.

Jessica and her mother arrived sometime after noon in a flurry of hugs and kisses. It’s so great having a rental kid for Christmas: getting to sleep in and getting the wide-eyed wonder. Naturally, Jessica was the exception to the stockings only rule, and it was fun watching her open her gifts, which included no fewer than ten books. She is already reading the “Little House” books, and has written a letter herself to Neil Gaiman – and received a response, handwritten in fountain pen. Look out, world!

After the presents, we all pitched in to make dinner. The boys cut apple wood, put it in the barbecue, and set the ham to smoke with a maple-bourbon glaze for a couple of hours, while my sister made pie from the huckleberries she picked this summer and I made my world-famous cheese biscuits. Oven-roasted vegetables and mashed potatoes rounded out the meal (and us)!

After dinner, my brother read some of Jessica’s new books aloud, and I have to say, he really inherited Dad’s gift for reading stories to an audience. We were all mesmerized as he did all the voices. I think we may have a new Christmas tradition on our hands.