And all through the house, hardly a creature was stirring, except for a weiner dog with his new toy mouse.
After the sunny days of Christmas today has brought in gray overcast, making any lighting in the house seem warm and cheerful.
Doyle, Louise, Brian and I spent Christmas Day at my Brother and Sister-in-law's house and she served a wonderful feast. Turkey and stuffing, yams with melted marshmallows, brocolliie with cheese sauce, cranberry sauce and chicken gravy, roasted small new potatoes with butter melted on top, green beans served amondine, fresh baked rolls, butter, olives and sweet pickles for garnishes, baked butternut squash, followed for a later desserts a choice of Apple, Dutch apple crumb, peach, and pecan pie with or without ice cream (vanilla), coffee or spiced tea, sparkling apple cider or hot spiced cider, and for the adults wine either white or red.
My Sister in laws stove was put to a heavy duty test and with two microwaves to re-heat anything that got too cool, and there were plenty of guests, besides my little party and my brother's family there was my sister in laws Mother, her aunt and her husband, a neighbor and his wife and their children, which made for a very busy and noisy household, but my sister-in-law had it all carefully planned and laid out, having taken some lessons from me.
I was happy to hear from my Sister before we left to go to my brother's place, she was enjoying being with her family in Sacramento and enjoying the grandchildren, her latest one now just over a year old was born on Halloween over a year ago, which should make for a fun birthday party time as she gets older. And her other younger daughter is getting married, this coming June----I pray it will not be a "bridezilla" situation, and her older daughter and son-in-law are in the process of buying a house in the Sacramento area, the one they are in is rental and they've had enough, as I was told the time was right, the price was right, the house although needing work (a 1912 Craftman) has lovely bones, the location is right, and the terms are right. I couldn't be happier for them, and the deal should be finalized by New Year's Eve. And her oldest son and his wife and family are transferring back to California, where he will finish out his 20 year hitch in the military. What a way to start the new Year!
I was happy to convey that news to my brother and family. Celebrations will become very interesting in the future.
It was good to spend time with my brother and his family, my sister in law banished video games and loud music, no televison, just conversation and board games with an occasion nibbling on the left overs, no gift exchanges were done then, what we did was give our gifts to my brother just after the party I had so the children could open them either Christmas Eve or Christmass morning, except the children wanted to give Belladonna and Weiner Dog gifts who came with us, new sweaters and chew toys, the squeeky mouse Weiner just pounced upon and squeek and squeek, some times he'll come up silently behind someone and then squeek his mouse when we least expect it, making us jump. Who says dogs don't know how to pull a trick on their humans?
Then it was late and time to go home, Coralline came with us as she is spending the week between Christmas and New Years with Doyle and I, I told her that it might be a bit dull for her but she said she didn't mind, her homework was done she just needed to do a reading assignment, and as soon as we got home the first thing she said as we walked into my house was "Hello you wonderful Old House!" and did a little pioret in the entrace foyer, Doyle and I looked at each other and sort of nodded about her greeting.
Doyle is going to visit his family in San Diego after the New Years holiday, his assignments kept him in our local area, which he is happy to finish up.
Coralline and her friend Marissa go back and forth between our homes, they take the dogs for a walk as long as either Doyle, myself or Marissa's older brother is with them. Although our street is realitivly safe, one never knows.
They've made a friend of a young boy on the block Christian, but he prefers to be called Chris, he's the same age as Coralline I would have thought he'd be into video games like most boys his age or like Coralline's siblings but his parents are very strict on such things, they don't mind using the computer for e-mail and researching things but things like X-box and video games are not allowed, he's home schooled by his Mother but having interaction with Coralline and Marissa is good, and his parents plan on school type outings with other home schooled children, there are a few home schooled children but not many and to make friends with children on our block is important.
Marissa's parents introduced me to Chris's parents and I invited them over for coffee, so we'd get to know each other, I was afraid they'd be ultra Christian or fundamentalists but no, they wanted their son to have a certain educational advantage, he will be going into a private school after next summer so he can aquire what credits he needs to go into college. He is a bright young boy and very gentle with the dogs.
As a matter of fact Chris's parents were a little afraid of me, I mean who else would rent a hearse with an antimated coffin with a vampire rising out of it to put in front of one's house for Halloween, and of course the Grim Reaper in front with fog rising and to be greeted at the front door by a female vampire with fangs could for some be a little heart stopping. I took them on a tour of my home, and I think they expected a live lion to come walking down the stairs or the stair treads rising and them meeting "Spot".
Once I explained myself as best as I could to Chris' folks they relaxed a little, although I was glad that Coralline and Marissa didn't get dressed in black dresses, part their hair in the center and have long braids and carry headless dollies, that might have put them off. Of course it was hard explaining why I had a guilotine in the basement storage area, just off the laundry room, I told them I was storing it for a friend of mine until it could be moved. Yes Darklings---I have a guilotine in my basement----temporarily.
I've got plans for us for New Years, there is this place that will be open which will be perfect for fun family entertainment and Coralline has not been there, I ran it by both Marissa's and Chris's parents and they liked the idea although we'd go in our own individual cars incase any of the children became too sleepy and anyone needs to leave early. Marissa's folks will have dinner at their house and we'll all meet and eat there and then we'd re-group at the location.
But New Year's Day will be a lazy day, sleep in, then go out to have breakfast, I'm not sure what else, its sort of a feeling of having left an enchanted land of fun and wonder when the Christmas Holidays are over, and the internal fear that if you leave it you can never capture it again.
Unfortunately time marches on, the weather conditions change things get warmer, green leaves pop out, snow melts, for adults it's facing the bills to be paid, going to work, dealing with transportation and all the problems that develop. The child-like wonder slips away like a dream that one can just barely remember.
Come the Day closest to 3 Kings Day will be time to take down the Christmas decorations, the live root ball trees will be donated to be planted in some forest or park, the live no-longer cut trees will be put out onto the curb to be collected by the Boy Scouts or other group to be made into mulch for plantings. The decorations will be carefully boxed up and stored away in their various areas the attic, basement, shed or garage, photo's from the holidays developed and hopefully labeled and put into albums, the Christmas card list gone over to check for updated addresses, and resolutions to lose weight because our clothing is a little tighter.
There is a child's amusment park here in the East Bay called "Children's Fairyland" it was built in 1950 as a family amusement park geared towards little children and was the inspiration for Walt Disney's Disneyland. But this is a gentler amusment park with all the storybook characters like the old woman in the shoe, Mother Goose, the three little pigs, Alice in Wonderland, the reluctant dragon, Hickory Dickory Dock, and other Mother Goose tales.
But they have a policy no adult can enter without a child to accompany them, just adults without children are banished from this fairyland, when I've taken walks around there with Doyle I've often looked at the entrance with longing, remembering the times when I and my younger siblings visited there with our parents.
And now slowly the magic of the Holiday season is slipping by, leaving us behind, the fairytale memories becoming dreams.
It's like that last line in the song "Toyland" 'once you've crossed its borders you can never go back again'.
And now Weiner Dog has startled me with his squeeky mouse, Hmmm nothing like a dog to bring one down to earth.