My parent's Portuguese Aruban gardener, always began to speak of Christmas in July. "Mrs. Thompson," said Keith each week when he came to tend the grass, the bougainvillea and hibiscus, tap on the palm trees to fell the coconuts and overfertilize and thus kill, the potted plants, "Christmas is upon us." Mom said it was Keith's way of priming her for his annual holiday bonus, lest she forget.
Well, here in Seattle, Christmas is indeed upon us. There is no way we could possibly forget Christmas. The trees at my daughter's houses have been trimmed and many of the ornaments hail from their childhoods. Caroline's made her fabulous caramels, Jeanne's still making batch after batch of Bama's chocolate peanut clusters, Kate and I wrapped special New Year's gifts for all seven of Mom and Dad's grandchildren, school vacation has begun. Two more days and we'll be steaming the Christmas pudding, stirring three homemade soups, scuttling errant wrapping paper and celebrating this very family day. I assume the day will be rainy and we'll be stepping in muddy puddles, just as we have for the last eight days.
Yesterday, Kate and I drove down to Gig Harbor to see Chris and Heather. Never been to their home and having seen it and their dining room with Mom and Dad's table and chairs, I have visions of a big family pot luck there next summer. They have a very impressive fireplace. And the back of their property is a great wood hill. More places for kids to play and hide, and camp out in a tent someday.