A quiet, white Christmas

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When I left work on Thursday at about 3, high winds were firing tiny ice darts (sleet, officially) into my exposed skin, as I cleared the car windows as quickly as I could. I stayed off the expressways and mentally charted a zigzag route home, avoiding any significant up- or down-grades. Closer to home that meant figuring a way to deal with the rise going west from Sheridan to Yale. A combination of neighborhood streets provided for a gentler climb with fewer cars. Then came the most fearsome challenge of all -- the driveway -- and I made it up on the first try.

We had finished all our last minute shopping on the 23rd, so there was no reason to get out on the roads. A 1:42 p.m. e-mail from the church office announced cancellation of the 11 p.m. Christmas Eve service. Within two hours, the 6 p.m. service had been canceled, too. No need to get out at all.

My wife had the older son get out the china and crystal and set it on a new, shiny, red tablecloth. For dinner, we had fish, crabcakes, crescent rolls, salad.

Throughout the afternoon and evening, as we cleaned, made dinner, ate, cleaned up, we watched out the window at the snow falling and swirling. Bedtime was later than usual on Christmas eve, as we bundled up and went out in the yard to see the snow glowing in the streetlights. The snow had piled high enough to fill the street from curb to curb. The 13-year-old took a half-yardstick with him. The white powdery stuff was about 7" deep through most of the yard, with some drifts as deep as a foot. It was still falling, still blowing. It was a real blizzard.

Back in the house, into warm clothes and ready for bed. We read through the Advent Book -- a beautifully illustrated volume with a numbered door on each page, a present from my parents a few years ago -- with the three-year-old finding and reading each number and opening each door, the 13- and nine-year-old reading the Christmas story found behind the doors, as the 13-year-old picked out "Once in Royal David's City" on his mandolin.

Late bedtime led to late wake-up time -- about 9. After looking through our stockings and opening presents, we had breakfast -- kielbasa, cinnamon rolls, eggs, and the clementines that Santa brought.

We had planned to have Christmas dinner at my mom and dad's, but with the roads packed with ice and snow, officials discouraging travel, and KRMG's Joe Kelley describing the scene as a combination of "Mad Max + Ice Planet Hoth," we all agreed to delay until Saturday. So there was no need to shovel the driveway, no hurry to get dressed and out the door. The only pressure I felt was making sure I got the kids bundled up and outside to play in the snow before the day was gone. They would have been content sitting close to the fire and playing with their gifts. The nine-year-old had a new SimAnimal game for her DS that kept her absorbed much of the day. The 13-year-old got lost in some Calvin and Hobbes books. The three-year-old had some new Cars Hot Wheels and a new double spiral track to use for racing them. He and I played the card game War by the fireplace. My wife had bought a DVD set of holiday TV episodes and movies. There was a Burns and Allen Christmas episode, and one from a series about the French Foreign Legion. We watched the Dragnet episode, from the original series, about the baby Jesus statue missing from a church nativity scene.

Lunch was simple -- leftover roast from earlier in the week. Plus more candy from the stockings.

Outside, we measured the snow -- 10" to 12" most places, with some drifts to 18", including one about that height in front of the garage door. Glad we didn't need to go anywhere. We got the sleds out and the kids rode them around the yard and down the little hill over the storm shelter. Efforts to use turn the swingset slide into a luge course were unsuccessful -- the sleds were too wide; so much for holding the 2018 winter games in our backyard -- but did not result in injuries. The kids played on the swings, with only a few inches clearance between the swing and the top of the snow.

While we played, mom got a well-deserved nap. She returned the favor a little while later. When I got up from the nap, they were watching Holiday Inn with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. Then OETA had the Red Green Christmas Special, and we learned how to make a complete Christmas dinner while driving your car. (Potatoes go in the hubcaps. Peas go in the radiator, but there's no good way to get them out. The fan doubles as a meat slicer.)

It may have been the most relaxing Christmas ever.

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recyclemichael said:

Tell your three year old that I got two new Hot Wheels in my stocking. I now have the green Lamborgini and the red Corvette.

Merry Christmas!

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on December 25, 2009 11:58 PM.

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