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Monday, December 16, 2013

Monday Musings - Winter/Holiday Edition.

Our Christmas stockings were really the highlight of the day - unfortunately for my parents, we had no mantle on which to hang them, so they were hung on the end of our bed frames.  This was no problem for my sisters - those sisters who fell right to sleep and slept through anything.  This was a problem for me.  And for my poor, sleep-deprived parents.  I was so jigged about Santa coming that I could not sleep a wink!  They had to wait me out.  I think they were greatly relieved when I found out there was no actual Santa Claus.  In our stockings, among the tangerines, gold covered chocolate coins, and new pair of socks, were some real treasures - a horse model (oh Heaven!), handknit mittens (from Mama Claus), tool kit (oh Double Dog Heaven!)  Whatever we received, we were thrilled beyond words to get it.  I remember sitting on the floor in the living room, my parents on the sofa, coffee in hand, while we took turns opening ours and bringing them their gifts, too.  It was a wonderful time.

Why I do not have a live (or any) Christmas tree.  Simple:  Catz.  Back in a prior life, when I was married, we had a great house that just cried out for a Christmas tree.  So off to the back half acre I went and cut down a nice-sized tree.  I had been schlepping ornaments around with me on my multiple moves for years - how nice to be able to actually display them!  The tree went up, lights and ornaments went on, a festive, holiday adult beverage was enjoyed by the fire and then off to bed.  I should interject here that we had two cats - Figaro and Newton (get it? nudge, nudge, wink, wink)  Fig was a lunatic and Newton was my boy.  Very early Christmas morning I awoke, blinked and blinked again.  My half of the bed was completely covered with ornaments.  Only my half.  Ex got nada.  Says something for the wisdom of catz...  Of course, I am implying that this was a GOOD thing.  Ahem.

As I gingerly slid from underneath the covers, I put on my slippers and followed the trail of ornaments through the hall, down the stairs and.....there was the bare nekkid tree.  With Fig firmly ensconced in the lights, trapped like a rat.  It took me 10 minutes just to get him loose.  I removed what little was left on the tree, pulled on my boots and coat, and dragged the tree outside where I propped it in the corner of the deck and let the birds enjoy it.  That was the first - and last - Christmas tree.  I would hate to think what would become of one today - OnceSlim the Flying Squirrel, Kramer The Tooth and Jabba the Cookie would make short work of it.

One of my most outstanding winter memories involved the West Side Market in Cleveland, Ohio.  For those of you who have not experienced this gem, I weep for you.  It is the thing I miss most about anywhere I've ever lived.  And that's saying something.  (Except for Els in Holland.  But she's not a thing, she's a wonderful, kind, talented friend and I miss her something terrible.)  Deep one winter, the winter before I was to move to the Netherlands, coincidentally, I was renting a tiny apartment in the upstairs of an old Victorian house located in an historic district (Ohio City) of Cleveland.  It was a Saturday and there was a full-blown blizzard underway.  I was all snug in my tiny nest, reading A Year in Provence, by Peter Mayle.  About one third of the way into the book, I was overcome by an immediate need to have a baguette, cheese and a bottle of wine.  (If you've read the book, you will understand the urgency.)  So I put on fifteen layers of clothes and battled my way against wind and snow to the market - about a half-mile as the crow flies (or flew - as this is past tense...).  I walked through the door and was overcome by the smells of smoked meat, coffee, pastries.  It was warm and the lights reflecting in the tiled interior were all golden.  I swear I heard angels singing.  I made my purchases (including fresh butter and homemade jam for the rest of the baguette in the morning) and trudged my way home.  It was marvelous.

16 comments:

  1. Oh I love your stories I was laughing smiling and even drooling that would have been the smoked meat and, coffee and pastries story oh yes still drooling. Thank you for making me smile and laugh out loud this morning. Hug B

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    1. Buttons - You would love the market! It has been around for years and years, some vendors are third generation - and I do believe there was drooling on my part, too.

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  2. Love love love the West Side Market. I totally was there with you in your description, including the Victorian house in Ohio City. Perfect.

    Too bad about the tree, but one has to be realistic. At least you have a firm sense of what you're up against. I'm thankful Sally's not interested beyond a sniff or two.

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    1. Linda - Isn't it the best? And in the spring/summer/fall with all the produce stands surrounding it? Oh, how I love it!

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  3. Hmmm, almost enough to make me want to get a cat. Then I'd have an excuse for not putting up a tree anymore. (Only animal/tree problems we've ever had was when our demented Cocker Spaniel pulled the tree over [twice] trying to eat the popcorn strings.)

    Signed,
    Mrs. Scrooge

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    1. Dear Mrs. Scrooge - You can always use your granddog as an excuse, although he looks way too sweet to get into that much trouble!

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  4. I must have a baguette, cheese and a bottle of wine now. thanks.

    ;p

    xoxox

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    1. GWFW - Oh, how sad that I cannot eat a baguette. Somehow, a gluten free baguette just won't make it.

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  5. You have so many diverse experiences, now memories!

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    1. Michelle - Oh, yes. I have enough fodder for years.... :)

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  6. That's the only thing I miss about not living in town. Although, I couldn't have a horse or goats in an apartment. lol. (well, maybe a goat.)

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    1. SFG - I never had a goat in an apartment, but I did raise button quail and have a pet skunk once. Needless to say, I was not popular with my neighbors.

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  7. Oh my gosh...that cat story is hilarious! Just before I read it I was explaining to our dear cat that the tree is for looking at and she's not allowed to touch it...as some of the ornaments were still swinging from her just ended bapping session with them. This is her first Christmas and it might get interesting...between her and the dog! We just decorated it last night. I could see her making a trail of ornaments as she loves to carry things around in her mouth.

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    1. ATO - Better keep an eye on your adorable kitten. They can just not help themselves when faced with the Mt. Everest of shiny things!

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  8. Those kind of memories are the best! Worth the trudge :)

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  9. I just put that book on hold at the library, will read!

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