This is my favorite thing to cook for dinner when…
What a lovely Christmas! The last six days have been full of family, feasting, generosity and celebrations. This is a looong post:
Rob and I drove down on Thursday night to San Luis Obispo and arrived to a huge bowl of spaghetti and hungry family. We had a delicious dinner with my parents, aunt Lucie, brother Joe and nephew Cameron before hitting the sack.
The next morning was disrupted before dawn when Jean text messaged from Salt Lake City saying that her plane had an unscheduled landing due to technical troubles. Instead of being in San Francisco, she was trapped in an airport that her airline didn’t serve on a day of blizzard-fueled holiday travel nightmares. We spent the morning looking up flight, rental car and shuttle options in our pajamas and calling back and forth. At one, Rob and I left for our friend’s wedding with the news that Jean was on a plane to California.
Elizabeth, my friend from Junior High days, married Jason on schedule, outdoors and in the sun at 2:00 that afternoon. She looked so beautiful in her dress; so much so that she received a few hoots from a nearby construction crew! Her wedding was a lot of fun. We expected to see Jean when we got home at 8:00, but she was delayed again and wouldn’t make it home until late that night.
The next morning, we were all home and busy preparing for that night’s “Christmas Dinner.” Because Joe and Cameron were leaving Sunday, we decided to move up Christmas morning one day. We had a huge feast of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, creamed onions, cranberry sauce and snap peas that night.
Christmas morning was Sunday for our family; and it was mighty! We each received big stockings from “santa” and lots of thoughtful gifts. A few favorites included a cake decorating set and a silver vanity set that belonged to my great grandmother. We finished the day with the Christmas Eve service at our funny church full of familiar faces. And we followed that with a big lasagna dinner with “cousin-Jane” and her son.
On the actual Christmas morning, Rob and I had an unexpected visitor. A huge policeman banged on the door at 8:00 am to see if we were the owners of the car outside. Our car had been side-swiped by a drunk driver late the night before. The police had already found him (passed out in his car down the block) and arrested him before alerting us. We got the full report and called the insurance company before breakfast. The story even made the local paper the next day.
We borrowed a family car and drove out to visit with Rob’s sister, father and four nephews on Christmas morning. The adorable boys were so excited about the military-issue canteens that Rob had bought them. We took a hike with the boys later that afternoon with the canteens and their new walking sticks and headlamps. We stayed at the top of the hill until the stars came out and walked down in the dark.
Rob and I zipped back home for dinner and one of the funniest parts of the holiday. An outsider stumbling across our “Christmas” dinner would have thought we had had a very bad year. We were at the table around a bowl of salad and a box of crackers; bundled up in the cold. Of course, we were too stuffed to eat anything other than salad after three days of excess, and the heater was off because my mother prefers to live at sub-polar temperatures. We had a good laugh about it and kept joking that, “it will be better next year. Daddy will find work.”
Trent arrived on Tuesday morning when we were preparing for the third, and final, Christmas. My aunt, uncle and cousins arrived at noon for a festive lunch of turkey leftovers, cauliflower soup and scalloped potatoes. My oldest cousin had gotten engaged just a few days earlier. She is the first of the “Williams girls” to get engaged, a big deal. After lunch, we drove out to Morro Bay to pick up some fresh crab for dinner. Mmm…cracked dungeness crab with sourdough bread and melted butter is my favorite holiday tradition! After dinner, we opened our last round of presents and took a dip in the hot tub.
We did a little shopping and had lunch with Jean and Trent on Wednesday before packing up the car and driving home to San Francisco. It was great to be back at home although it felt really quiet without the family talking, the dog barking, the dishwasher running and the kettle whistling. What a great Christmas!