Those of us who live in the northwoods are ready for Santa. All our cards and packages have been sent. There is a steady stream of incoming cards and packages. Christmas trees have been cut in the back lot. At our house we have an “organic” tree – it’s from the grove of trees between our garden and the side road. Yesterday Bruce put on the lights. My job is the ornaments. It is one of our better efforts.
Meanwhile at the lodge we have a lots of guests coming and going. Most of the pre-Christmas guests left on the 23rd. Nine new parties checked in and most of them will be with us through Christmas. When they leave, we will have the New Year’s guests. It is all great fun since many of them are repeat guests.
There will be nine at our dinner table on Christmas. Tom and Melissa from Tucker Lake with Melissa’s sister and brother-in-law will be there. Sheryl from the lodge will come down. Our two Jamaican girls, Crystale and Ashenna, will also join us. I had to warn them that Christmas food is pretty bland by their standards. Bruce says that Norwegians (me) think salt and pepper are exotic spices.
In our house we always eat Christmas dinner around 1:00. This dates back to when Butchie and Charlie, our Native American neighbors, would join us. They always liked to be home before dark so an early dinner gave them plenty of time to be sociable. It was always fun to have them for dinner. As you may know, neither of them could read or write but they had perfect table manners. One time I saw Butchie elbow Charlie and tell him to use his salad fork. They learned by watching us and there was never a miscue. We always sent them home with fixings for sandwiches that night.
In fact, I enjoy a leftover sandwich about 8:00 p.m. almost as much as I enjoy the main meal. There are only 9 of us for dinner but we have a 20 lb. turkey just to make sure that there are plenty of leftovers to send home with everyone and still leave some for me. I will make enough dressing, and mashed potatoes to feed an army. Bruce carves and does the gravy. Melissa brings the cranberry relish, green bean casserole and chocolate pie. Sheryl brings rice pudding. The girls are bringing cornmeal muffins. I love Christmas cookies and that is the problem so I don’t make them anymore.
Of course, all four of the kids will check in during the day. I’ll call my sister and my good friend Bev in Grand Marais. It’s Bev’s fault that I am here at all but that story will have to wait for another day. There are two different versions of the story depending on whether Bruce or I am telling.
At any rate, Bruce and I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.