Home for the Holidays
Saturday morning I filled a box of homemade cookies-by-the pound to get ahead with my "baking" and support the Salvation Army, walked in the snow to the last holiday craft bazaar at the ANB Hall, and found some nice soap and candles, bread and chocolate, and a maple leaf ornament, ran home, ate a little lunch and snow-shoed in the still-falling snow ( perfect- soft and fluffy and 20 degrees) up to Lily Lake.
The snow piled up as we drank a pint of porter, and then we watched the annual holiday parade-- which was wonderful even without the original Snow Dragon. He was in storage since his handler is spending the holidays with her daughters down south, and feels that the dragon is too old and and fragile to be paraded down Main Street without her guidance. It was nice not to be hauling that 50 pound fire extinguisher that I usually make the "smoke" for the dragon's fire breath with, and to actually watch the parade without a real crisis to blame. (The only other year I have been on the sidelines was the Christmas after I was run over by the truck.)
The good news is, that while Grandpa Dragon was home all wrapped up and safe, a lighter, prettier dragon ( she has red and white calico skin) entertained us, thanks to the magical quick work of the young puppeteers, and a darling little baby dragon toddled behind her. Next year, the parade can have all three dragons in a kind of Haines version of a Goldilocks story. Also, the Star Wars Jedi Knights patrol maintained the Haines holiday zany-ness, as did the marching band playing traditional carols, Santa on his fire truck, and for the first time two floats of miners-- including a huge front end loader advertising HECLA-Greens Creek.
The parade only lasted about 20 minutes but that gave more time for the supper at the Legion and to get to the Arts Council event, what with the slow driving in all that snow. (A foot plus..) The Haines Uglys, who sponsor Gifts for Grub to make sure all our children have a happy Christmas, have basically taken over for the now defunct Elks Club, the way the new dragons are filling the void of the old one, and at the Arts Council concert later that evening, Cosmo Fudge did the same thing, emceeing in a whole new way with his own sweet sincerity.
Cosmo bravely and kindly said he wasn't much of a Christmas guy, but choked up a little when he said this is the season for forgiveness and talked about his father, and said he wanted to read us a story like his dad used to read to him. I'm not sure of Cosmo's story, anymore than any of us are sure of another's. But I am so glad he is here, and sharing his talent and time to make community life richer. The entertainment was kind of all over the place, like the parade, with electric guitars in one set and a banjo in the next, and Cosmo reading sections of that very funny story in between them. It had nothing to do with the holidays or even winter and instead included a summertime southern car chase, a man being towed on a bicycle behind a speeding car, police, catfish, mud, butter for a pie crust, and a wounded private part, but was as fitting as the dragon in emphasizing the joy and delight of this season in this place, with goodwill towards everyone.
I only made it to intermission before I caught the cold racing through town, and it went from bad to worse so fast that I missed Sunday's Holly Jolly Follies. ( I didn't want to spread bad cheer..)
The weather service was correct, and the snow really did turn to nasty rain and wind last night, which makes this a good day to sleep in and stay by the fire.
In this long, stormy, dark nearly winter solstice morning, I listened to the rain and wind strafe the house, and the radio reports of shin deep slush on the roads, and was about to groan, when Cheri signed on for the Sound Waves show at 8:15, announcing, " It's a winter wonderland out there." There was not a trace of sarcasm as she reminded us how comforting and typical this cozy by-the-fire and cookie baking weather is, "and isn't it nice it has finally warmed up?"
And that-- all of it-- is why Haines is home, especially for the holidays.