The Second Day of Christmas
In the traditional calendar, today is only the the second day of Christmas. But even die-hard church folks know that the holiday began about a month ago, on Thanksgiving weekend. And here where it is so dark, who isn't cheered by a string of bright lights on the porch in November? It was one for those Christmases that didn't quite work out, travel-plan wise. Sarah, Brian, and Caroline didn't make it to Wisconsin, as the Alaska Marine Highway chose to put the notoriously unreliable ferry Fairweather (and well named) on the Juneau-Haines route, and high seas and bitter cold kept it on port. When ferries don't run, it's less likely planes will fly, and snow in Juneau grounded them, too. With jet flights backed up from Alaska to Milwaukee they couldn't re-book for days and had to cancel. I know how much Brian's mother had looked forward to the visit and my heart went out to her. I'd cry every time I saw the crib in the guest room. The good news is they were able to Skype, and his family saw the way Caroline walks carefully for ten steps at a time now. Our church musician also didn't spend the holiday as she had planned. She traveled to Juneau early in the week and when the Christmas Eve ferry was canceled she couldn't get home for Midnight mass. Luckily, a music major here for the holidays with her family pinch hit and we had a piano to lead the carol sing-a-long. I do have one friend who decided that all of this anticipation for plans that get unplanned anyway was causing so much worry, that she was going to spend Christmas in bed. While the volume at my house went up and up, especially during the after dinner dice game and the visit from Zeb the Newfoundland pup who is now bigger than a table, her cozy snow-dusted home was no doubt nearly silent except for the cuckoo clock. She'd be sipping tea, listening to carols, reading and watching the Chickadees at the feeder. Other friends balanced the busy and quiet, with dinner for two at a cabin in the woods and book-end walks around the lake on Christmas Day, then invited friends and neighbors up for a Boxing Day party with a fire outside and chocolate, chili, and beer inside the cabin. Three of us hiked up in the fresh snow to toast the season with them, while the rest of the family played hockey at the Fairgrounds in a pick-up tournament. Afterward we sent off Eliza and her boyfriend Justin on the ferry back to Juneau, (now that it calmed down the big ferry was running, of course) and headed over to Brian and Sarah's for Pad Thai noodles (Brian cooked). The kids stayed to watch a funny movie, but Chip and I came home and listened the the Messiah after I realized I hadn't heard the whole thing yet this season. It was nice to sit by the stove together, but it is just as nice to know that for another week the lights will be on in the kids' bedrooms.