Christmas 2015 was great in our family

The great thing about the holidays, as you know, is when the family, or families, get together to cook and eat and open presents and play and count our blessings and eat.

Our Christmas was as good as it could be considering the absence of our youngest grandchild, Khloe – whom we haven’t yet seen – and her parents, along with our oldest grandson and oldest granddaughter. Then there was the weather that was more suited to swimming than to sledding.

Our Christmas was delayed a day to Saturday so that everyone could make it to the house of the old folks – that’s us. We had a wonderful time, as I hope you did. See whether any of our weekend sounds like yours.

Food played a big part, but then, it always does. We cooked a ham that was unanimously voted to be the best any of us had ever tasted. We had roasted vegetables – not sissy-sounding “veggies” that people have sunken to these days. There were potatoes of a recipe that my wife accidentally concocted years ago and became so popular that other members of our family also prepare them now. We had deviled eggs and macaroni and cheese and a traditional course called Watergate salad, which is green and sweet and a salad in name only; we forgot it was in the fridge and brought it out at the end of the meal and ate it for dessert.

By that time, we were too full to dig into JoAn’s chocolate pecan pies and Michelle’s chocolate chip bread pudding with rum sauce – a dish she invented several years ago to help put weight back on me when I was struggling. Fortunately, we were all hungry again the next day.

Just about everybody at our home became involved in creating the meal, and – this is more important than you’d think – helping clean up afterward. JoAn and I decided we had a good crew, after all. Opening gifts was a joyous occasion.

As the day neared an end, Nolan joined Nana JoAn for some quiet time, something a 9-year-old doesn’t have much of. Five-year-old Reagan and I were playing when she accidentally called me by good friend Jeff’s name. I said, “I’m Papa, remember?” and she took on a serious countenance, as though she had offended me, put down her toys and gave me a solemn, sturdy hug. I wish she would call me Jeff more often.

Jerry helped me with repairs to the house outside; “helped” in this case meaning “did most of the work” as we sweated in the humidity.

It’s a rare Christmas that JoAn asks me for an appliance, but she said our old vacuum cleaner had grown too heavy with the years. I put the new one together on Christmas evening and tested it in the living room, then the hallway, the dining room and the bedrooms.

JoAn agreed that the new vacuum was much better – perhaps because, at this point, she hasn’t actually touched it. That’s OK; the boss of the house shouldn’t have to do all the work at Christmas.

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