We are over the second hurdle of the Seasonal Fun Run and heading into the homestretch. There were a few obstacles getting down the backstretch — the election and all the folderol since being the biggest — but hopefully we can get through the next month and celebrate Christmas as it should be celebrated.
We had planned to go to Healy for Thanksgiving, but gave up that idea just after the first of November. We were going to fly but the prospect of wearing a mask for several hours in transit, plus waiting in the Anchorage airport for our connection to Fairbanks, then a two-hour drive to Healy wasn’t all that inviting. Besides it is cold up there! And of course, the governor’s message just a couple weeks before the holiday made us glad we had decided against traveling away from the peninsula.
So we missed visiting with the great-grandson. He is 6 now, and we Facetime on occasion, when he can slow down. Six-year-olds are pretty busy most of the time. He was a dragon for Halloween. He is into dinosaurs and can name them all. He builds fantastic Lego structures and likes “PAW Patrol.” He watches Disney movies over and over (and his mom knows the words to every Disney song!).
He tells me what he is doing in school. Right now it is the double E sound but he is having a little problem with the word ‘seal’ which does not have a double E. He goes to school some days and other days it is remote. It occurred to me that he thinks that is the way school is supposed to be. It is more fun, of course, on the days he can see his friends, but the computer days are OK because his grandma is his overseer, and we all know how grandmas are. She was a teacher in her other life, so she knows what she needs to do, but that Grandma thing sometimes crowds in and some lessons turn into cookie- baking sessions or walks with the dog.
The trip to Healy had been planned as a much needed respite from sheltering in place since March and that was a letdown. Hubby and I have been roommates for a good many years, but never one-on-one, 24/7 for 36 weeks, three days, four hours and 27 seconds. (Makes one respect the wisdom of a mother who cautioned “Spend a day together counting beans before you commit to spending your lives as one.” She didn’t add, “See who comes out alive.”)
Our #7 granddaughter prepared dinner for us and a couple of other relatives. And she did a really great job. She acknowledged in the beginning she didn’t have a clue about what she was doing, but didn’t want any major help. We contributed side dishes and desserts, par usual, and everything worked out well. Because she was the cook we didn’t even relegate her to the kids’ table. She didn’t say she’d do it again next year, but had a smile when we left.
So, we are headed into the homestretch on the way to Christmas. I wasn’t really primed for Thanksgiving anyway because we seemed to go from jazzed up Halloween straight to Christmas, with only a slight pause to acknowledge the ultimate food holiday. Walmart had their Christmas stuff out before Halloween, tucked back in the corner by the birdseed (that’s what we were shopping for) so the ghosts and witches could take the spotlight in the aisles. There may have been a turkey and pilgrim out there in the interim, if you looked quick and of course Hallmark Channel has been playing Christmas movies even before the last jack-o’-lantern burned out.
But here we are! Christmas came to Kenai on schedule, if a little modified and subdued from years past, but at least a semblance of tradition in a year when we are giving up a lot of normalcy. No big bazaars; no school concerts most likely unless done virtually (a word we didn’t even know last year). Charley Brown’s Christmas will be on TV again and the Grinch and Rudolph will be there to mark the holiday. I even heard that NORAD will be tracking Santa, as usual.
Even the most cherished tradition of gathering together in the church of our choice to remember the reason for the season will be a little subdued and may even be virtual (that word again) for some of us. This year let’s remember to rejoice that we are over the last hurdle and headed toward a more hopeful New Year.
The city has lighted the big spruce trees and buildings have their twinkle lights. When I see the lighted bear on the corner of Leif Hansen Park then I will know it is really Christmas and tradition is alive and well even this crazy year.