Tag Archives: Christmas

It Is Finished

30 Nov

On November 8th, I wrote that a long-time food pantry in Harford County was being hassled by government inspectors.  We have now been shut down – just in time for the holidays.

The week after that inspector had come by, we were told to go ahead. If you go into a store to purchase bagels, they are usually in a big bin, with a pair of tongs. They do not have a list of ingredients. If you stop at a deli for a sandwich, you have no idea what’s in the bread. Or the lunchmeat or mayo, for that matter.  Panera HQ couldn’t even give us the information we wanted! How’s that strike you?

Yesterday morning, a different inspector came by and told us that under no circumstances were we to continue giving food to the needy. They needed to purchase it just as everybody else does. Well, he didn’t say that, but this was federal, and you know how they feel about poor people.  Can we just do one more session, so folks will have food for Christmas? No, absolutely not.

And we have folded our tents, and will silently slip away. Silently, except for a whole lot of muttering and cursing under our breath.

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It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

23 Dec

Everybody’s getting sick.

An elderly couple at our church are in separate hospitals. He is very unsteady on his feet, and has been sleeping in the recliner, as he finds it easier to get up and down from there, rather than the bed. Monday morning, the caregiver found him sleeping on the floor. He had gotten up to go to the bathroom, and missed the chair when he went to sit back down. Rather than disturb her (she lives in) he just stayed there.

She couldn’t lift him, so she called 911 to have him taken for observation.

Then she went to the bedroom to get the wife out of bed and found her on the floor. She had had a stroke during the night, so there was another call to get an ambulance to take her to another hospital. She has bleeding in the brain, and things look “iffy”. He came back home this morning.

The Squire is continuing his personal tradition of sleeping through major holidays, and has come down with bronchitis.  He is sleeping in the guest room, and confined to quarters for the duration. I picked up bronchitis when I was in the hospital with my most recent stroke, so I am just praying that what he has is not what I had.

Have had to contact any number of folks to tell them we will not be attending Holiday parties, etc. The only bright spot is that he didn’t get this when we had our Open House. That would have been just wonderful.

Or not.

Christmas is a’Comin’

7 Dec

We have had an Open House on the third Sunday in Advent almost every year since we got married (one year the place was still a demolition area following a hurricane) and I am currently in the throes of baking cookies. Most of the “goodies” are store-bought, but my cookies have to be homemade. Two batches this afternoon, and I’ll try to get at least one more done tomorrow. Eldest daughter makes the world’s best chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies, and she has offered to take care of that for us. We have friends who are on a gluten free diet, some are vegetarians, and some will eat anything, so there’s a lot of special stuff going on in my kitchen. Everything but kosher, but since I don’t eat meat, we could probably pass muster on that, too. (I even found GF Matzo at Wegman’s!)

Thursday, BFF and I went to IKEA for breakfast, and then just wandered around for a while. That place is fantastic for just putzing around, even if you don’t actually buy anything. I did purchase a HUGE, soft, squishy, floppy elephant for our Virginia great-grandson, and then we went off to Barnes & Noble looking for The Saggy-Baggy Elephant to put in the box along with it. Not in stock, but I can pick it up at the store one day this week.

I also purchased a nice, sturdy walk-off rug to put in the dining room. We figured with two responsible adults and no kids we could safely put down pale blue carpets. Ha! I go barefoot most of the time. The Squire has to keep his shoes on, but he’s good about wiping his feet both before he comes in and in the kitchen. I think the four-footed members of the household bring in the lion’s share of the dirt. The carpets always look as if they are in need of a good scrubbing.

Well, if you say so...

Well, if you say so…

We had a Christmas Bazaar yesterday at church, and I found three “elephant” books on the children’s table (all brand new Scholastic books), Dumbo, and two Winnie the Pooh books, so grandson will have lots to read his young’un.  I need to get this in the mail – after the party, please! – and The Squire found a carton in the recycling at church this morning that he swore was big enough. Well, getting that silly elephant into that box was a trick worthy of Maru, the Japanese “box cat”.  Add four books and two small gifts, and the blasted box may explode!

From the Ridiculous to the Sublime

29 Dec

Last Christmas, I told you about our rector’s adventures with Baby Jesus on a zip-line. This year, at Midnight Mass, he told us the rest of the story.

Apparently, Fr. Casimir (for want of a better name) always liked to have some sort of pageant for the Christmas service. These events were generally followed by the question, “Did anyone get hurt?”

On the Christmas Eve in question, the congregation was first entertained by a fist-fight in the narthex; the matter under discussion being who was going to play the back end of the camel. As part of the pageant, in addition to the camel, there was an ancient husky dog, who was to play the “schzeep” – the sheep – who had not been walked before he took his place the procession, with the obvious results, so people were having to side-step certain obstacles in the aisle.

After the Baby Jesus had descended from the clouds, with such spectacular results, it was time for the Magi to be led to the manger by a star. Fr. Casimir had attached a HUGE star to a twenty-foot bamboo pole, and asked the smallest child in the parish to “go even unto Bethlehem”.

The pole was both top-heavy and very flexible, and the child was having a extremely difficult time staying under the center of gravity. Stagger to the left, stagger to the right, shimmy this way, try to avoid the chandeliers, and suddenly the star began falling forward. The young man raced to keep up with his burden, stepped when the dog had unburdened himself, and the entire business came crashing down, landing on the karaoke machine (don’t ask!) and shorting out every light in the building.

Fr. Casimer shouted out “Proszę zapalić świeczkę!” (Please light a candle!) which was the cue for the children’s choir to begin processing, candles in hand, singing Panis Angelicus. And so, we went from the ridiculous spectacle surrounding us to the sublime beauty of cherubic voices singing heavenly songs.

And so it is with life. We go from the ridiculousness of everyday life, with its silliness and sorrows, and step into the sublimity of God’s presence. It is our job, now, to bring this sublimity back out into the world, to bring sanity where there is madness, and peace where there is turmoil.

And maybe a bit of joy and jokes along the way.