Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Winter scene

Summertime here is oppressive. We walk daily because we have to just to stay fit. But walking in winter is a joy. This morning I felt like the Michelin man. I cacoon'd up in several layers of clothes and headed out.

We had freezing fog which is something we rarely have here. It coated leaves and limbs. I snapped a picture of the blueberry bushes which had frosty leaves. It felt good to be alive.


Monday, December 10, 2018

Looking like Christmas ~ my column from Sunday's paper

Christmas time starts off slowly. We don’t even acknowledge the holiday until the Thanksgiving turkey has digested and we’ve eaten the leftover dressing in creative ways. You haven’t had dressing until you’ve had it pressed and toasted in a waffle iron. But this past weekend, I fetched a half dozen plastic storage containers from the storage shed and each day something new appears on the mantle or in my bathroom. It’s beginning to look like Christmas here.

Christmas lights around here are blooming like flowers. Each time we drive home after dark, we see another home with lights strung around the eves and in the yard. For years my mom was the queen of Christmas yard-art. The family always spent Thanksgiving afternoon propping up plywood snowmen, sleighs with a fat Santa and his reindeer. She kept her Christmas lights in garbage bags. I know that the Good Book said that Job had patience but untangling mama’s Christmas lights would have made him cuss like a sailor.

Jilda always helped her mom Ruby decorate at her home. Ruby didn’t scrimp on Christmas decorations in her house. She had two Santa figures that stood about 18 inches tall. Those Santa figurines looked so real I half expected to hear their reindeer snort as the fat guy dragged his sack down the chimney. They were the first things you saw at Christmas when you walked into her living room.

Before Ruby died, she gave Jilda those Santas. Now they spend the Christmas holidays on our mantle.

Through the years, our friends have given us other Christmas items. Our friends Wes and Deidra gave me a fly-fishing Santa complete with a fly rod and a trout basket. Keith and Roberta Watson (no relation) gave us a small Christmas country church scene.  When Jilda worked at Wallace State College in the 1980s, her friend Beverly gave her Christmas bears.

On our coffee table is a tiny Nativity scene that Sharkey and Ruby bought us shortly after Jilda and I married. It looks as if it were carved from ivory. Once we did babysit duty for my nephew James and his wife Andrea while they attended a Christmas party. While the kids were there, Stone was fascinated with the Nativity scene. There was a small accident with the coffee table. Sheep, camels, and donkeys were scattered all around the great room. “Baby Jesus, come back," Stone pleaded as he peered under the couch. Jilda fetched a wooden pasta spoon with which we were able to reach the sleeping infant and pull it back to the safety of the Nativity scene. I laughed hard that I almost had a hygiene issue.

This weekend we’ll go to the Christmas Tree Farm where we go each year and pick out a tree that we can plant after the new year.

While she decorates (I’m not allowed to handle some of the “special ornaments”) I’ll put up the exterior decorates which include a Christmas Pig, Christmas Chicken, three small trees, and a bicycle.

Yes, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.



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Sunday, December 09, 2018

A good day

The schedule was sparse today. The only thing we wanted to do for sure was to pick up a Christmas tree. We chose the same kind of tree we had last year. A blue ice cedar. It's a beautiful tree.

An older gentleman at the tree farm that could have doubled as Santa, helped us. After picking out the tree and settling up with the cashier, I headed out to bring the truck up to load the tree.

Santa guy started giving me instructions on setting up and caring for a live tree. Jilda and I both listened politely. When he paused, we told him we'd planted our last 35 Christmas trees. It took a moment for that to sink in with him. He smiled and said, "I'll get the kids to load it for you." 

It's a beautiful little tree. After Christmas, we'll find the right place on the farm where it fits and adds to the feng shui and what not. 

After the tree thang, we ate left-over dumplings which are always better on the second day. Then we took a long rainy nap.

I woke up with Ol' Hook and Caillou both sitting by the couch and watching me sleep. They didn't get to walk this morning and they weren't about to let that slide. 

Even though it was late, Jilda and I took them out. Most of the heavy rain had moved off to the northeast, but there was a mist in the air thick enough to lick. 

It's been a good day. I hope yours has been too.

Saturday, December 08, 2018

It rained today

It rained today.

Hard.

I had to shoot pictures in the rain.

Did I mention that it rained today?

Hard? 

Tonight, it's raining.

Hard.

I know because it's making random rhythms on the roof.

My coat and hat hang dripping on the shower stall rack.

Jilda had chicken and dumplings cooked when I walked in the door.

Did I mention that I LOVE chicken and dumplings?

There is no better food when it's raining.



Friday, December 07, 2018

A little color on a rainy day

It felt like winter today even though the solstice is still two weeks away. I wasn't as frigid as it's been the last few days, but with a heavy mist, it felt much colder. The sky lightened once but the sun never broke through.

Today was laid back. We ran to the craft store to buy Jilda some paint to start on her Christmas cards. Afterward, we went by the produce stand. The family that ran the business since I was in high school, closed it a few months ago.

When we heard that another family was reopening, we were giddy.  We buy a LOT of fresh produce and raw honey.

We spent a good bit of time in the car and didn't have many steps so when we got back home we decided to walk.

While waiting for Jilda to get Taz the wonder Yorkie's sweater and halter on, I took the big dogs to the field and jogged in place to get some steps. The only color visible was the blueberry bushes. They are showing out right now.

I'm on call at the paper tomorrow. I'll have to shoot parade pictures, a Jingle Bell Run, and a toy distribution event at one of the local charities.

It's supposed to rain all day so it won't feel so bad having to work...or at least that's what I'm telling myself.





Thursday, December 06, 2018

Mushroom Village

I covered the launch of a partnership between Bevill State Community College and Mercedes-Benz this morning. It was a big deal for this community. Students who go through the co-op program have an opportunity to train with the Mercedes plant in Vance, Alabama and get jobs that pay more than most Liberal Arts graduates.  It's a big deal for our community. 

After the event, I came home to work at my office here. I had several stories that were on the cusp of being print-worthy so I tapped keys.

Jilda stuck her head in the door and asked if she could interest me in a brisk walk. It was still chilly outside, but the sun was out and a walk sounded good.

On the first lap, Jilda pointed out a photo op that I had missed. It was a mushroom village that appeared overnight. I thought mushroom liked warm wet weather, but apparently, there are some that wear sweaters.


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