Had someone told me back in March that we would be spending Christmas on the front porch of David and Michelle's place, frankly, I would not have believed them

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  Those were the days when the pandemic was in its infancy, at least to our knowledge. In our instant gratification society, what can't be solved quickly? As we are continuing to learn, Covid-19 has turned the world upside down, an has been anything but a quick fix. Florida, with our large retirement population, has now had, more than 21,000 deaths to date. Heck the United States has lost 332,000 folks to this deadly virus. Imagine those astounding numbers for a moment.....291,000 American lives were lost in battle in WW11, so less than what has happened in the last nine months!! Although the vaccines are bringing hope to this sad state of affairs, it will be many more months, if not years before we can all breathe a sigh of relief.

That said, if you have not had someone close to you almost die, it is relatively easy to assume it will happen to someone else. We know better. If Cris could get it, anyone can. Which is why we continue to live very cautiously, including on Christmas when we met up with our in-town family on the porch in spite of it being darn cold. In the last nine months I've been inside another persons home just twice, both of which made me uneasy. I hate feeling that way, but if I want to know, say in two years from now, how I really felt during these tumultuous times, I have to record it like it is. And yes, we do play pickleball with folks, but we keep our distance, both on the court, and in between games. Without that activity we would probably be stark raving mad by now!

But back to Christmas, we slept in until around 7!! First thing, I checked the outside thermometer to see just how cold it was. Never as cold as predicted but the first time in years it has not been hot. 



Woo hoo! And while it is not a traditional Christmas Eve dinner, I'd made a quiche because Nancy brought a sweet pie plate to me during her last visit and I wanted to put it to use. Thus, we had quiche for dinner, followed by quiche for breakfast on Christmas morning. Maybe it was the pie plate, who knows, but it was probably the best one I'd ever made, so having it for several meals was no problem at all. Quiche Lorraine with home grown chives should you be wondering. Lard crust too!

I cannot remember the last time it was cold on Christmas so having it be in the upper 30's was a real treat. Shoot, I never get to wear my long jammies so being able to do so was the first gift of the day. Followed by a lengthy Facetime chat with Matt and Tom who had just finished their Christmas lunch. We opened gifts along with just plain enjoying each others company. After a good long while I mentioned that perhaps they were tired of looking at a screen to which they replied that that is how they spend their work days, staring at screens. London, as you have probably already read, is back on lockdown, what they term Tier 4, meaning not much of anything is open aside from grocery stores. With a fast spreading variant of the Coronavirus appearing in London, the government is taking no chances. 

That would be Tom sporting his cracker crown. A few days earlier we received this lovely arrangement from them to brighten our Christmas table.

It is still beautiful five days later...hurray for In Bloom florist.  Speaking of tablescapes, this year Bruce left it up to me to make the chest in the entryway look festive, something I am not very good at. Still, I gave it my best shot.

Oops, I've gotten ahead of myself. Even before the quiche was warmed up Mr. Peck turned on the television to watch Hallmark. While I moan and groan at the predictability of their movies, they are sweet and soothing aren't they?

You might note that there are very few gifts this year and the little we had were most decidedly in front of the tree as there was no room under the tree! Bruce did shove one under the branches in front but of course that meant there was no where to walk. We've already begun thinking through how exactly we will get it out of the house! You'll be the first to know how we accomplish the impossible. :) As always, the master wrapper did the honors....look at these sweet packages for me.

One of these gifts was sweet (Sees candy), one was a crazy hard looking puzzle and one made brought tears to my eyes. Something sentimental you ask? In my view, yes. Ever since I was a girl I have been fascinated by inventors and in particular, the greatest of them all, Thomas Edison. Now I will find out even more about the man whose inventions changed the world forever, including fluoroscopy which was one of the first procedures I learned while in xray school.

Then it was 1:30 time to head a few doors down to our gathering which I chose because their porch has the most comfortable furniture. Michelle had set out some goodies and we brought a few, along with presents on a hand truck. Of course Gracie had to see what all the fuss was about!

Michelle, David and Grace were dressed in festive attire, while I wore a little Santa headband. That would be our heater in the foreground. Those are Fallon's boots on the right and here's her pretty face.

She has the look of someone who might be thinking...is this really happening? Am I sitting out in the cold? Michelle gave me an excellent idea for David's gift which Bruce mostly wrapped, as in three sides as it was so big!

Curious? Wonder no longer!

As the primary cook in the family, he had been thinking of getting one and now he just needs to learn how to use it!


Bill asked for a pickleball paddle from Santa and Santa delivered. 

I went back to the house and got mine and we hit balls back and forth in the parking lot using the lines as our net. Both Bill and Dave were once a force on the tennis courts so using his left hand due to right shoulder surgery a few months ago, Dave took over for me in the parking lot game. The girls got goodies as well as did Santa and Mrs. Claus. Apparently I set my camera aside to play and didn't get any more photographs. Champagne along with the goodies completed our holiday celebration. Oh wait, I remember why my camera got no more use, a Facetime with Jonathan and Alissa out in Texas. After nine long months in their apartment in Austin, they finally got away, heading back to Terlingua and Big Bend National Park.   Fortunately the wifi was great so we had a very long chat, including me walking down to the lakeside pool to show him the beautiful sunset. Then Bruce took over the call which went on for a good long while. And with the sunset, the temperature began plummeting which meant it was time to get indoors again. Earlier I did have the girls come down to peek their head in the door to see the showpiece. It won't be long now when all of the pretty lights, both indoors and out will be packed away again until next year.

Will there be a porch and screen Christmas next year? That's hard to know but to tell you the truth, this simple celebration was still beautiful even though it was different. After all, the first Christmas was even more simple, so who am I to argue with that concept? 


Simple was good. 


your friend,


Gail


2019 Christmas post.


2018 and it was written just two weeks after Bruce retired. Hard to believe it has now been two years! 


2017, there is cold and then there is COLD!



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