Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Cold and Snowing and Thoughts of Christmas!

  So much for my assumption that we wouldn't be getting much snow until Friday. We may not get many inches, but we have enough on the ground so it's all white out there already. This morning my pond was very solidly frozen over but the ground was bare. The low overnight was about 21F. I took a picture at about 7 a.m., for no particular reason, and now, at 11, I took another one after a snow squall moved through. It's still only 24 degrees outside, and there is very little wind so far - a really good thing because even a small breeze will stir up quite a swirl of this light, dry snow. 

 I looked at the forecast but there isn't anything about snow here today. I guess we're just special. This is unusual, actually. The temperature is about right, but usually we do have quite a bit of snow by now. Not that I'm complaining - I have enjoyed a longer than usual fall.

I've been reading in the Caledonian Record about all the adjustments being made because of the increased cases of Covid-19. The St. Johnsbury Anthanaeum folks have rethought their 150th anniversary celebration that they had planned for Saturday, and instead of a lovely indoor party, they will celebrate outside. There are gatherings everywhere that are being either postponed or cancelled altogether, and people are bracing for colder weather that will likely bring on even more cases of Covid, colds and flu. We need to be extra careful, wear a mask, wash our hands frequently, and stay out of crowded places. I'm heard more an more people saying that they believe this will be our lifestyle for the foreseeable future, so we may as well stop grousing and just do what we must to keep ourselves and others safe.

Have you  heard there's a severe shortage of Christmas trees this year? Apparently growers sold more than usual last year and some sold younger, smaller trees to meet the demand and are now lacking inventory. Artificial trees are caught in the supply-chain frenzy and are not getting to merchants, so it's unlikely everyone who wants a tree this year will be able to find one. I don't think we'll have that problem here in Vermont - but it isn't impossible. Tree growers can no doubt get a good price for trees in the cities, so there may not be as many available locally. Maybe it would be a good idea to get your tree now and keep it in a pail of water, outside, until you are ready for it. You will probably have to deal with a block of ice when you do bring it in, but you can figure that out. At least you'll have a tree to decorate.

I won't have a tree this year - I usually only put one up when it's my turn to host the family Christmas Eve gathering. I do plan to go through my old, well-worn decorations, though and dispose of whatever cannot be rehabbed. I'll have plenty of time to paint and decorate some of the faded and worn baubles, and then they'll be ready to hang another year, when it's my turn to host. Last year we didn't get together for Christmas, and that was kind of sad - and it looks like it may be more of the same this year.  But each family makes their own Christmas, and that can be very special. Actually more like Christmases I remember growing up with. We had wonderful school plays and families gathered for those (I guess THAT won't happen in any schools this year!) but at home, Christmas was never a big deal except we exchanged gifts - often handmade - and had a special dinner. It wasn't until I worked and lived in St. Johnsbury that I was introduced to a more socially-oriented celebration that Christmas. Then, after I was married and had children, Christmas got really complicated.

We lived first in Danville and then in St. Johnsbury. There were traditions such as special church services, and holiday craft sales put on by every church in town that I never knew existed. I became part of all of that, eventually serving on the decorating committee at South Church, teaching Sunday school, understanding Lent, going to Christmas services and rearranging my life to adapt to both sets of grandparents so everyone was happy. We spent Christmas eve with my parents, Christmas morning we had our our own celebration, and we had Christmas dinner with the Dimicks. Each of the three events involved gifts and a tree. We were living in St. Johnsbury then and that made it easier in a lot of ways - at least we didn't have to travel far to Grandparents Dimick, but it was often hard to get the boys organized and ready to go when they preferred staying at home watching cartoons or Macy's parade. Sometimes getting to Cabot Plain on Christmas eve was a little scary - the roads were not always the best during the 50s and 60s. But we always made it. We often had cranky kids and frayed nerves by the end of all of it, but still there are lots of great memories. 

Obviously, I've bought into the hype of the holidays - the Christmas spirit is alive and well! I'll probably get out those boxes of decorations this weekend and get started. It should be a fun project! Goodness knows, I have the time.

By the way, if you haven't taken a few minutes to watch the slide show done by Kingdom Access TV for the Joe's Pond Association's 100th anniversary, you should do so. You will find it on home page of www.joespondvermont.com, or click here to see it now.

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