Saturday, December 20, 2008

Zeke's First Christmas, Part One

Fellowship Hall

Food Tables

Back wall depicts church history. The center garland on the table was made from cuttings donated by church members.

I just wanted to share some pictures of the church project that I was working on over the past few weeks which kept me so busy I had no time to blog. I would get up around 5:30 am to work on pictures. Then around 8:00 am when my husband left for work, I would shower, go work on pictures some more. Then go to town to buy any supplies that I had run out of, or take CDs to Staples. Last week I prepped ingredients ahead of time and then spent Thursday and Friday assembling the components. Saturday my team met at the church around 10 am and worked until after 5 pm decorating. Sunday I was at the school across the street baking off the chafing dishes. I started at 6 am. All of this for the 10 am brunch which lasted an hour. It was all worth it. I would do it again in a heartbeat!

So, yesterday I told you that I was going to start posting a wonderful Christmas story.

Here is the first "chapter":

Zeke's First Christmas

Written by: Dr. Robert Darnell

Part One

You never expect a skunk under the Christmas tree. Skunks are creatures of the netherworld. They're nocturnal foragers who belong somewhere far away from hearth and home.

Even if you've never seen a skunk, you've smelt one. Smelling exposes a small space of actual brain tissue directly to the atmosphere via our sinuses. This may explain why the sense of smell is so closely linked with memory; since the stimulation goes directly into the brain matter. Ideally, skunks should only announce their presence by a swift whiff of their signature fragrance as we hurtle past them in our cars.

In all my memorable encounters with skunks (as a card-carrying redneck, I've had a few), the most remarkable took place in 1987, in my living room. He was a young, perhaps disobedient, skunk who had rejected the cozy hibernation of his nestlings to seek out a little winter adventure, or perhaps a chilled grub.

My wife, Constance, and I had been fiddling with the red metal Christmas tree holder to make sure it was properly braced to keep the Scotch pine from toppling if our toddler, Zeke, should happen to yank a branch. We barely noticed the clicking paws of our German Shorthaired Pointer on the tile as she trotted in through the propped open door behind us and dropped something. But soon, the smell reached us and we turned.

He stood reeling on the white tile of our dining room. He was not sleek and pretty like the idealized skunk portraits found in children's books. He was mussed. His hair was bristly and his bright white stripe was caked with dirt. The expression on the skunk's face resembled the dazed surprise I had seen on a football player regaining consciousness in the dazzling lights on the fifty-yard line.

Time slowed. Stink thickened thea ir and filled my eyes as if the odor was visible. The skunk had not sprayed in the house. Still, he and the Shorthair reeked from their earlier encounter.

The glittering Christmas decorations Constance had draped in our home seemed to wilt under the weight of the pungent air. Their sparkle dimmed with the oily aroma emanating from our pet and her reluctant companion.

My dog, Leo, was smiling. She had bravely knocked a skunk unconscious and carried it, with a soft mouth, into the room that had, until recently, smelled of apple cider and spice cake. She had dropped the varmint as close as possible to my left side, just as she had been trained. This is where a retriever is to "finish" coming to heel on the left side and giving up the game on command. Leop was energetically wagging her brown stump of a tail and looking away, as if modesty kept her from eyeing me too keenly since I hadn't said, "drop." It's hard to get too upset with a dog that is pleased with herself.

Part 2 tomorrow...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Big bras, bigger stories, and one giant Merry Christmas

Oh, I had the best time yesterday afternoon. I visited the ladies at the floral shop in town. I haven't been by in months and ended up staying 2 hours. I just love stopping by and chatting because it's like we all become teenagers again, lots of giggling and girl talk. Yesterday, we got started on big "chests", and bras for Seniors. Violette and Shirley's mom had to go to the Dr. yesterday morning. Mama is 91 years old. The girls told her she needed to be sure to wear a bra. She wanted a new one, so Shirley asked, what size? Mama replied, "doesn't matter". OK.
So, they thought about it and bought her a double D remembering that she was generously portioned in her day.
At the Dr's office, Mama needed to remove her top. Shirley was in the room with her and almost died when she saw that Mama had taken needle and thread and pleated the edges of the bra right in the armpit area. Can you imagine how bad that must have chafed poor Mama? But, we got a big laugh out of it. Of course, I had to tell a couple stories on Omi who hated to wear a bra when she got up in age, especially her prosthetic bra.
I didn't remember this story until now, so I'll share it with you first. My husband and Omi went on "dates" to restaurants, Wal-Mart, and the flea markets around Kissimmee, FL. They loved to play practical jokes on each other, and just generally try to get each others' goat. So, three years ago, Omi's last Christmas, we flew down to visit. Mom had made reservations at a very girly tearoom. David went along (we didn't know it was so girly). He looked like a bull in the china shop, literally.
Omi started teasing him. She made a reference to his "manliness", in German of course because she knew that only Mom and myself would understand. Later, I told David about the remark. He laughed and said that I had to help him get even. So, a few days later while Christmas shopping, we passed a lingerie outlet. David screeched to a halt, and said he was going to pay her back by getting something very lacy and racy in there. In we went. And out we came with a very small red lace thong teddy. I wrapped it up and put it under the tree.
When Omi opened it, she turned red, but she was quick. She held it up to her and sashayed over to David, "I'm going to put this on for you." Which, was not the reaction David or any of us was expecting. We all yelled "No" in unison.
So, when she saw that reaction, we all were targets. She told Mom she was going swimming in it. Me, she told that she was going shopping in it. David was going to see it on one of their "dates". She had the best time with that red teddy. After Christmas, Omi told me that Mom had gone through her room trying to find it to throw it away, I guess fearing that Omi would try to wear it out. But Omi and I knew that she just liked it and all the fun she had with it.
After she passed away, right before the next Christmas, Mom went through her room a final time. Mom told me she found the red teddy neatly folded in a box underneath Omi's nightstand. Moral of this story: Don't think that Seniors don't like to feel sexy!
Wow, this was not what I was intending on blogging about today, but I hope you enjoyed the story. So, tomorrow, and I don't usually blog on the weekends, I just have to share this other story with you. Our chiropractor, Dr. Robert Darnell, in Elizabethtown, KY sends out newsletters to his patients updating them on practice enhancements and so forth. This newsletter had a wonderful story of his son's first christmas; so heartwarming and funny that I called him and asked him if I could share it with you. He was happy to oblige. So, in the spirit of the old-fashioned serial stories, I will break up his story into segments and post them over the next few days. Merry Christmas to all!