|After the December First Flurry|
|Decking the Halls|
|Splashes of Color Everywhere|
|The Christmas Barn|
The Missoulans--my two daughters, son-in-law, and two friends from Uof M Missoula grad school--must leave Elmira. Grad work, coaching and printing call them back. Responsibilities. Mine are simpler--fetch wood, feed dogs, write, cook. Thus a second flurry of packing and good-byes ensue.
Since Allison and Drew have two very large, fuzzy dogs, my other daughter Brianna decides to ride with the friends, Stephanie and Samuel. Hugs and waves send the two vehicles on their way into a whirl of snowflakes.
For me, it's time to take down the fall decorations and deck the halls of my house. I'm giddy with excitement. I dig out all my Christmas CDs--Josh Grobin, Frank Sinatra, Kenny G, Mannheim Steamroller, Blue Canvas, Celtic Women, Elvis, Nutcracker Suite, Peter-Paul-&-Mary, Fernando Ortega.
Just as the autumn colors have been boxed, my cell phone buzzes. It's Brianna. "Mom, have you heard from Alli and Drew?" My heart skips a tad. "No," I say, waiting for more to come.
"They got a flat tire," she says. Whew. Flat tire. That's a relief. No fun in the sloppy, cold snow, but not a huge deal. Brianna tells me that they passed Allison and Drew, honked and waved, thinking they had stopped to walk the dogs. So, Brianna is home in Missoula, waiting for her sister.
Allison calls two hours later. "Guess where we are?"
"Home," I ask.
"Nope! Sandpoint." Turns out that their tires have some sort of ant-theft lug-nut system that requires specialized tools. Because of this system, tow-trucks don't even carry all the different odd sizes. Only a tire shop can change out their tire. So, the tow-truck hauled them back to Sandpoint, the nearest place. However, being a Sunday in Sandpoint the place was closed. They'll have to wait until Monday morning to get their tire removed.
That means I get to fire up the Blue Goose, put on my fur-rimmed Elmer Fudd cap, gloves and husband's big jacket to drive 15 miles into Sandpoint. I'm excited to have kids and fuzzy dogs again; they are excited to get to a warm fire and hot cider after sitting along side the road for hours.
Laughing, I warn them both that I shifted into Christmas mode after they left. Allison is gleeful and willing to help. Drew smiles politely and says he'll go take a nap. We play a round of Scrabble first, then Allison gets out the Nutcracker Suite--she was a ballerina for many years and danced several roles in the Nutcracker Ballet, so the music brings out her memories of moves and steps.
She twirls and decorates and I grin and decorate, loving the unexpected decking help.
Christmas season has officially arrived at Elmira Pond.