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Archive for January, 2011

winter cheer


The winter holiday has come and nearly gone. Kids home for Christmas, gifts coming out of every closet and nook, snow piled deep. Now that we’re all back at work and school, the tree and decorations will slowly be put away. This year I don’t want to let them go too quickly. Those little tree lights and decorations and candles keep the cheer going into cold, gray January.

I believe it was 1988 when Salt Lake City saw a snowstorm on Christmas Eve that piled it high and made driving an adventure. Our little house on Musser Court, which we rented and then bought on a contract from the owners, was a sad little thing but the scene of our early family joys. Christmas day was on Sunday, and Dorothy and I packed up baby Kate (well, 2-year-old Kate) in the 1972 Dodge Dart and slid through a foot of snow up 900 South to 1300 East and then over and down to the Garden Park Ward on Harvard Avenue for sacrament meeting.
Annie and John Brewer lived in the ward, as did Richard and Barbara Fox, old family friends, and Linda and Jack Newell, the Dialogue editors I worked for. We enjoyed a cozy, mostly musical service with a small string orchestra. And we somehow made it back home through those unplowed piles of snow. We then drove to Orem for the Black family Christmas brunch and more gift exchanges. Later in the day we’d end up at Dad and Judy’s place for a casual buffet or just time together around a fireplace. I still wonder how we managed to get around in those conditions with such primitive old cars and never snow tires.

The little traditions and reminders are here every year. We’re now starting to give away some of the decorations and lights to the married daughters. What I like about our tree every year is that each ornament carries a story with it, from little baby toys our first Christmas and folded origami birds and stars (the year we were too poor to buy ornaments) to the fanciful Dame Poulet (chicken lady) we bought in Bruges, Belgium and this year’s addition, a wooden Frank Lloyd Wright design from the Fallingwater gift shop in Pennsylvania.

In late November this year ¬†we decided to try cutting trees ourselves for the first time, and after a miserable cold day somewhere north of Tabiona, Utah, we trudged through knee-deep snow, watched Jase fix his chain saw, crossed a frozen river in the Ashley National Forest, and cut three trees. Total cost, about $150, but the memory was worth it. We’ll just have to be smarter next time, and better prepared for serious winter survival.

For now, I’m ready for January hibernation with warm Pero/cocoa next to the fireplace. I shall sit here with my memories and wait for spring.

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