Our Christmas Eve service was lovely, and the choir sang beautifully. I was so happy that we sang all the old Christmas carols: “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” “Angels From the Realms of Glory,” “Away in a Manger,” “Joy to The World,” “Go Tell It on the Mountain,” “As with Gladness Men of Old,” “Silent Night” and “What Child is This.”
When we got to “Lo! How a Rose E’er Blooming,” my son Steve suggested I might want to “sit this one out.” I had been singing with gusto until we got to this German carol titled “Es Ist Ein Ros’.” I couldn’t quite get the melody, and must have sounded pretty bad. Steve, however, managed it quite well.
Because the church was full we sat in the balcony where several families were seated with their children. One little fellow in a plaid shirt and red vest thoroughly enjoyed all the music. At the end of each Christmas carol he enthusiastically clapped his hands and said “yeah!”
His little cousin seated in the row in front of him quietly entertained himself by playing with his father’s ears. He seemed to favor his Dad’s right ear. His younger brother was hugely interested in his mother’s dangling earrings. It was such fun seeing so many happy children in their Christmas finery as they eagerly anticipated the surprises in store for them that night, or early the next morning.
My best Christmas gift was that all my children and grandchildren attended Christmas services although we were scattered around a bit in churches from South Carolina to California.
Though we normally open our gifts on Christmas Eve, we waited until the 25th so more of the family could get to Holtville. Fortunately, Dave and Mary and their family had a quick trip from Orange County. There were no delays on any of the freeways. Mary said that “everyone who needed to go somewhere was already there.”
The South Carolina family members enjoyed just relaxing after a hectic month. Son-in-law Phil made gingerbread-flavored waffles for breakfast Christmas morning before gifts were opened. Daughter Debbie said they were delicious, but took a lot of effort. Debbie is still wishing for the completion of her partially remodeled kitchen.
We went on many walks and bike rides and played games, mainly CATCH PHRASE. Even though I had not been bike riding for awhile, I rode like the wind! I think it was because my sons gave my 30-year-old bicycle a tune-up. They had the spokes tightened, wheels trued (whatever that means) and added new pedals and handlebar grips. They also added a cute bell with a flower motif.
On one of our bike rides we found a harmless weather instrument known as a “radiosonde,” a balloon-borne instrument used by the National Weather Service to obtain weather data aloft for weather forecasts and research.
This instrument was released from San Diego on Dec. 4 at 3 p.m. We found it in a field just east of Holt Avenue on Dec. 27, and mailed it back as requested to the National Weather Service in Kansas City, Mo.
As we usually do this time of year we visited family and other loved ones at Evergreen Cemetery, where we ran into friends doing the same thing. The kids always like leaving Swiss honey cookies on the graves. These cookies are longtime family favorites.
We were blessed with lots of delicious food, and beautiful sunsets the whole time the family was together. Daughter Gina was determined we would fix pasties, English meat and potato pies, for dinner one night. I was assigned to make the dough, Gina was in charge of cutting up the meat and potatoes, and Steve and Tony helped with putting them together.
Apparently my well-meaning suggestions were not appreciated. The kids invited me to go relax, and read the newspaper in another room. The pasties turned out perfectly without my help.