The Christmas Clock

Decorating the house for the Holidays has always been a joy for me. Each year, I forget how many boxes of Christmas decorations we have and how much room they take up on the floor. We spend a few days after Thanksgiving dodging red, green and white paper, boxes in various stages of fullness, and box lids until all the décor is complete. My, how the house looks festive once it is all done. We embrace the house’s new festive holiday attire and, if necessary, change our walking paths to allow for detours around the Christmas tree.

TChristmas Clockhe large wall clock in the living room is always replaced with an even-larger Christmas clock. It makes no sound except for a faint ticking sound if you get very close to it. Santa’s face watches us from the center of the clock to ensure we’re being good. The clock hands have always been hard to see. I tried painting those hands, changing them from a dull gold to black. The contrast was great as the hands moved over Santa’s beard, but disappeared over the dark blue starry sky background. I tried white paint and the hands were visible against the background, but became invisible in the morning hours against Santa’s beard. One more try–a touch of black paint on the borders of the white hands–not as successful as I’d hoped. Oh, well. We really didn’t look at the clock to tell the time anyway.

Shortly after Christmas, the decorations are neatly returned to their boxes, albeit never in the same places they were before. (Funny that.) The house slowly transforms as it’s every-day items return. (What was on the mantel before Christmas?)

The last item to be taken down from its place of honor is the Christmas clock. After gently removing it from the wall and replacing it with the regular clock, I remove the battery from the back of Santa’s beard and the ticking stops, signaling the end of the holiday season. Back into its dark box it goes to be stored away until next year.

The end of the holiday season. I wonder what Santa’s beard would say.



Dad Memory Fairies

The Dad Memory Fairies surrounded the small town of Durango, Colorado, one day in October. I know because I was there. It was an unusually warm day for the Southern Colorado area and a perfect day for shopping in historic downtown.

When my friend, Diane, was a child, her Dad would sing songs—some silly, some sweet—to her and her siblings. She and I often reminisce over hearing the same songs as we were growing up (especially “Chocolate Ice Cream Cone”). One song in particular became a sort of theme song for her and her Dad—“You Are My Sunshine.” Diane continued the tradition by singing it to her own children and now, to her grandchildren. This song could be a contributing factor to her love of the color yellow.

Awood wall hangings I walked through a small home goods store that October day in Durango, Drawn to the back of the store (that’s where all the sales and clearance shelves are, right?), I examined all the little tchotchkes on the enticing shelves, finding nothing of interest to me and turned to head back to the front of the store. Something on the wall caught my eye as it was quite brightly colored. Cute, but not quite anything I needed. However, hanging right next to it was a plain-looking item that appeared to be made from old barn wood about 22 inches high. The words stenciled on it were “You Make Me Happy When Skies Are Gray.”

“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.
You make me happy when skies are gray.
You’ll never know dear, how much I love you.
Please don’t take my sunshine away.” 1

It was my great honor and pleasure to present Diane with this gift for Christmas this year.

There are certain items that I associate with my Dad—a green mechanical pencil he always used, his light blue plaid Western shirt with pearl snaps and silver threads flowing through the fabric, and a pair of glass horse bookends2 that reared up to hold the journals and books on Dad’s desk, to name a few.

Antique markets are something I’ve always been drawn to, and that fairy-infused day in October was no exception. Walking through the cluttered shop, it brought back memories of my childhood and of stories my Grandmother Ada told of her own childhood. One of my friends along on the trip was looking for some ‘Dick and Jane’ books, so we filtered off into various booths in the shop with our book-hunt orders. One booth was filled with bookshelves along with pleasantly arranged tables adorned with books stacked or held up with bookends. One such table in particular caught my eye.

My Dad’s glass horse bookends were always packed carefully and accompanied me everywhere as I moved from place to place as an adult. They held up books for me as dutifully as they did for my Dad. One day, one of the horses fell to the floor and shattered in a Why-Did-I-Place-It-There incident. A tiny piece of my heart broke with it. The remaining horse appeared to feel the pain as well. I’ve found other glass horse bookends over the years, but they were never of the same mold and quality as my Dad’s.

bookendsGlass horse bookends proudly held up several books on the table in the antique store booth. I examined them carefully and my heart skipped a beat. The bookends were rescued from their temporary home at the antique shop, wrapped carefully, and traveled to their new home on my own bookshelf next to their new “brother,” the remaining horse of my Dad’s set. Sometimes, when the house is quiet, I believe I hear them from my office as they share stories of their adventures over the years. (Daddy, I think you’d enjoy their stories, and I miss you terribly.)

Thank you, Dad Memory Fairies, for your presence that lovely day in October.


1“You Are My Sunshine” authorship unclear:

2 L.E. Smith pressed glass rearing glass horse bookends made in the 1940’s

Jeffery and Flying School

Last Sunday, a friend and I held a Reindeer Games party for our grandchildren—ten kids ranging in age from nine months to 13 years. They played several reindeer games, ate Rudolph cupcakes (Yep! I actually baked!), made Christmas ornaments (the nine-month-old was really uncooperative with this activity), and were awarded official reindeer antlers and Rudolph noses (even the 13-year-old loved these). I think the favorite activity by far was the marshmallow “snowball” fight! A couple of the youngest Littles did some snowball taste-testing, so I had to clean up a little leftover “snowball” goo from the carpet after the party!

One of my personal favorite activities at these parties is having the all the kids tell a group story. I provide the story starter and they fill in the rest. We’ve gotten some pretty wild stories out of them! My g-kids are used to this activity and readily offered their bits of story lines (or maybe they’re merely appeasing Grandma). My friend’s g-kids were a bit hesitant to participate, but they were eventually encouraged to contribute their great ideas.

Following is the story they “wrote.” (Some editing was performed for clarity and to reduce the number of face-plants. Poor Jeffery.)



reindeerJeffery woke up early to be ready in time for his first day of Reindeer Flying School. He ate his breakfast, brushed his teeth, and polished his hooves. Jeffery arrived a school just in time to be greeted by Santa!

“Ho! Ho! Ho!” said Santa. “You’re going to learn how to fly today!”

Jeffery replied, “Greetings!”

Just then, the bell rang for flying practice. Jeffery ran with the other reindeer to class. It was snowing and cold. There was so much snow that Jeffrey had to eat a path through the snow! Rudolph and Donner were teaching the class.

The teachers said, “Good Morning!” then divided the class into two groups. Jeffery was in Rudolph’s group. Rudolph had the class practice running and jumping. Jeffery fell on his face from jumping so high. Rudolph helped him out of the snow.

“Are you okay?” Rudolph asked. Jeffery just laughed at his fall.

After lunch, the class played reindeer games. Later that afternoon, they started flying practice. Jeffery took off and started flying. He thought it was pretty cool but almost face-planted once.

The class did so well they received badges and gold stars at the end of the class.

Jeffery went home at the end of the day and told his Mommy, “I can fly!” He was so excited he ran into a wall!

After supper, Jeffery went right to bed because he was so tired. He dreamed about flying and that his nose had turned red.

The End


6 candles cakeMy first blog post went live on June 9, 2015. (My First Blog Post) Tomorrow will mark six months since that blog post. Happy Six-Month Blogaversary to me! It has been a weirdly fascinating journey ever since!

I never had a desire to blog, but my friend, Diane, did. It took about four years before she convinced me that this blogging duo partnership might be a good idea. (I can be a hard sell.) I am pleased that she kept at me. (Note: As of February 1, 2016, Diane left the blog due to personal time constraints.)

As I reflect on this journey, I realize that, even if no one reads my blog posts, the process has been quite therapeutic for me and has provided a new purpose. And the bonus—it has brought me to a place where I’m comfortable reflecting inward.

Some Blogland Lessons Learned

  • There are things involved with blogging that satisfy both my right-brained and left-brained tendencies.
  • Sometimes writing happens. Sometimes it doesn’t.
  • It is fun learning and continuously tweaking the technological aspects of blogging and getting everything set up. (Yes, I said ‘fun’ and meant it! Left brain dominant!) Recalling my old HTML skills often brings back some wonderful memories of people I used to work with.
  • Writing is dynamic and magic. (I’m in awe of writers who can think in a non-linear fashion.)
  • Blogland residents are some of the most interesting people I’ve ever “met.” Many are helpful and some are not, yet all teach me new things each and every day.
  • Reading other people’s blogs has renewed my motivation to further develop other interests.

There will be many more lessons to learn along the way, and I’m looking forward to my journey to the one year anniversary of my first blog post.


Maybe in June

Photo by Henry McIntosh

I look through the window at the ice-laden patio furniture with their covers skewed from the recent winds. I should go out to straighten the covers and secure them better. I consider this thought for a moment, envisioning breaking the ice into sharp shards and throwing them onto the patio below to melt in the sun. My ears can already hear the glass-shattering sound as the ice hits the stones. Relieving the furniture covers of their icy torment and replacing them properly onto the furniture, securing them from the wind and more snow would save the furniture from winter damage. Again, I consider these thoughts.

I open the door and step onto the deck and look around. Snow is everywhere. It is cold—so very cold. My fingers and cheeks are already turning a bright pink. It is cold. I open the door and step back inside. It is warm.

Maybe another day.