I started writing December Snapshots during the month of December, hoping to write closer to life, instead of my usual practice of looking back via my camera phone pictures and my datebook. On the one hand, I like going back from a distance and being reminded of fun times and the beauty of our days. On the other, anything viewed from a distance sees the whole, but often misses the parts. In the end, habit won out.
The first two weeks of the month were immersed in music and decorating. The Daughter was busy with the December Duet Recital, the YMV Jazz Band at the Mall, YMV Concerts and a trip to Busch Gardens Williamsburg for some fun and a performance at Das Festhaus. I got a chance to sing too this year! Our Bellissima director invited interested Bellissima singers to join the choir at historic St. John’s, Hampton for a beautiful Evensong program of Lessons and Carols mid-December, and then again for a music-filled celebration on Christmas Eve. St. John’s choir members are incredibly welcoming and I savored the harmonies and descants of beautifully written choir music for Advent and Christmas.
In early December, The Garners were busy Decking the Halls at Grandma Midge’s and Papa Gene’s respective homes. At our house, we scaled back significantly from our usually blazing display of icicle lights on dormer and porch roof. Lights and greenery along the handrails on either side of our stone porch steps, and on the swag over the front door provided Christmas cheer, and with the candles in the windows and our artificial tree on the front porch, The Garner house looked very welcoming.
Oh and we picked out a LIVE Christmas Tree for the first time in at least a decade at the special request of #1 Son who was excited to be home for the whole month of December. Of course a live tree takes up a lot more space than a faux tree, but no one seemed to mind brushing against the branches, and catching a whiff of delightful pine.
Our Christmas Dinner was delicious! Chef Garner prepared ham, sweet potato casserole, green beans, rolls and the big hit – macaroni and cheese with asparagus. YUM. Grandma Midge provided a tutorial for two of her specialties; her fantastic deviled eggs, and the cinnamon pinwheel cookies that remain Mr. Garner’s all-time favorite Christmas cookie. The kicks and giggles in the kitchen were pretty amusing to hear. And since Grandma Midge was in charge, they cleaned up.
It has become a tradition to spend time at the beach as we approach the end of the year. We just walk, and enjoy relatively mild temperatures and a week with no meetings, no classes and no performances, just time to breathe and spend time together – what could be better?
On my reading list this month: I’ve started slowly making my way through The Long Roll, by Mary Johnston. We are Virginians, and the rivers and valleys and mountains and fields of our state were drenched in the blood of blue and gray. I have been on the hunt for a well-written, narrative book on the War Between the States that is not marred by twentieth century reductionism. I am quite sure that I have found it.
Even though it is my second time through it, I really enjoy the variety of poetry and prose in At the Still Point , and I’m finding some very different voices in The Discovery of Poetry: A Field Guide to Reading and Writing Poems, by Frances Mayes.
A good snapshot keeps a moment from running away.”