You are Cordially Invited to Join My Family for Christmas Dec. 28

by Deborah Owen

Note: The astute reader will notice a strong inconsistency in the pictures. What is it? I’ll give you the answer to the mystery question at the very end.

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*knock knock

Oh, you did come! I’m so glad! Come in and meet my family. We usually gather on Christmas Eve so everyone can be home for Christmas, but this year the family gathering is on December 28.

Dory B-day, 12-28-12 (57)

Okay, from left to right, Mom is first. She’s 96, can you believe it? *whisper* She’s a pistol. Don’t get her stirred up. And that’s my twin standing next to her. (Okay. I lied. I don’t have a twin, but it sure mixes the story up if I don’t use that slight embellishment. Yes, I know I don’t look like my picture. It’s a bad hair day and I’m not photogenic.) The little guy in blue is my youngest grandson, now 14, and the cutie in the white top is my oldest granddaughter, now 22, who just made me a great-grandma! Back to the left, behind Mom, is my precious daughter, Dory; her hubby is peeking over Mom’s head. Next to him is my beautiful younger granddaughter, now 18. See the big ham in the back? That’s my oldest grandson, and next to him is his father (my son), then my sweet daughter-in-law, and the old fellow on the right is my husband. We’ll celebrate our 55th anniversary on December 30. I’ve decided to keep him.

We all welcome you! This isn’t the first time we’ve had a visitor for Christmas. Today, you are our honored guest.

Did you see all the food in the dining room? Bet you smelled the ham the minute you came in.

2013 Christmas, Dorys house, Franklin IN (3)

We have ham sandwiches, chips, Dory’s special Jello-mold salad – out of this world – and various other treats and desserts. Stuff yourself! We also have Coke, Diet Coke, Dr. Pepper, and Root Beer. What? You’ve never heard of Root Beer? Oh, I love it! It’s a soft drink that foams and spritzes your nose when you take your first drink. It has a little licorice flavoring. Here. Have a taste… oh dear. That bad, eh? Okay, maybe you’d rather have Coke.

Let’s grab a sandwich and hog the seats in front of the fireplace! *giggles Isn’t it beautiful?

2013 Christmas, Dorys house, Franklin IN (7)

No stress is allowed in this room. Let’s sit on the loveseat. There’s a handle on the side. Pull it out and a footrest will pop out. Whoops! Ha ha… you weren’t quite ready for that, were you?

Hmm? No. That’s not real wood in the fireplace. It’s a fireplace log. It’ll burn six hours and won’t cause creosote to build up in the chimney. We had a chimney fire at our house one time. The neighbor called and said, “Do you know you have flames shooting 50 feet out of your chimney?” Well, duh, no! We ran outside, and man alive! We were lighting up the sky! It’s a miracle the house didn’t burn down, but I love fireplaces, don’t you? We used to burn Christmas wrapping paper and watch the flames turn different colors. [It doesn’t take much to entertain us. lol]

Hey! It’s time to open presents. Let’s go in the living room. Isn’t that a gorgeous tree? I love it.

Christmas Eve 2010 Stephen's House (5)

As soon as everyone gathers, my son-in-law will read the first twenty verses of Luke, chapter two, that recounts the birth of Jesus. Sometimes we talk about it for a few minutes. You know, according to the customs of Bible days, Mary may have been as young as 16 or 17. Can you imagine having a baby in a barn? I wonder how long she labored, and what baby Jesus weighed. Mary had a wonderful husband. He wrapped the baby in swaddling clothes, which in those days, were burial shrouds, and laid Him in an animal’s feeding trough. The swaddling clothes were a prophecy that this baby would live a perfect life and die to pay our sin debt. We certainly can’t pay it ourselves. Anyway, after we pray, we’ll open gifts. We don’t spend a lot on one another. We give sweaters, scarves, books, DVDs and the like. Our gifts are meant to show our love for each other, just as God showed His love by giving us His Son.

By the way, we thought you might be coming tonight, so each person bought you a token gift. Now don’t feel bad about it. You’re our guest and we want to be a blessing to you.

Since Ethan is the youngest, he’ll probably pass out the presents. When we get them, we shake them and try to guess what’s inside. Dory usually has the two boys open one gift, then the two girls open one, and the kids alternate like that until they’re done. Then they go into the other room while we open ours.

Last year we had a White Elephant Christmas, which was almost like a game. Everyone brought something from home that they didn’t want, and the gifts were wrapped. We took turns choosing a mystery package. I chose the biggest one, of course. The gang went into an uproar!

Christmas Eve,2012 Enhanced (19)

I should have chosen the gift my oldest grandson chose.

Continue reading You are Cordially Invited to Join My Family for Christmas Dec. 28

You are Cordially Invited to Join me and my Family for Thanksgiving

by Deborah Owen

*Knock  knock
      Oh, you did come! I’m so glad! Let me take your coat and introduce you.
That’s my husband on the right, and that’s my twin on the left in the teal sweater. (Actually, I don’t have a twin. That’s really me, but it messes up my story to say that. lol)

That’s my son, sitting next to his dad, and Mom is next to me. *whispers under breathShe’s 96, and knockdown cantankerous, so don’t look at ‘er cross-eyed.

That’s my dear mother-in-law’s head in the foreground but she’s with the Lord now, and there at the end of the table, stealing the show, is our oldest grandson, now age 25. Standing on the left is our hostess, daughter Dory. This is her house.

These are only a few of the gang. We’re scattered throughout the house. Not present in this room but somewhere nearby is our darling daughter-in-law and son-in-law, three more grandchildren, and our first great-grandchild. Just wait until you see him! And scattered throughout five rooms are a number of friends and extended family, so wander about and mingle freely.

Don’t you love the smell of spicy pumpkin pie? Every time someone fans the door, the aroma titillates my nose. On Thanksgiving, there’s no such thing as a bad odor.

Look at all the food! And not one drop will go to waste. Dory’s goal is to send Thanksgiving dinner home with every person so they can relive the memories the next day. To get this much food, the whole family pitches in. You’ll find turkey, roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn casserole, green beans, dressing, macaroni and cheese, cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole and homemade yeast rolls. Makes me drool, and that doesn’t count the pies, cakes and brownies. We place the food on the cabinet tops, so it’s all self-serve.

Stop by the long, narrow table in the living room that holds cookies, fudge, candy, shrimp, various kinds of crackers, and a cheese ball to nibble on. This is the one day of the year kids can eat candy before their meal!

Fireplaces are lit in the library and enclosed sun porch. Feel free to meander through the house and chitchat with everyone.

Your place setting is marked with your name, and you’ll find a little memento from Dory next to your glass. It’s fun to find your seat and see what your little gift is. Before we eat, our son-in-law will read Psalms 100 and ask the Lord’s blessing on bounty that we share with those who have nowhere to go on Thanksgiving.

About 22 people will stand in line to heap their plates high. We don’t mind if you buck the line, so when it’s time, squeeze in front of me.

You’ll love the atmosphere. You won’t hear a swear word or a dirty joke, and you won’t find people who are mad at each other or aren’t on speaking terms. Come to think of it, you won’t even find a divorced person here. We were blessed to get it right the first time around (although we admit to bashing each others’ heads in from time to time… just not in public).

On Thanksgiving, we eat and chat for about an hour, joke around, take pictures, and catch up on the latest news. We will inevitably talk about how fast the grandchildren have grown up, but not so much that they still don’t draw pictures in Aunt Dory’s plush carpet and erase them with their feet.

By the way, the bathroom is that-a-way. It stays rather busy and the walls are thin, so if you get bored, sitting in the room next to it can be downright entertaining.

You’ll have to forgive me during clean-up, which takes two hours. If we weren’t waddling around with tight belts, an hour would be enough. While we’re doing that, grab a couple of plastic bowls over there and fill them with leftovers. Here’s a Sharpie to write your name on the lid.

*Three hours later*
Ah, finally. All done. I’m so full! I hope I never see another turkey again, but actually, it’s the three pieces of pie that I’ll be sitting on for the next year.
After the crowd thins out, the others might scare up a euchre game. I usually play piano while Mom dozes and Dory’s father-in-law snores. He’s a hoot. If I quit, he rousts out of his dreams long enough to say, “Keep playing. I love it,” so I play on.

What? You have to leave? So soon? I’m so sorry. I hope you had a good time and it was wonderful meeting you. Please come again next year!

*Waving as you pull away.

Hey, wait! You forgot your bowls of food!