Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!
Gobble Gobble! Did you get your fill of turkey last week? I volunteered to bring the big bird for our family’s Thanksgiving meal at my older sister’s house. My sisters provided the rest – mashed potatoes, fresh green beans (cooked the Southern way – for hours!), sweet potatoes, roasted beet salad, cranberry relish, stuffing, and rolls. Oh, and a pumpkin pie and a fresh apple cake. Delicious! Thanksgiving is such a special holiday with great food and great family time. My sister’s beautiful table hosted our sweet momma, my sisters, brother-in-law, and 2 of my 3 children. We said the Moravian blessing, ending with our ritual “Amen, dig in!” And we did. We talked, reminisced, shared stories, and laughed till we cried. I enjoyed every minute of it. My nephew and his wife came for dessert and brought Jack who we all adore! And what entertainment Jack provided! He had us in stitches – his favorite song now is “Baby Shark”. And the way Jack sings it, well it is just hilarious! He loved on all of us and needless to say, we all loved on him.
“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” Willie Nelson
Thanksgiving day was even more special this year as it was the 43rd wedding anniversary of my sister and brother-in-law. 43 years y’all! We are all so proud of them and thankful for their wedding success – I mean, let’s face it, they are the only non-divorced members of my original family. My sweet and very patient brother-in-law has to deal with 4 Holcomb women and he does so in a wonderful way. And being the thoughtful husband, instead of getting “just flowers” for my sister, he got the most beautiful centerpiece (shown below) that I have ever seen. My sister and brother-in-law understand what it takes to be married for a LONG time! Here’s to happily ever after!
“Couples who make it aren’t the ones who never had a reason to get divorced; they are simply the ones who decide that their commitment to each other is always more important than their differences and flaws.”
My kids and I were together again all day Saturday. My younger daughter and I left Charlottesville at 6:00 am for our last home football game in Chapel Hill. We were a bit leery as the weather was NOT perfect this Saturday. As a matter of fact, we had a bit of sleet and freezing rain leaving town. Our crew decided not to tailgate this game due to the weather and the fact that it was a noon game. Good decision! When we got to our parking spots, there was only 1 tailgate going on – NC State fans, huddled under a tent trying to stay dry, but not succeeding. My daughters, son-in-law, and I piled into my son’s car and drove to Franklin Street for a pre-game brunch/lunch at Top of the Hill (my favorite spot in Chapel Hill)! Luckily, we were one of the first to arrive and got a prime table. Within half an hour the place was PACKED (pun intended as there were a lot of Wolfpack fans there too). We took our time and enjoyed being together for our last game of the season. Then headed out in the misty rain for the stadium. We had hats and coats to keep us dry and kinda warm. It was a bit chilly – thank heavens for blankets and hand warmers that I buy in BULK.
“What good is the warmth of summer without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” John Steinbeck
I kept telling my kids “it’s burning off”… famous words of Mom – we would be driving to the beach in pouring rain and she would say, “you know, I think it is burning off.” Positive thinking. But you know what? It did clear up and we all said we might could have used our sunglasses that of course none of us brought. But not for too long. The sun never truly came out, but it did stop raining. Thankfully. And oh my gosh, we almost won. Yes, I know…almost doesn’t count, but once again, we got our hopes up as we WERE leading, and it never occurred to us that we would be in that position. It was an exciting and fun game, until OT. Woof Woof. And as it turns out, it was the farewell game for the coach. Oh well, here’s to next season! Life goes on and it has to get better, right?!?! Hard to believe our Saturday tailgates are over.
Though it was cold and rainy on Saturday, Sunday was absolutely beautiful. Sunny and 62 warm degrees. What a gift. Perfect day for an outdoor run and visiting wineries. My younger daughter suggested going to a couple of new wineries for me – Septenary and Grace Estate. Both were wonderful. I had not eaten lunch, and that does not bode well for me, especially when wine is involved, so we got a baguette and cheese at Grace Estate, sat and visited (even though we had been together all day Saturday). While we were having a glass of wine, Santa walked in with Mrs Claus, dressed in street clothes. I kid you not. Yes, I spoke to him as he walked by and told him I thought he was Santa. He stopped and visited with us, sharing some artifacts he had recovered at Yorktown. Told him my Christmas wish!
So, has anybody decorated for Christmas yet? ME! Yes, my tree is up and decorated (as are all of my kids’ trees!) and my house is Christmas ready. Now I can enjoy my tree and the holidays. Plus, I have almost checked off all the presents on my list. It helps that my sisters and I decided that this year we would not exchange gifts, instead we would make a donation to support those who suffered from Hurricane Florence. (Remember that hurricane with all the flooding that caused a crazy lady to total her 5-month-old car by driving it into deep water? Yes, that hurricane!) So I am feeling very good about this holiday season. Plus I have many, many fun things planned each week between now and December 26th (including my famous Christmas Sweaters) which is why I wanted to get my decorations up early. Besides, I LOVE Christmas! “It’s the most wonderful time of the year…”
“I like to compare the holiday season with the way a child listens to a favorite story. The pleasure is in the familiar way the story begins, the anticipation of familiar turns it takes, the familiar moments of suspense, and the familiar climax and ending.” Fred Rogers
While I love my traditional holidays, I have been wanting to add some new, fun traditions for myself and my family. We still make a trip Winston-Salem for the Moravian Christmas Candlelight Lovefeast (offered mid-December for families traveling), and we go to my church in Charlottesville on Christmas Eve. The kids spend the night and last year we stayed up late watching Christmas movies (non-Hallmark!). They asked for all of our traditional Christmas meals which I loved to provide! And we opened presents Christmas morning after our traditional brunch. This year I am adding something new – I am going to a wreath making event. I normally buy a beautiful homemade wreath from a local school, but have always wanted to make my own. So this year I am! Holiday memories.
“The holiday season is a perfect time to reflect on our blessings and seek out ways to make life better for those around us.” Terri Marshall
The Christmas spirit is all around us this time of the year. But for some people, especially this year, the holidays are not the most wonderful time of the year. This year I know families struggling with new diagnoses of alzheimer’s and cancer, battling diseases and major life changes, fresh losses of beloved parents and children and friends, jobs lost, hearts broken, and marriages that are trying to find their way. So remember to be extra kind and share your joy with others, especially those you know are struggling, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.