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Sunday, January 4, 2009

What I Got for Christmas

Giving is more important than getting. I know that. But let me tell you what I got anyway. It did not come in a box all wrapped up with a pretty bow on top. There are some things that you just cannot wrap. And, I got the same thing from everyone. The gifts were parceled out over the month of December.

I spent an entire day tagging along with my friend Tammy and Linda as they invited me to join them for a day of Christmas shopping. They were not going to a mall, so I said yes. We drove to Stuarts Draft and had a wonderful browse at Village Furniture where Linda won the door prize during the first door prize drawing of the day. There was far more to look at than furniture. While I don’t do country, that atmosphere sure had a good down home Christmas feeling. It was a good spot to begin. Leaving there we drove an hour to Monterey for their Winter Tide offerings. This was a very special part of the day for me. I used to live there and have a special fondness for the area and the people there. Because they were having an art and craft show at the Center, I was able to see several people that I would never have otherwise run into, not to mention the wonderful local crafts and artwork. Tammy and Linda allowed me to pay a quick visit to Rich Holman and to Joan and Tom Atkins. Now that was special. We left town as the snow started falling to return to Staunton where we visited some shops and then went for a drink and a light bite at the lovely Stonewall Jackson Hotel. It was a wonderful day. Thank you Tammy and Linda for the gift of this day.

Then there was Christmas at Waynesboro Manor where my mother lives. Families are invited to attend and to bring a covered dish. This assisted living facility had a fantastic turn out this year. So many people. So much food. Not everyone in my family could attend, but those of us who did were happy to be there for our Mom and enjoyed making her, and each other, laugh. Thank you Waynesboro Manor.

My dear friend Tammy and her husband invited me to join them for dinner and the performance of “A Shenandoah Valley Christmas” featuring Ben Jones (Cooter Davenport in Dukes of Hazard) and various local musicians performed at the Court Square Theater in Harrisonburg. The performance was filmed for 3 television airings later in December, none of which I saw. But I was there, in the moment. Why would I need to see tape that was cut and spliced only to reveal what someone else thought I should see? I was quite satisfied with the real thing. The taping was completed prior to intermission. Afterward, they promised to play lots of country music. We left after intermission because a child sitting behind us got sick during the performance. We had to call that one done. Thank you Tammy and David for inviting me to share this evening with you.

Our family celebrated Christmas together the weekend before Christmas at Renick and Tina’s house. Everyone made it except the California family, whose absence we always miss this time of year. We had many hours together filled with laughter. Thank you Ren and Tina for bringing the family together at Christmas. Thank you family for all the love and joy you give.

Christmas Day I picked up Mom and took her to my sister’s house where we spent most of the day Cynthia, Sammie (her dog) and Nicky (her cat). I gave Sammie quite a long walk for his Christmas present. We both enjoyed that. Cynthia had prepared a wonderful meal. Mom sat patiently as I took at least 50 photos of her (times three because I discovered the rapid shot feature on my camera). Thank you Cynthia for making this time possible and for all the time you spent making sure it was a nice Christmas day. You helped take the lonely out of Christmas.

That evening I had Christmas dinner with the two couples that allow me to dog sit for their wonderful dog children. Bob and Shirley’s son, Matt, joined us. That was fun as I had never met their people children. I was thrilled to spend the evening with these people for whom I have developed a special fondness. Thank you Bob, Shirley, Matt, Charlie and Cynthia for sharing such a special day with me. And thank you for the time you offer me during the year with all of your animal

The day after Christmas I travelled to Timmy and Sara’s in Clifton Forge, VA. We had a relaxing evening watching movies on the Hallmark Channel and had a delicious dinner prepared by Sara. We agreed the Hallmark World is a wonderful place to live. The people and basic plots are pretty much the same. The problems are small and find easy resolution and everyone lives happily ever after. Oh, and everyone lives on a lake with beautiful mountain views covered by layers of perfectly formed snow flakes. I love the Hallmark World. It has become my guilty pleasure. The next day, we left around 8:00 AM to drive 28 fifty-minute country miles to Paint Bank, VA for a gourmet hill-billy breakfast. I don’t know who decorated this place, but you have to see it to believe it. Your eyes cannot take it all in the first time. A second trip is required. I cannot wait to go back in the spring, especially when the thickly planted Mountain Laurel and Rhododendron are in bloom. We explored the grounds after breakfast where you can stay in The Depot Lodge, the Section Foreman’s Cottage or the Caboose. These buildings offer a B&B experience. There is also the renovated Tingler’s Mill where they now offer various forms of entertainment. The grounds are beautifully and thoughtfully landscaped and offer lots of places to sit quietly when the weather allows. We also visited a nearby General Store, a furniture store and a bakery. Oh, and we saw Hollow Hill Farm where they raise buffalo and Scottish Highlander cows. We drove 100 country miles that day which took us through much of the countryside where we grew up. The road back also took us by the house in which we were raised. I have not seen the old home place since it was sold several years ago. While I did not see anyone, I felt I could imagine part of their lives on the other side of the exterior walls of the house…that side of the walls where my memories live. Thank you Timmy and Sara for the time you gave me and bringing me to a part of the world you have discovered.

Thank you, Shelia for the nearly 3 hours of phone conversation on Christmas Day. You have been such a faithful friend to me. Thank you Melon and Old Con for touching base with me and always reassuring me of our special bonds.

Lastly, I got the unfailing gift of morning. Thanks for the beautiful sunrise and the time given to me to enjoy this wondrous part of the day.

What I got for Christmas was more than I could ask for. Time and love is a special thing to give. And I got a lot.

1 comment:

  1. I'm thrilled with your images once again, Miss Paula... beautiful vistas captured by a beautiful woman, along with musings and moments. Thanks for sharing your life with us mortals :-)))