Tag Archive | Christmas

The power of love

Things have been nuts in LollyPopLand since the last post, and, instead of the part two that I’d intended to come next (which will wait until next time), we have this one, a saga of wind, illness, holidays, snow, and power lost and regained. I almost titled it “Power to the People,” but some folks still don’t have theirs, and that didn’t seem quite right.

So instead, it’s “The Power of Love,” which is so right on multiple levels. In some ways, Christmas was like the 1980s all over again, with Scooby Doo and Star Wars gifts running high, so Huey Lewis it is.

Quick run-down in diary/photo form:

Wednesday, Dec. 19: John and I spent the evening at the UALR Applied Arts Department Fall 2012 Open Studio. My husband, the Popster, is the star furniture-making pupil. That’s not just me bragging; everyone there told me so. You can judge by yourself from this photo of his beautiful, if undoored, liquor cabinet. (Doors to come.) His coffee table from the spring was also on exhibit.

John's beautiful liquor cabinet (doors to come) was the belle of the ball, so to speak.

John’s beautiful liquor cabinet (doors to come) was the belle of the ball, so to speak.

Around midnight, John woke up violently ill with a stomach bug – and the wind was blowing like mad. (Excellent memory: When Jude was 2, he called the wind “blows” as we were sitting on his front porch on a windy evening. “It blows!” he said. “I like blows!”)

The next morning, I stumbled out of bed, turned on the coffeemaker and headed to the front door for the paper to be greeted by the tree that had stood across the street coming up our sidewalk and smashing our vehicles. Lovely.

Uh-oh.

Uh-oh.

John was too sick to participate, so I handled everything, from policemen to insurance to finding someone to replace the windshield in the Jeep that day – with a mother a couple of cities away bedridden and in pain, not to mention with Christmas days away, I had to get it done fast. The Glass Doctor did some rescheduling to save the day, and as soon as my knight in white van left, I took a phenergan and went to bed at 5 p.m.

I had the bug too. Ugh. We missed a party and the Mayan end of the world.

Sunday, Dec. 23: We’d decided this would be the perfect day to have a short Christmas at Mother’s; until her back surgery next week, she doesn’t need to sit up for more than a couple of hours at a time. The kids were great. Jude handed out gifts, since he can read the name tags. Grammy was super-excited to see all her greats. And her grands.

Christmas Eve was perfect too, if small and quiet. Cathy, Paul, John and I ate, hung out and watched most of This Is It on Blu-ray. We gave the dogs their new beds, stuffed stockings and hit the sack.

Christmas morning was wonderful, our first four-grandchilder.

After the kids moved on, John and I exchanged presents and hauled it in the freezing rain to Mother’s, where we briefly visited with the folks and sibs. Brother Paul was on call, so they high-tailed it back to LR to beat the weather. With four-wheel drive, we could linger a bit, but not for long.

We got back, nestled in on the couches to watch a movie, and just as the credits started to open, TRIPLE BOOM, and all went dark. And cold. Which is how it stayed until about 10 last night, when three trucks-ful of linemen got us up and powerful.

John grew up in the great Northwest, so he loves the snow, though the broken trees and freezing rain he can do without.

John grew up in the great Northwest, so he loves the snow, though the broken trees and freezing rain he can do without.

Our young next-door neighbor Matthew came to the rescue with his chainsaw.

Our young next-door neighbor Matthew came to the rescue with his chainsaw, though, before we even had time to worry.

Beautiful but deadly for many trees in our area.

Beautiful but deadly for many trees in our area.

But we did put our four-wheel drive to good use.

But we did put our four-wheel drive to good use.

And Tess and Zuzu dig snow. Especially when it means Mom and Dad have to put food on the deck to stay cool and they get a smorgasbord during the night!

And Tess and Zuzu dig snow. Especially when it means Mom and Dad have to put food on the deck to stay cool and they get a smorgasbord during the night!

This morning, Saturday, Dec. 29, even our Internet and TV had returned. The snow has just about left by this evening. Things were a mess, but we’re back to what we call normal. For now. Next is getting Mother fixed and the Jeep repaired. The poor squashed truck will stay squashed. C’est la vie.

And that’s how we spent our Christmas vacation.

On a really up-note, the Mayans were wrong.

Wrap it up

Mother and I have spent a lot of time talking since she’s bedridden until her back surgery after the holidays. One of the things that came up Saturday, as I was wrapping Christmas presents for her (on her bed, as we talked) was how special wrapping packages used to be at our house on Blackhawk Road. Gifts2

Then yesterday morning, as I was wrapping a present at home (a late arrival for son Ben), I thought of something else about packages and the kids on Blackhawk. But I’ve hesitated to write anything.

My grief for the families in Newton – who surely have gifts wrapped and under their trees for children who aren’t there to open them – makes me feel almost obscene for writing about anything but that. But plenty has been said by others smarter and more gifted at writing than I, so instead I’ll offer something frivolous.

Mother made a major production of wrapping packages, especially at Christmas. I loved to help and learned to make fancy bows, cut decorations out of old Christmas cards – anything to jazz them up – and by my early teens, I was wrapping more presents than Mother was. It was fun, a creative outlet, and I was good at it. My patience was great back then, unlike now, and I made sure each fold was prefect and each bow special.

Somehow I discovered another talent – that I could unwrap and rewrap packages without detection. Must have been by forgetting who a package was for before labeling it and needing to peek inside, because I like surprises and would never have pre-opened my own presents.

Sudden random memory – Pam’s mother, at least once, handed her a box and told her to wrap it without looking inside because it was a Pam’s own present. Do you remember that, Pam? We thought it was funny and bizarre, as was our outlook on lots of things in life.

gifts.jjpg Anyway, word got out that I could unwrap as well as I could wrap, and the Fisher kids came knocking. They were eaten up with curiosity and talked me into coming to their house when their parents were at work and slightly opening their presents under the tree, just enough so they could get a peek at what they were, or might be (sometimes boxes are deceptive).

I felt pretty bad about it and was mightily scared of their mom, but there were four of them and one of me, so I gave in and did it. Just that once, I think, but that was 40+ years ago, and there could have been a repeat performance.

I might have done it for Pam a time or two, as well.

Today, as Mother pointed out Saturday, gift bags have made fancy wrapping not moot but less special. I’m certainly not obsessed with perfection, as I once was.

There was a time, though. When I worked at M.M Cohn at McCain Mall in college, I was known for my folding skills – we didn’t wrap at the registers, but we put clothes in gift boxes to be taken to customer service, and I would get paged all over the store to fold sweaters and things that needed to look special.

And that, and another talk Mother and I had about the past has sparked another blog for another day this week.